- North Macedonia -
Kalia Dimitrova is born 22.10.1991 in, Skopje, Macedonia. She holds a political science degree from the Ss Cyril and Methodius University –Skopje, where she graduated in 2013. As part of her MA course in Cultural Sciences, she studied in Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland and the USA, where she lived until 2016. Her MA thesis that focused on art activism in the city of Skopje during the political crisis, “Re-appropriation of public spaces: The case of the urban social movements in the city of Skopje”, has been published by AICA – International Association of Art Critics Macedonia. Consequently, her essay “Skopje the Chameleon”, which draws on the findings of her thesis, has been published by the Polish journal of modern art Obieg.
Her debut book, Witches of Today, was published in April 2018 by the publishing company Templum, as the first edition in its new experimental imprint „300 Sails!“. Her poetry has been published by numerous local and regional web-portals, as well as included in the regional anthology of poetry Manuscripts (2018). Besides poetry, she also writes columns, essays and conducts research mainly focusing on intersectional feminism, gender-based violence and mental health.
Kalia Dimitrova is the founder, chief and creative editor of the first Macedonian feminist platform, Medusa. Furthermore, she is the editor of Medusa’s printed publications: Dialogues (2019), Beyond Endurance (2020) и Unconditional Beginners (2021). She has also authored the investigative essay Cyber-Feminism vs Cyber-Bullying, published in “Challenges – Social Issues Journal” by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation-Skopje (2021), while her essay Yugo-Feminism: Legacy and Imagination shall be included in this year’s edition of the prestigious Slovenian journal “Mask”. Currently, she is working on her second collection of poems.
Freed from all constraints – rules of grammar, punctuation or structure – she frequently utilizes one or two-word verses, following her own line of thought/messaging pacing in her personal casual rhythm that sounds more like a melody. She subtly leaves the readers to move forward at their own pace and to interpret the message freely and at their own volition. This allows us to receive Kalia’s poetry with a degree of ease, while on the other hand posing us with the challenge to seek out the metaphors that are hidden in her seeming nonchalance.
- Bistrica Mirkulovska
Kalia Dimitrova has drawn the attention of the public from the very first poems that she had published on the web-portal Okno, that I am the chief editor of. The first three poems, published in February 2017, had several thousand views. This was followed by a number of her other poems, that were welcomed with the same interest and reception, which is not really typical for poetry in our country.
More than a year has passed since then. This period saw the birth of this book, which contains a selection of more than 80 of her poems. I sense a significant difference between Kalia’s “older” and new poems. She has grown greatly as a writer this past year. I am personally glad that I was both a witness and a participant in this transformation. (“At times it seemed to me as if gazing at the wind. I could only see her by the things she moved.”) I have no doubt that in the years to come, Kalia, this living and mercurial creature, will continue to grow in leaps and bounds as her vivacious nature commands (she doesn’t step, but rushes forward like a fury!) - though I am especially happy that we have captured this moment in her literary development in the form of this book.
This book is full of life, force, breakthroughs, as well as being fresh, gentle, easygoing, seductive, self-aware and far from flighty – so much like Kalia herself. Furthermore, it is marked by clear diction, direct style and open activism and (social) engagement.
Rilke states that verses are condensed experiences. This is reflected also in the “Witches…”: the whole collection resemble a psychogram of growth and registering; her poetic language is impressive and visual, while her images serve her thoughts, ideas, experiences… The poems are emphatically “sociophilic” texts, due to the fact that the perspective of the author is that of an emancipated and socially empowered woman aware of the dark social context, yet avoiding telling her life experiences in an overbearing manner, nor offering radicalized conclusions.
The lyrical subject in the “Witches…” is a self-aware (proud of her femininity) young girl, rebellious, suggestive, witty and charming - though, the reader’s identification with her is never smooth, because the author, prone to provoking and “disturbing the public peace and order”, has planted veritable landmines all over her land.
It’s also important to highlight Kalia’s subtle sense of humor, which at times is rebellious, but most often is rather gentle. Her humor is often expressed through word games and puns. Behind these word games, one can often sense the gaze of a child (which may be related to pop-culture as an important source of references and ideas, as well as knowledge). The “child’s” gaze – when it is not used as pathetic kitschy sweetener ‒ invests her work with a more direct level of expression, estrangement, askew perception, fresh perspective and may even open her world to mythical time, which is so close to poetical time (“I am my own hiding place”, as Alain Bosquet says).
The majority of Kalia’s poems often are strictly vertical in nature; the best of them, I think, are almost ascetic in their effort to be purified of ornaments, bells and whistles or sparkles. Thus, they are akin to trimmed down Christmas trees or even skeletons, dry, bony, almost naked, without any fancy-shmancy decorations… Still, they are elegant, firm and powerful, rather like pieces of valuable jewelry. It feels as if Kalia Dimitrova in her poetical-architectural work follows the programmatic statement by Vesna Parun: “My Father is the Escape, my mother is the Impossible”.
My favorite poem in the collection:
tame and alone
he sits crumpled
in his nest:
two motley chairs
and books with velvet covers
during the day he walks with swallows.
he is a bird
with an awkward body
full of words.
he is so inflated,
that i can puncture him
with my hairpin
and have him stuffed for my bookshelves.
- Nikola Gelevski
The witches of today / вештерките денес
sparkles like a disco ball
down the long boulevards.
the street lights
before her glow.
she doesn’t ride. she floats
above the asphalt
that melts beneath her.
betty has black hair
and shining claws.
a witching woman
with a taste for trouble.
when i saw betty
my eyes turned into
all i wanted to know
was how can i, too, be
a room in berlin / соба во берлин
slumbers on the blue waves
that pass through his
his dreams sprout
from an old floral carpet,
that brings spring
back to berlin.
smiles at you with the face
of an ex-lover.
you don’t get to see him,
all you can do is sleep over
on his hard bed.
city in the clouds / град во облаци
what am i but a descendant
silently watching the city from gazi baba? 
nothing is mine:
neither the slopes of vodno
hidden under flowers and condoms
nor the river vardar
overflowing with bottles, galeons and willows
or the stone bridge with its cracks and beggars,
the square concrete meadows and the skaters,
the few debar maalo house’s still proudly standing,
the little green market with banana peels
and old women selling flowers on the pavement,
kids hanging their backpacks
on rusty school fences
chatting away in the decaying decorum:
it’s all neither here, nor there.
yet, my voice is the one
that has stood here before me,
the hum of this city in clouds,
yet piercing and potent,
waking, feeding, moving us...
skopje is kind in the morning
(how can you not give it a second chance?)
 Gazi Baba – A burrough in the City of Skopje, Vodno –mountain overlooking Skopje; Vardar – the river that runs through Skopje; Stone Bridge – the oldest bridge and hallmark of Skopje
cats / мачки
i know girls
you will end up alone.
everyone around you
will live their lives.
have jobs, assets, order.
you will end up alone.
you don’t know how to be
you are an island.
you are a foreign word.
you want a party rather than a life.
you are the love of my life.
you will end up alone.
everyone around you will have
homes, tosters and kids.
you will nurse your loneliness
you are a cat.
you will end up alone
and you’ll be sorry.
that’s enough for me.
you are free.
before turning into a poem.
How to disappear from the face of the earth / како да исчезнеш од лицето на земјата
put on sunglasses and look straight at the sun.
do not talk out of fear of silence.
forget about yesterday, forget about tomorrow. try to forget about now.
forget about your body.
start from the toes of your feet.
forget about the scraped nail polish.
forget about the scruffy skin on your elbows and the dead cells on your heels.
forget about the grown and ingrown hairs.
forget about the womb.
forget about the navel and the umbilical cord.
forget about language, words and knowledge.
forget about all conversations that happened and those you wanted to happen.
forget about pain, forget about pleasure.
forget about ego, gender, libido, sex.
Forget about the cobwebs in the corners and the ants on the floor.
just let oblivion swallow you with ease. you are a speck of dust on a sunlit rock
going in circles.
begin to die
hey girl / девојко
you, that are walking the men’s streets of this city
and standing under the solemn shadows of its iron monuments,
you, that are not waking the one that is sleeping your dream
and who is sharing orgasms like cotton wool
(yet, yours are left under the shower and under your grandma’s duvet),
jump over the fence and lie down on the grass
in the yard smelling of bread, honey, quince and wild rose.
smell, lick, eat with your hands, make a mess of yourself, take a nap.
in the dark, come out to scout
find the defiant cracks in the concrete
and plant those dangerous oleander seeds.
start creating your own spaces.
start building free worlds with your words.
hey girl, you that are yawning and rolling your eyes at me
— i know that i am a giant bore.
today i will stop writing to you.
recognize that you can be on your own.
Wax / Восок
would, occasionally, seem to me
as if planted in this flat full of bras and paties.
His pet name for me was pain in the ass
— i asked so many questions.
the whole flat stinks of wax
— he would say, angrily, and go on eating.
my grandma, mother and sister
squeezed over a small mirror
would pluck the hairs above their lips:
my brain would squirm
the left eye start to twitch
blinking in rhythm with every new screech
coming from the kitchen.
my father and me
never invited to these bizzare parties
yet never coming up with our own.
i would keep jumping at every sound,
he would eat without batting an eye.
and the three of them
would appear with red upper lips,
as the last traces of wax would fade away,
and they would talk and talk and talk.
organized people / средени луѓе
in the world of organized people
i am a crumpled piece of paper:
reminder of thoughts and plans
that refuse to become agendas.
in the world of people
with plaid, ironed out pijamas,
paid vacation packages,
functioning tosters and blenders
i am fake news concoted in veles 
— matter without form.
are you pretending to know what you’re doing?
what a mystery!
i think to myself as i munch
from the adult’s buffet:
full of tiny cheeses, olives, dijon mustards, cantelopes, prosciuttos...
and gawk at the callendar on the wall
with circled days
— not birthdays
in the world of organized people,
with snoozeless alarms
and freshly squeezed juices
i am yesterdays pizza
left in the fridge.
in the world of organized people
that never grasp in the dark
i am the mislaid shipment
that always departs,
but never arrives.
in the world of organized people,
a am an amish at the railway station in chicago.
 Veles is a town in Macedonia, famous for its fake news farms which swayd the Trump elections in the USA
women should hide all that / жените тоа треба да го кријат
At the end of our third date
street lights no longer existed
and all the specks of dusts danced around us
in the silver car
parked in front of my building.
every atom bristled inside me
through the dust i gazed at you
a star through a telescope.
with a voice as cool as a march in poland
and eyes that size you up from head to toe
with a stretched out tapemeasure, you told me
— women should hide all that —
what i heard was that
a flower should not gaze at the light
spit to drip from a lemon-acid word
the moon to shine in the night
and the hairdrier to blow plugged to a socket.
and all i wanted was
to show you
that your body smells to me like home
and to tell you that i celebrate
the night i met you on the river Wisła
that every thought of you turns me into a rapid stream
that clearly, playfully and wilfully flows into you
(yet when it arrives, you see,
it can’t be enclosed
into a tank, pool, sensation, conversation —
without screaming, panting, biting, licking.)
still that night after our third date
when my eyes invited you
to go on a trip around the world in the silver car,
and when i promised not to be your girlfriend
but your raison d'être
you simply drew this on the steamy window:
you are a man, i am a woman,
and women should,
eh, hide all that.
neruda’s little roses / розичките на неруда
in your palms
i fall apart,
you want me mild,
i disappear in your touch.
you want me sweet and light
i am torta caprese
you return to me
during those hot nights
in the café in Capri
so i can be born again.
i am clay shaped by your grasp,
laughter singing from your throat,
a rose standing naked before you.
can i be anything more?
i die in every verse
that you breathe life into,
i sleep in this strange house
nameless like the southern wind,
a secret that you hide
from the welcoming streets.
i am the bead of sweat on your face
when you’re asked if you love another.
bitter esspresso on your sweet lying lips.
you wash me out when needed.
but what do i know of this world?
have never been heard.
I am a rose,
frail and naked,
chasing rats / chasing rats
at the front desk
a neon light flashes
the room has no
two men on the third floor
turn up the TV volume.
the ivy silently crawls up the facade.
the gas station
spies the city.
the sheets are drawers
overflowing with the hangover
of the past two nights.
eyes are glued shut
alarms sing in unison with the muezzin.
lovers get to meet all over
again in the daylight,
acting as if they know what to do
grasping for their clothes and memories
scattered all over the floor.