Patrik Gregurec

- Croatia -

Patrik Gregurec was born in 1992. in Sisak, Croatia. During highschool, he was an actor in Sisak's acclaimed avant-garde theatre group DASKA. While working on productions with the group, he developed fascination and interest in the written word and started to write poems, in a very shy manner though. He moved to Zagreb to study. Lousy student, he studied Croatian language and Philosophy at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, but never finished his studies at that university. However, he did manage to find his ground at the Academy of dramatic art (ADU) where he holds a master's degree in dramaturgy: playwriting and screenwriting.

He writes plays, and some even get performed. He works as a freelance dramaturg and adapts plays for Croatian theatres, and has co-written and did dramaturgy work on a few highly acclaimed plays for children. He also does dramaturgy work for dance perfomances and makes novels into radio plays for Croatian radio. He can't help himself, so in addition he writes texts on theatre, novels and graphic novels for journals and sites that publish critics and theoretical texts; and publishes poems and short stories in journals and magazines.

His manuscript Špekec got an honorable mention on Goran's spring in 2020; and epic poem Špaga was awarded with Goran for young poets award in 2022. Špaga was also awarded St. Quirinus award for best poetry book by the young author in 2023.

He is very grateful, interested in mythology, and continues to live.

Patrik Gregurec belongs to the youngest wave of the Croatian poets – he debuted with the book Špaga in 2022. The manuscript of the book was awarded “Goran for the young poets” poetry prize, the most reliable national scale for the newcomers. Once published, the book won also “St. Quirinus” prize, for the best poetry book by the author under 35 years of age. 

With a background in theatre and practical dramaturgy, Gregurec seems to be walking his own path, considering what we’re currently identifying as ways and voicings of his generational peers. His form of choice – rarely seen book-length poem, in case of his last two pieces – as well the strategies of structuring the text definitely point to aforementioned practices. An obvious trace of a stage-awareness and acting experience is to be detected also in author’s sovereign delivery while performing his poems onstage. 

Špaga is a long poem, lyrical and narrative at the same time, formally challenging, stretched out between the most intimate and its conditions of possibility, between a presence-in-the-moment and the very nature of its framework, with the mythical as simultaneously the superstructure and scaffolding. It is both about singing and storytelling, but also about the implementation of a dramatic register, in which poetic and "real" codes are embedded in lengthy monologues or dialogues from which moments of conflict, attempts to understand the other, conversations about the concepts of "love" and "death" can be recognized. The poem leans on a rich intertextuality built on allusions, direct references or quotations. There is a considerable number of mythological reminiscences, which makes it possible to meander or mix the real and “supernatural” worlds. Such a construction of the narrative universe results in the amalgam of the contemporary and traditionally archaic stratum at the same time. Fairies, wizards, gods, but also Tristram Shandy, cafes, waiters, Instagram and Facebook inhabit it. Rhythm and sound are realized through numerous parallelisms and figures of repetition and diction, serving as the structural axis of the poem, helping formally complex and multilayered text to be read in one go, without losing the thread of the story, nor the one of the poetic red thread. 

Commenting the symbolical superstructure, the author himself will say: Let's say that on the one hand I'm more interested in the symbolic than the concrete, on the other hand I'm more interested in the human than the non-human. In this sense, I fed on Milton's poem "Paradise Lost", on Ovid's "Metamorphoses", ancient philosophy, ancient and even older myths, films of Maya Deren, collections of Ted Hughes and “The Quartets” of T.S. Eliot, the comics of the Scottish writer Grant Morrison, the poetry of a Croatian poet Anka Žagar, the inspiring collection "The Poland Project" by Ivan Šamija (also a Versopolis poet!), and other works which, according to my own classification, are both symbolic and human at the same time.

The book gained critical attention, being describer for instance as “a conscious apparatus bundle-book that deviates from the dominant poetic production” by critic Luka Rovčanić. Or, in words of Mateja Jurčević (another Versopolis author!): “It’s the poetry of big thoughts about a small life, poetry that grapples with fundamental existential questions, returning to its big themes without forgetting that the one who writes it is part of the real, ordinary world in which he is marked by his name, the date of birth, his origin, history, religion and other forms of identification, and that, however, all that’s equally insufficient to stop the search for the true, own self”.