Maša Seničić

- Serbia -

Maša Seničić (Belgrade, 1990) completed her BA and MA at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, where she is now pursuing her PhD thesis in the field of New Media and Memory Studies. She has taken part in various local and international film, theatre, visual culture and poetry projects/workshops/events – as a participant, a lecturer and an editor – while also contributing to film festivals as a writer, a moderator and a programmer (Brave Balkans, Belgrade Auteur Film Festival). Her prose, poetry and essays can be found in anthologies, collections and magazines in the ex-Yugoslav region and across Europe. In 2015 she published her first poetry book “The Ocean'' (Okean, the Mladi Dis prize) and in 2019 her second book, “As Occasional as a Vacation Home” (Povremena poput vikend-naselja, the Dušan Vasiljev prize). Seničić focuses on interdisciplinary projects based on an experimental approach to text and to the structure of the created/archival material; some of those ventures were brought to life in the form of an independent exhibition (ThGolden Coast) or as part of collective exhibitions/workshops/publications (in Cultural Center of Belgrade, Institute of Network Cultures, Museum of Yugoslavia...). Seničić is predominantly interested in books: as texts, as spaces and as printed objects.

There is no obedience whatsoever, even when it comes to respecting the common conventions of writing poetry, which is why the visual identity of Maša Seničić's poetry book is extraordinary; certain poetic experiments, although not as new, remind us of a distinctive kind of vitality necessary for writing and crossing out verses. Crossed out verses as a background for the text that was to be written, a shopping list, vocabulary definitions, important telephone numbers, essays on cultural theory, a list of buildings from the vacation home ownership papers, all of these are indispensable parts of the exceptional architectural design. Such architecture can be seen and walked through, and this passability enables a more complete experience of the uneasy feeling of transience. When it comes to formal experiments, some influences from the Predrag Krstić's Psychocosmography of the poem can be found in this poetry, but above all the need to distance the reader from the privileged position of the one who, from stanza to stanza, actually ends up finding himself. This kind of self-centeredness would be redundant in Maša Seničić's poetry, which itself is a monument to human materiality and perishability, especially through the images of stickiness, sweating, scratching and biting cuticles. Scratching to the point of bleeding is a sign of self-aggression, but also of the way in which the author writes poems: by not sparing the reader she doesn’t spare herself either, and these harsh truths tirelessly break through the lines. Kafka's definition of a book –that it must be the axe for the frozen sea within us – is similar to the idea that guides Maša Seničić. "Beautiful images" and metaphors can only be considered tiny islands where the reader rests from constantly swimming in the ocean, and again, this fighting against the waves represents both eros and thanatos, both loving and destructive elements. It is only the bones of the deceased ones that are soft, silent and cared for in this book, as well as their ashes in a pile. Finally, there is no appeasement; this would be most similar to dying and closest to boredom. 

- A Poetic Monument to Precision, written by Sanja Perić, published in Beogradski književni časopis no. 56–57–58–59 (for the year 2020)