Goran Čolakhodžić

- Croatia -

Goran Čolakhodžić (b. Zagreb, 1990) is a Croatian poet and translator. In 2015 his volume Na kraju taj vrt (In the end, the garden) won the Croatian poetry debut prize “Goran za mlade pjesnike” (Goran for Young Poets), named in the honour of Ivan Goran Kovačić (1913 – 1943), poet and anti-fascist fighter. In 2017 the book won the international “Bridges of Struga” award for best debut, awarded by the “Struga Poetry Evenings” festival in North Macedonia, and was translated into Macedonian in its entirety (by Nikola Kukuneš). His other poems have appeared in a number of magazines, both printed and online, in Croatia and abroad and have been translated into several languages. From 2017 to 2022 he was assistant editor of the Croatian Free Electronic Books (BEK) online library and is a member of the organising board of the Croatian “Goranovo proljeće” (Goran’s Spring) poetry festival. His second volume of poetry, Pred gradom su kosci (Reapers at the city gates) appeared in 2018.

Since the publication of his first book of poetry, Goran has been acknowledged as one of the most interesting and distinctive new lyrical voices in Croatia and his texts have appeared in a number of national or regional selections and anthologies.

“Goran Čolakhodžić's poetry collection Na kraju taj vrt is successful in its construction of a subject as the protagonist of a lyrical narrative and of the places where events take place – the garden, orchard, forest and the city – which are consistently developed along the lines of a carefully wrought concept. These elements intermingle and intertwine in various ways in time and space and in the poet's (sub)conscious; they simultaneously supress each other and co-exist, often one at the expense of the other. (…) The garden is the subject's true personification and metaphor, his mental state and a dream-like hallucination. (…)

His obsessions include themes of life and death, the transience of time, the ephemerality of things and nature, as well as their renewal and return to their lost origins. Aware that only love can overcome (or at least delay) death, Čolakhodžić introduces a Freudian twist in the understanding of Eros and Thanatos and continuously elevates them to the same thematic and existential plane by perceiving them as inseparable realities of life and affirming them yet again in the most unexpected situations.”

Davor Ivankovac, member of jury, “Goran for Young Poets” Award, 2015


“In Čolakhodžić, nature – sometimes provoked by human activity into a catastrophic response – is mostly on the offensive, undertaking a more or less expected reconquista. Time dominates over space, long processes are more important than synchronic time. Unnamed, ‘free’ spaces compete with those contaminated by names, by the colonizing nature of human ‘nominalization’.”

Marko Pogačar, review of Pred gradom su kosci, Portal Novosti, 2019


“Čolakhodžić’s complex new book can be read as an intimate study of time and space that, pointing at the likely consequences of warmongering politics and ecological catastrophes, seems like a hallucinatory warning, evident already from the title. It is a somewhat convoluted book that leaves the impression of a riddle, although the author, using numerous textual signals, warns us, also, that his second book is inseparably linked to this brilliant debut, Na kraju taj vrt (2015). Moreover, I have the impression that the two texts supplement each other and are mutually intertwined.”

Kristina Špiranec, review of Pred gradom su kosci, Booksa.hr, 2019