Tag Archives: Zvona i Nari

Bells and Pomegranates — Poems in Croatian

In the Fall, 2003, Paul Vangelisti invited me to co-teach a graduate seminar at Otis College of Art and Design in a rotation that would also include Norman Klein and himself. I was in the final year of finishing my dissertation, and was a bit nervous about taking on a graduate school assignment at such an early stage in my academic career, but Paul – ever the elder brother – reassured me that it would go well, and indeed it did. Eventually I would return to Otis later in that decade to teach another graduate seminar, but all on my own.

For the first, co-taught seminar, I drove up from San Diego to Otis every third week and met with a large group of students, which included an intriguing pair of writers from Croatia, Natalija Grgorinić and Ognjen Rađen. They were already at that point committed to writing as a single person, and they were among the best students – if not the very best – in that seminar. I subsequently heard from Paul that they moved to the Midwest after finishing Otis and attended Case Western University, but lost track of them until recently, when I received an e-mail inviting me to visit their arts residency program in Croatia and to send them some poems for a magazine they were starting with a writer and translator from Canada, Daniel Allan Cox. The magazine is called Zvona I Nari (Bells and Pomegranates). I sent them several new poems, and they are now posted in a bi-lingual format at: https://www.zvonainari.hr/single-post/2017/04/26/Stepping-Aside-Bill-Mohr

It is an honor and a pleasure to have Natalija and Ognjen convey my poems into their language, and Linda and I hope to visit Croatia this year and have a chance to hear them read these translations out loud, as well as to catch up with what they are working on as a writer “themself.”