Corresponding Poems

The poems by Stevan Bradić and Jelena Anđelovski, present in this selection, address the questions of artistic labor, media, and migration, all of which shape and were shaped by our common world. When read together, they simultaneously highlight and displace each other, opening up possibilities for new understanding, which is why the authors chose them. They were read at the Akademie Schloss Solitude Sommerfest in 2021.

Stevan Bradić and Jelena Anđelovski — Apr 12, 2022

Akademie Schloss Solitude - Corresponding Poems

from Like Torn Leaves by Stevan Bradić

how much is this book
four or five euros
perhaps more
you have it in your hands
but you see I had no say in all that
no one asked me how much the labor invested in it
is worth
I believe you’ve bought it
good reader
but I would perhaps gift it to you if you had asked me
in time
I myself do not have the rights to an infinite number of copies
of my own book
for I do not own either paper nor ink nor machines used to multiply it
I do not own anything apart from my effort
and accounting has to be respected
copies counted in the warehouse
before and after the book fair
perhaps you’ve bought it at a discount
in that case I’m glad you’ve gone to the trouble

in order to discover everything I have to tell you
I feel
warmth between us
as if we’re accomplices in some secret and dangerous affair
of which no one must know anything
we’re conspirators prepared
to topple
the world
but I will not see a single cent from what you’ve spent
trust me
our conversation is completely protected from earnings
we are leading it in the shadow
of commerce
and yet
we haven’t sold our hearts
to anyone.
after reading however
money has to be collected in a single place
and deposited into a bank
in the firm’s account
and never as a turnover but only
as a founder’s loan
because this way no taxes will be paid
by our sellers and publishers
and a book
whether good or bad
will be cheaper
than we could ever hope for
even in our
wildest dreams.


Translated by Stevan Bradić and A.B. Jackson


Rosenheim by Jelena Anđelovski

Reiner and I
were also on that train.

Night ride.
Tickets to be bought.
Station, a bush of people.
I come from Nigeria.
We’re headed for France.
Why no one from Israel?
Because I speak French.
I am a hairdresser.
My cat was left somewhere in the ruins.
You are lucky.
I couldn’t take my dog.
Are you religious?
I don’t believe in god.
I’m a paleontologist.
I don’t understand.
Are you a Muslim?

I don’t believe in god.
Who then gives you your daily bread?
I give it to myself.
What do you believe in then?
In Reiner here.
Here’s two hundred euros.
Buy us tickets.
There aren’t any for this train.
They won’t sell us tickets.
How perfidious.
They break our legs.
Cut our wings.
Good luck.
Cheerful kids.
Proud old women.
After a whole life,
entering a new one.
Beginning is hard.
Not really your lover’s squeeze.
Not really your mother’s hand.

Night has fallen. Reiner is on my lap. Observing wildly. He never looked so wild. Street lights cut through the dark so we can see each other’s faces. Who is afraid of whom. Who is more afraid of whom?

A boy cries in his sleep.
Reiner and I caress him.
Dad takes him in his hands.
It’s peaceful.
It’s arduous.
Lustful eyes of a young man.
Broken back of an elder.
Mum holds a baby in her bosom.
Night is over.
Like a silent play.
Policemen come in.
Do you have a passport?
You are breaking the Law on foreigners.
Get off the train.
You are breaking the Law on foreigners.
Come with us.
Good morning.
The conversation continues.
We’re in a late train

we stay alone
scraps of night
white Europeans
black cat and I.


Translated by Stevan Bradić and A.B. Jackson

Akademie Schloss Solitude - Corresponding Poems

Beneath Our Footsteps by Stevan Bradić                                                    

our time has passed
in scrolling through the newsfeed
in tumbling from one site to anther
in collecting trivial data on individuals and events
on dumb movies and books we never finished
our time has passed
in skipping through the recipes we never tasted
in listening to conversations between people completely prosaic
of whose lives we knew almost nothing
apart from them appearing in front of the eye of a camera
over and over again
until they were completely chewed up and finally spat out in the dustbin
of industry
we listened to the sentences short and quick that mercilessly arrived at the punchline
followed by forced avalanche of laughter from the auditorium
which meant money
and money and money
and this was the only measure upon which we could rely beyond
our time has passed in overseeing
the formless knots of the internet
our only fickle homeland
only origin national or other
where insults could be exchanged swiftly and
with people whose faces stood petrified by the tangled pseudonyms
witnessing the lack of viewpoint knowledge or passion
of anything else apart from the need
to have one’s voice heard
we have scrolled through the endless photo albums under a strange compulsion
expecting unconsciously to reach an image which would end
everything we have seen up to that point
expecting a holy flame to scorch our tired eyesight
bringing a blessed moment of peace or at least an illusion of happiness
we have scrolled through other people’s albums and seen bodies among things
calcified figures unified tropes stylized grimaces
lavish scenery shining modes of transport
in exotic and unreachable destinations
formed completely by the gaze of camera
from which we never parted
it was in our hand and it has become our hand
with it we have scooped food water love
with it we have rested upon the solidity that was patiently
withdrawing itself
anyone’s words could reach us without fail so silence was almost impossible
information threats greetings smiles
children’s drawings signified our emotions
and even though we in fact had none
we have shared and exchanged them in desire to master our appearance
and create real consequences
on the fictional waves in a machine of technological entäußerung
which has long since
mastered our astonished hearts
multiplying and subjecting them to the generic rules established
under the ownership of someone else
through the mathematics which transcended us
we were unaccustomed to the unbearable freedom worth more than any pleasure
and so we covered it up with fleeting sayings collages of nurtured faces
and shards of collective ecstasy
in a carefully monitored mirror which has demanded of us a recognizable
happiness or at least a purchase of its signifiers
our time has passed in judgement
of images and sentences
sentences and images
and videos
short and edited so one
would stay at least for a moment longer
in a same spot a spot where
one would be offered objects and people forms shapes and colors
stripped and light in motion quick but resolute towards an unsurpassed goal
of which we could otherwise
only fantasize
things stood like that they were too beautiful to reach
the promises were so big that they could be fulfilled only
in our wildest dreams
but we have loved them
and spent our time listening to their seductive whisper
while the knowledge of struggle
passed us buy
and the earth crumbled beneath our footsteps
enduring the truth as well as its appearance
addressing us constantly
with a song
of which we wanted to hear


Translated by Stevan Bradić and A.B. Jackson

Regina by Jelena Anđelovski

Without her he would be a completely different person. In his seventies he would be a madman, a man lost in the role of the art patron, surrounded by walls adorned with highbrow art, and novel artists, whose voices rustle to exhaustion. Without her he would dissipate in all this. He wouldn’t be frightened, he wouldn’t even be a human being.


Translated by Stevan Bradić




Akademie Schloss Solitude - Corresponding Poems

Alicante by Stevan Bradić

i’m at the main square in front of the townhall
and i wanna talk to you about something that i’ve yet to understand
i am lonely
my love
for an entire week now i’ve tried to touch your face
i’ve walked through the narrow streets of this town and visited
all the places a foreigner ought to visit
santa barbara castle and plaza de los luceros
several museums
and the marble walkway by the see framed by decorative palm trees.
renowned warmth of this country is not unquestionable
my love
its people are hard and proud
preoccupied with silly things
like anywhere else upon this earth
some windows are adorned with spanish flags
some are not
you meet the poor in suburbs
migrants drive the public busses
young men and women meet and part in front of the brilliant shopwindows
and care only of how to multiply their joy
as if joy could belong
to anyone in particular
almost no one speaks english
and since i don’t understand spanish, catalan, or valencian
i feel as if i am not
welcome here

yesterday i’ve read prevert’s poem alicante
and it reminded me of you
my love
it is a short poem and it speaks of oranges
oranges here grow in the streets like in any other mediterranean city
which will never cease to amaze me
because they are not fruit
they are human heart hidden in the likeness of fruit
and so it looks like the entire city is decorated with your absence

a shadow i see falling over the entire continent frightens me
my love
is once again rearing its monstrous head
trying to divide us
into the straight
and the crooked
its saccharine song resounds here in the hearts
of many
like in countless other european cities
it would be woeful if they were to start to sing along
no matter how desperate they might become
from the misery imposed upon them
by the proprietors

i can hear how the bells chime with immense gentleness
from a nearby cathedral
they’re measuring the time we have left

and if it’s so in this luminous country bathed in the glistening waves of the mediterranean sea
what’s left for us to hope for

this is what i wanted to talk to you about


Translated by Stevan Bradić

Forgotten City by Jelena Anđelovski

I got lost it the Divine Music Administration,
Cloudy Place. All alike.
Apart from a single bush with three roses
and thousand fragrances.
I walk in circles.
White and gray.
All the same.
I was lost
when I stumbled upon
that bush of roses.
I had recognized
the geometry of the bush,
the arrangement
of the roses
showed me the way.


Translated by Stevan Bradić


Akademie Schloss Solitude - Corresponding Poems

All images © Andrea Palasti