Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Poetry in Macedonian - Obsessed with Pipework

I have had an amazing experience. I read a collection of poetry. The English version was on the right, so I read that carefully, as you do. The original version in Macedonian was on the left. I have the weirdest sensation each time I look at the pages of text. The combination of blocky, part upper case and part lower case letters stumps me in some profound way. My grandmother was Serbian, and spoke Serbo Croat. Her language is now called Serbian, but as far as I can tell it is still the same language and is written in something very similar to the Macedonian script of my new poetry book.

It is so familiar, yet I can't read a single word. The type takes me back to her drawing room with these hardback books on the side table. She never enthused about anything Serbian to me. She never showed me a picture from any of these books, I don't think they had any, they looked very dull. Thinking about her now, they might have been biographies because I heard that this is what she liked to read, but I always assumed that meant in English.

There is something frozen about it, dead and cut off. I asked her once to teach me, but she said not to bother, to concentrate on French. In the photo at the top of my blog the space on the globe for Serbia is blocked by the support. How odd and significant.

I'm still not explaining myself. This could be my madeleine moment. It is reminding me of something very real in my past, which I had never re-encountered until now.

Obsessed with Pipework is a stapled pamphlet which comes out 4 times a year. I have treated myself to a subscription because the back issue I looked through was so suitable to my poetry tastebuds!

1 comment:

  1. It has just come to me, seeing the dense, even typeface brings back the dusty, fusty smell of those old books. Maybe when I was little I opened and examined these dull books of hers and that smell and sight was taken in, but never set off again until now.


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