100 Pieces, A Description



100 Pieces, a collection of poems, is the product of two sleepless nights during which I decided to share all of my troubles with Word and the rest of the world.

Following the example of Dante’s Divine Comedy, the collection is split into three sections of 33 poems each, plus a final poem which is simply there to make up the figure of one hundred.

Each section has its own theme. The first deals with the war, the growth of an individual, in this case a young man, and his relationship with a society which has undergone a number of distortions, predominantly as a result of the war, and become transformed into a (Dantean) Hell.

The second, corresponding to Purgatory, deals with writing and poetry and my view of these matters in general, which occupies the fragile boundary between irony and cynicism, and in which I poke fun at my own writing, and at my literary ambitions.

The third section consists almost entirely of love poetry describing, let’s say, my journey towards what they call true love. Once again, this journey mainly consisted of various examples of one-night stand, or, you might say, the method of trial and error.

These are very much narrative poems, and each one may be read as a (very) short story. Their protagonists are mostly young people with no future, a group that defined themselves as no-hopers as far back as the early nineties, and who have abandoned any illusions that that they would ever be anything but no-hopers, who grew up too soon thanks to the war, and consciously picked the role of dregs of society and devoted themselves to making their own private ganja-smoking and Ecstasy-dropping paradises.

I believe that literature, or at least what I mean by literature, must stem from the need of an author to resolve certain matters with himself and with his surroundings, in other words from frustration in the broadest sense of the word.

My work, then, stems from my frustration, by which I mean that I write about problems affecting myself and most of my generation in Croatia.

In Croatia, and the Balkan region as a whole, these problems are frequently bound up with the whole of society, and therefore the majority of my prose and poetry addresses the relationship of the individual with society within a particular, turbulent, period of history. Specifically, the war and its aftermath.

My intent is to contrast the individual, his needs and desires, with the desires, needs and goals of such abstractions as the state and the nation, which in this part of the world are frequently placed in the foreground.

These individuals are often victims of those abstractions, and they usually see their exit in cynicism, nihilism and escapism, bolstered by drugs, the media and the motley world of capital, which is currently making a forcible entry to this part of the world.

In short, my aim is to prioritise the individual rather than society, something of a Sisyphean task in my environment, and accordingly I see my work, however pathetic this sounds, as a kind of struggle.

© Vlado Bulić (Translated by Kim Burton)  
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