Borben Vladović was born in October 1943 in Split. His poetry has been translated into a dozen languages and published in several Croatian and international anthologies. Vladović also writes novels, short stories, and theatre and radio plays. In 2001 he won the Zaprešić City Prize for an entire literary work, and in 2004 the St. Quirinus Poetry Prize of MH Sisak.
Vladović went to school in Split, Rijeka and Zagreb where he gained a degree in Slavic Philology and Art History at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb. In Zagreb he also studied singing at the Music Academy. He worked as a singer-actor, as a librarian, and his current position is the editor-playwright for Croatian Radio. He is the editor-in-chief of a contemporary poetry journal published by the Croatian Writers Association, and for Croatian Radio he has edited four volumes in the ongoing collection, Portrait of the Artist as Dramatist.
Vladović made his first steps in poetry in the late 1960s, using neo-avantgarde experiments that resulted in concrete and visual poetry. His approach to the once widespread poetic vogue was marked by all the distintive features that we usually attribute to that international movement – presenting each poem as a different shape, free play with pictorial typography, a neglect of syntax and grammar, an abandonment of semantic meaning. Since the early 1990s Vladović has returned to writing a more ‘traditional’ poetry.
For him, the avantgarde annihilation of poetry’s conventions was not the ultimate goal from which there was no return to poetry. It was more like an experience that provided him with a new standpoint from which to make certain new choices. So instead of continuing with other avantgarde artistic forms, such as performance poetry, ‘actions-agitations’, art installations and so on, Vladović decided to engage in lyricism.
In his book Lirika (Lyricism) (2000), from which several of the poems presented here are taken, each poem functions as an independent whole in a manner common in modern and contemporary poetry. His main rhetorical device is metonymy, used mainly in descriptions and for building up a certain atmosphere that marks the entire book, and allowing an ease of communication with his reader. He very carefully avoids obvious similes and over-colourful metaphors. In the end the reader will certainly find enjoyment in this seemingly casual poetry. Notwithstanding the apparent nonchalance, Vladović’s poems reveal a watchful eye and ear and have been crafted with care, avoiding any shallow or inappropriate poetic expression.
Balkonski prostor, Naprijed, Zagreb 1970.
3 X 7 = 21, M. Marulić, Split 1973.
Vrulje, Mladost, Zagreb 1980.
Knjigapegla, ICR, Rijeka 1982.
Odmor pelivana, Naklada MD, Zagreb 1990.
Cjelovitost detalja, Zaprešić 1991.
Lirika, Naklada Ljevak, Zagreb 2000.
Tijat, MH, Split 2004.
Boja željeznog oksida, GZH, Zagreb 1989.
Razderani tlocrt, Naklada MD, Zagreb 1996.
Prenoćište, Konzor, Zagreb 2000.
Aida, Forum Literary Magazine offprint, Zagreb 2002.
Information on the play Aida based on the famous opera, with biographical details and bibliography.
Critical overview of Vladović’s poetry at the time of his receiving the St. Quirinus Poetry Prize.
Programme notes for the first Croatian rock-opera, Gubec-beg, first performance in 1975, with Vladović singing the role of the peasant warlord Gušetić