Miroslav Kirin’s poetry of the powerful, immediate moment bears the imprint of both outdoor boyhood experience and a contemporary, postmodern quest for emotional unity.
Miroslav Kirin was born in Sisak, a former oil refinery and the industrial center of the region that stretches some seventy kilometers southeast from Zagreb. He spent his boyhood in small towns near Sisak, Petrinja and Slana, and the traces of that early, very vivid experience and of time spent mainly outdoors have left deep impressions on his writing. He finished primary and secondary school in his hometown, Petrinja, and went to Zagreb to study English and Comparative Literature.
After taking his degree he secured a job at a secondary school in Zagreb where he teaches English. He was recognized as a poet from the very beginning of his career. He received the prestigious Goran Prize for Young Poets in 1989, and in 2001 was rewarded for his autobiographical prose, Album (The Album), with a lucrative Literary Prize from the national daily paper, Jutarnji list. Parts of that book were published in the American journal Gowanus. He is also a distinguished translator of contemporary American literature.
Miroslav Kirin’s poetry is suffused with deep feelings that stretch apparently endlessly and, in its nuances, conveys a number of distinct and yet somehow connected states of mind. These connections are presented through the same lyrical narrator in his poems, but it is often hard to pinpoint where a sensation starts and where it ends. The trigger that moves the entire content of a poem most probably lies somewhere outside, secluded in a physical sense from the lyrical narrator, and hence the poet has a rather limited influence on the aftermath of that initial moment of the poem.
To identify it as nature, as the environment in the usual sense of the word, would be to oversimplify Kirin's poetical endeavor. To describe it as a sort of hermetic approach to poetry would reveal almost nothing about his unique understanding of lyricism in the context of modern and contemporary Croatian poetry. One way out of the contemporary predicament lies in the wide and unspecified cultural field that is packed with the various elements usually described with postmodern adjectives. Indy rock music, movies, clips, the so-called entertainment industry, all of that could provide the necessary ingredients for a poetry that from the start wants to talk about indescribable but still very concrete and powerful daily experiences. Somewhere in the background of those all too familiar, somehow universal sensations can be found a specific amalgam, which provides the local aura for Kirin's poetry.
The other route goes to the heart of modern lyricism as we know it, to love poetry as the foremost expression of the modern longing for that elusive unity that is constantly torn apart only to be rebuilt again and again. If we read Kirin's poems in that key, we will certainly be rewarded with a strange and rare insight into the experience we all share one way or another. After all, that is the reason why most readers still have a need for poetry. But the point is to find that key, for it is not always where one supposes it might be found.
A SWISH OF GLITTERING creatures in
THE READER OF THE TOUCH was fired.
A BIRD WITH SCORCHED wings makes its
THE BOAT WAS PACKED FULL,
WE CRUMBLE EVEN without you, who are
NO REMNANTS. AS if thrown out of the millstone.
A BEAUTIFUL THING takes place:
YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE to whom every day
Od nje do vječnosti . SKUD I. G. Kovačić, Zagreb 1989.
Tantalon . Meandar, Zagreb 1998.
Zukva . Vuković & Runjić, Zagreb 2004.
Album . Vuković & Runjić, Zagreb 2001.
Paul Auster Newyorška trilogija/The New York Trilogy. Vuković & Runjić, Zagreb 2001.
Siri Hustvedt Zavezanih očiju/The Blindfold Profil, Zagreb 2004.
Vendela Vida A sad možeš ići/And Now You Can Go, Vuković & Runjić, Zagreb 2004.
John Updike: Udaj se za mene/Marry Me, Profil, Zagreb 2004.
Goranova nagrada za mlade pjesnike/The Goran Award For Young Poets, 1989.
Literary Prize of the daily paper Jutarnji list, 2001.