Nikola Madzirov (poet, essayist, translator) was born in 1973 in Strumica, R.Macedonia, in a family of war refugees from the Balkan Wars. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity, as a writer reinventing himself in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions.
The example and work of the great East European poets of the postwar period – Vasko Popa, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert – were liberating influences on his writing and thinking. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel compared the quality of his poetry to Tomas Tranströmer’s : ‘There is a clear line from their generation, and that of more recent figures like Adam Zagajewski from Poland, to Nikola Madzirov, but Madzirov’s voice is a new 21st century voice in European poetry.’ He is one of the most outstanding figures of the post-Soviet generation and his poems are translated into more than thirty languages.
His collection Relocated Stone (2007) was given the East European ‘Hubert Burda’ poetry award and received the most prestigious Macedonian poetry prize, the ‘Miladinov Brothers’ award at Struga Poetry Evenings.
Other awards include Studentski Zbor award for best debut in Macedonia and DJS award for international poetry in China. American jazz composer Oliver Lake and Italian classical composer Angelo Inglese have composed music based on Madzirov’s poems. He has been granted several international fellowships including the International Writing Program (IWP) at University of Iowa in USA; DAAD in Berlin; Marguerite Yourcenar in France and Passa Porta in Brussels.
Mark Strand said: Madzirov’s poetry is like discovering a new planet in the solar system of the imagination, while Simon Armitage wrote: Arresting, enigmatic and mysterious in the great Eastern European tradition.
His book in English Remnants of Another Age, was published in UK by Bloodaxe Books in 2013.
Photography: Thomas Kierok