Nadija Rebronja’s Poetry of the Everyday

By Luna Gradinšćak

One young Serbian artist, Nadija Rebronja, tries to put 21st-century reality into a poetic form, in her Flamenco utopia. Born in 1982, she writes about contemporary life by listening to others in her presence. Whether it is a friend, acquaintance or just some noises on the street, she puts herself in a listener’s position and conveys a sort of perceived reality in her poems. The simplicity (but not banality) with which the author transforms philosophical disagreements of the 21st century allows her to achieve something of the effect that we find in the work of great contemporary poets, such as Vasko Popa. Rebronja’s effort to poeticise the unpoetic reminds us of Popa. Here is one of Rebronja’s poems:

player in the subway
we are white space
framed with number zero
circle is a horizon
circle is a noose
around the neck

As we see, the main theme is about stranger she accidentally met in a subway. But was this meeting a coincidence, or something worthy of deeper attention? The poet puts herself in a constantly alert state and pays attention to any Nadija Rebronjaenvironment in which she finds herself at that time. And that is the only way, for her, that is worth living. In the above poem the player talks to her unconsciously and gives her a message – we are caught in a trap, the trap of a number. Think about it – we are in a age of numbers, aren’t we? Today’s man is surrounded with digits and he cannot get out of it. Numbers are our noose. That’s why the listener, our lyric poet, writes this musical message in this kind of poem. But there is another consideration – a digit or circle that is revealed in the number zero is also a horizon. What is important in this story is to remember that the horizon is an illusion, so the noose that surrounds our neck is an illusion too. One of the key considerations is that maybe we cannot change the fact that we are in the age of numbers, but we can change our perspective on it. As in the Matrix, we all have a choice. What we choose to take is on us.

This is one brief view on Rebronja’s poetics. We find some kind of silent melancholy in her experience of writing and forwarding a poetics of everyday life. However, ‘if the silence of poetry comes after a multiple and complex sound that has in itself exhausted all the possibilities of the resounding world, then afterwards we do not know, at least for the moment, what to say’ (a loose translation of the words by Jovan Hristić), then this piece of work has achieved its aim.

Luna Gradinšćak is a PhD student of Serbian Literature & Language, and has published numerous articles in scholarly periodicals. She can be followed on Twitter here: @baobaobab

Image: Nadija Rebronja (author: Ešref Džanefendić), Wikimedia Commons.

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