Jovanka Stojčinović Nikolić (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Jovanka Stojčinović Nikolić (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Jovanka Stojčinović Nikolić, a poetess, prose writer, essayist, and cultural booster, was born in the village of Ritešić near Doboj (Bosnia & Herzegovina). Up to 1998. she worked as a secondary school teacher in Doboj. From 1998. to 2010. she was General Manager of the Culture and Training Centre in Doboj. After that, as a member of Mayor’s staff, she was Adviser for culture, sciences and education.
So far she has published 15 books of poetry: A Wanderer’s Star (1975), The Tight Sky (1994), The Loneliness of a Rose (1995), The Naked Sun (1996), The Stone of My Blood (1996), Barefoot Plants (1997), A Service-tree (2000), Bitter Light (2002), The Key-hole – Selected and New Poems (2003), The Shape of Light (2006), The Darkness of Pure Gold (2006), The Dark Eye of the Street (2009), In the First Person (2011), The Dark Eye of the Street (second edition) (2011), The Thirteenth Stair (2014), The Chosen Moment (selected poems) (2015). In 2018. she published a book of accounts, essays and reviews under the title Parallel Roads.
She is included in many anthologies and collections of poetry.
She has received many awards, among which the most important are: Award of Association of Writers of the Republic of Srpska (for the best book in 2009), Award of Association of Writers of Romanija-Sarajevo-Drina Chapter (for the unpublished manuscript in 2002), Kočić’s Pen, Šušnjar, Metaphors of Šumadija, The Key of Dobor-City, Milan Lalić, The Goblet of the Girl of Kosovo, Annual Award of Association of Writers of the Republic of Srpska for the year 2014., Hadji Dragan, Golden Orphey by Number Seven Association of Writers in Frankfurt, international literary award Golden Ring (Skopje), Award of Association of Writers of Bulgaria. . .
She has also won other highest recognitions – Golden Badge of Cultural and Educational Commnity of Serbia, Recognition of Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska for the contribution to the development of culture, Emblem of the City of Doboj for the contribution to the cultural creativity, Charter of Association of Townsfolk of Doboj for the contribution to the development of culture.
Her poetry has been translated into many languages (Russian, Italian, German, Roumanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, English, Armenian, Slovene, Ukrainian, Polish, Arabic. . .).
She is the founder of the theatre festival in Doboj (Theatre Fest) and has been its selector for more than a decade.
She is the founder of the Fortress Visual Arts Workshop in Doboj and has been its selector for many years.
She is the founder and coordinator of Landlady Art Colony Okolišta-Ozren.

In 2015. Artprint Publishing House from Banja Luka published the book Light above Stojčinovićes’ Countryside – Poetic Work of Jovanka Stojčinović Nikolić, by Professor Bogomir Đukić.
From 2012. to 2016. she was President of Association of Writers of the Republic of Serpska.



I look for provisional accommodation
To find a safe shelter for my words
To bring the written poems back under the roof
To have an unfamiliar neighbour
And my own bench in the Park
I buy a little river
Convenient for moving in
Where in each water-mill
I can meet my own millstone
I demand the lost Love Gold Picture Postcards
And everything left behind memories
The angle between the commotions of Doboj
and a wolf-dog is demanded
There remained my footsteps
Clock tickings Rising waters Blazing fires
Promises of speech and deaths of moonshine
Verses scattered at literary evenings
There my years weep and shadows grow
I swap the head under a lifted axe
For the glitter of ist cutting edge
I change the directions of the clock hands
They intensify the race above History
For days on end I am Looking Buying
Demanding Swapping
Unhugging Dawning
Then I sit down with my face buried in hands
Taking a break to weigh out the words
To write the Public Notice once more



I have called off going to Library
It is a market day
Today I am going to buy and sell
I do not deny the delight of bargaining
Here a word can be pronounced for countless times
The weighing of words comes in the end
Everybody has their own counters made of dreams
Buying and selling keep going on
A button from a pair of old trousers
A pillow under the head for big and small money
A Snake’s slough Deer’s horn
A pocket watch and a hole on the pocket
A phone number Dust under a broom
Expensive and cheap cigarettes
Old umbrellas Knives from the chest
A mote in the eye Shadow before the feet
Light below the Lighthouse is bought
A Hill in the Kingdom Horses and horsemen
The Road under the footsteps on guard
Mists from the years nineteen ninety two and three
Everything is for sale
Only life has no value



All night long I have been flattening mountains
In my body

Behind a mountain top (which I cannot reach)
The Sun is falling down a cliff

Levelling its rays against jagged stones
As if covering by running its shine in a flash

We are two wholes separate from the outside
Each one in its own body
With a thousand windows through which various places
Can be seen

The brighter ones are similar to me
The darker ones are as deep as gorges
And I have difficulty to see the living people in them

While I am flattening mountains
The darkness between the lights is swaying my skin
And I feel as if it had always been
An unforgettable encounter with the world
And my only possibility
To reach the Sun on the cliff



I am sorting out my old clothes in the wardrobe
Of my bedroom
The clothes that keep making
Confusion in my head blurring the vision
About the real state of my clothing immobility

In the middle of the room there can settle the largest white cloud
Through it everything in the wardrobe can be seen

All dreams in the sleeves of the nightgown
The night hours of my insomnia and words
That by some miracke have remained in the inner pocket
Of the light blue outfit from my youth

In fact I wonder whether it is just the room
And wardrobes that all life long
Have been watching over old and new things
Saving the mother tongue
(which I can never lose or buy)
Or it is the mirror of the same age facing them
The mirror that in any case may be replaced

But how can I fix its crack on the oval side
Which has existed for years due to a tiny part of the mirror
That dropped into my hand two decades ago
While I was polishing it to shine like the soul of the bedroom

I conclude that nothing can be finished
Until the things are replaced



Sipping black coffee from porcelain cups
We are talking about serious matters
Disclosing new things to each other

She is showing me her fingers pricked by the needle
Of her old Singer sewing machine
Which she must repair as soon as possible
In order to patch all seasons of the year into the apron
And to stitch in all secrets outside and inside

Thousands of farewell letters and important talks

Of streets with no soul on them
And of corners beyond the reach of a hand

Looking closely at the blue needle-like punctures
On her finger cushions she utters in a low voice

I suffer when I see that the world is falling apart
And so far we have lived on this .

Translated into English by Lazar Macura

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s