Andrea Jurjević (Poetry) | Atlanta, GA
Andrea Jurjević is a poet and translator from Rijeka, Croatia. Her work has appeared in EPOCH, TriQuarterly, Best New Poets, the Missouri Review, The Journal, Gulf Coast, and many other literary journals. She is the author of Small Crimes, winner of the 2015 Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and translator of Mamasafari (Diálogos, 2018), a collection of prose poems by Croatian author Olja Savičević. Andrea is a recipient of a Robinson Jeffers Tor Prize, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a Hambidge Fellowship, and the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award. She works as a Lecturer in English at Georgia State University.
Blurbs, Press, & Reviews
I love the way, in Andrea Jurjevic’s poems, beauty and horror walk arm-in-arm, the way each poem is dense, cacophonous with images, complex and layered as a Kusturica film; the way I want to look away, sometimes, and can’t. I love the way she takes me, through her poems, to the human underside of the war in her native Balkans, and to the underside of America, and to the underside of love. I love the wrecked love poems most of all, for their brutal tenderness, for what survives.
— Cecilia Woloch
War and love tend to bring out the most significant questions about our lives. With an extraordinary gift for language, Andrea Jurjevic reveals our own deepest needs and longings. These poems are beautiful but hard-nosed, and this book marks the debut of a fresh and important new voice in American poetry.
— David Bottoms
The title of this haunting and elegant book is ironic and deeply understated. I expect irony became a way of life, a reality ever-present in the up-turned world the war and dissolution of the former Yugoslavia at the root of these almost unrelenting poems. And the understatement is almost necessary as darkly comic ballast for the weight of the narrative facts. Almost, because countering the violence and grief in the near and distant history behind these poems, is an aching cry of passion, a claim for the love in human life that restores and sustains that life to give it meaning beyond the moment, beyond the privations and despair of present time. In that implicit song of love, one finds hope, transcendence, and any reader of this painful book of serious, artistic verse, will conclude the love discovered here is earned and, at once, miraculous. This book reminds us that life, in all its iterations, is utterly shocking and beautifully defiant.
— Maurice Manning
Olja Savičević’s poems and prose-poems tackle everything from the Devil to Pasolini, blue shoes to bicycles, the Bossa Nova to family portraits, and a precisely rendered sequence on Istanbul. Savičević is like the love-child of Carolyn Forche and Caesar Pavese: she possesses Pavese’s eye for street-life and grit in the cities she travels (both inside and out), and yet she imbues that portraiture with Forche-like notions of the poet as witness. Andrea Jurjević’s fine translations wrought in American-inflected-English present a Savičević who captures the rhythm of life that bends beneath the weight of history and isms to find the tiniest details that sing and resist. For, as she tells us: “The butchers will be behind bars, the ground that trembles will grow calm, but the deep satisfaction we call justice won’t come. Still: there’re many pleasures, that’s what’s worth focusing on.”
—Sean Thomas Dougherty, author of The Second O of Sorrow
Olja Savičević’s writing is savage; whether she is sharpening truths against “35 Years of Lies” or simply recalling a domestic scene where she suddenly unleashes: “Motherhood is self explanatory and useless like fireworks,” her poetry drives the familiar into a state of uncanny. “Why would I eat paper, when I could write on it? So much about that kind of love.” That “kind of love” in Mamasafari is a hunger that cuts just deep enough to astound.
—Megan Burns, author of Basic Programming