četvrtak, 27 april, 2017.

In this text, I am going to concentrate on the work of five women poets. The notion of gender will be the key, although not the exclusive category in my analysis of their poetry. Recent studies by feminist theoreticians have dealt with a lot more complex interpretations of female authors along the 'notion of gender' line. Susan Stanford Friedman writes accordingly that ''the new geography of identity insists that we think about women writers in relation to a fluid matrix instead of fixed binary male/female or masculine/feminine. In so doing, the justification for focusing on women loses its cogency. Instead, the interactional, relational, and situational constituents of identity for both male and female writers should be read together. The multiple and contradictory subject positions of writers need to be accounted for, and the very presence of hybridism undermines the gynocritical predisposition to single out gender.''[1] Rachel Blau DuPlessis, in her interpretation of the work of a modernist poet Mina Loy, quotes Medvedev and Bakhtin and thinks that '' issues in narrative poetics must be implicated in and completed by an understanding of 'sociological poetics', in the sense given by Medvedev and Bakhtin, the postulate that literature (whether novel or poetry) is a 'historical phenomenon' and that criticism is 'social evaluation'. [2] '' My own approach to the contemporary women’s poetry in Serbia will be primarily based on an ideological analysis. [3] I will start with the assumption that culture is structured through ideological screens and that cultural products give support and take part in ideological structuring of the world for both male and female readers. That is why cultural products are not neutral in relation to political, ideological, and economic supremacy within the society but work hand in hand with them. I will use Charles Bernstein's formulation to express my own interest in the way that formal dynamics of a poem participate in the shaping of ideology, in the way that poetic styles can bear political meaning, and in the way that the choice of vocabulary, syntax and narrative actually reflect an ideology. [4] I take a view that the products of culture are in their nature political and that images and themes that poets (as well as artists in general) use are never neutral. [5] 

Having in mind that mainstream Serbian culture in the 1990s advocated for its autochthony and was at odds with Western culture, I will concentrate my attention to a small number of women authors whose work I perceive as open to different influences and different poetic and political options. From the perspective of the 1990s, the creative corpuses made in the 1980s are interesting because it was then that a specific artistic and poetic ideology was formed. The dominant mainstream poetry of the 1990s shaped itself in opposition to that ideology and strongly against it. [6] As far as the poetry of the 1990s is concerned, I choose to analyze those authors whose work is situated beyond the dominant poetic and ideological societal trends.

Social contexts

When I was reading, in the second half of 1990s, the works of women poets from previous decade as well as the poetry of my peers, the women poets born around 1960s, I was at once able to perceive the difference. In the period of late socialism, as Ljiljana Djurdjic had explained it in a particular conversation, ‘the poet’ was put on a pedestal. The poetic profession was socially significant and held in high esteem. However, it drew a veil over many problems (such as the issue of national and religious identity, tensions between the proclaimed classless society and the appearance of new privileged classes, the suppression of nationalisms, etc.), which were banned from the 'ideal' socialist society allegedly devoid of conflict. 

Mikhail Epstein writes about post socialism as of East European postmodernism.[7]  In Serbia, in the period of post socialism, poetry as a literary genre is pushed on the margins. Prose is, on the contrary, established as a genre involved to a great extent in ideological processes aiming at the reconstruction of civil society and recapturing lost national and religious identities, which makes it a dominant genre. The crisis of poetry can be seen in the fact that numerous male and female poets give up writing poetry and start writing prose. Mainstream poetry deals with topics belonging to the national myths and is closely connected with local and patriot concept of society where literature and art regain their utilitarian character: their ideological and aesthetic purpose is fulfilled when they become able to simulate to the society its once lost and newly retrieved identity. That kind of poetry, archaic in its form and themes, varies from extremely retrograde forms of poetic expression based on folk poetry and the renewal of its strategies or it acquires poetic forms dating from romanticism and early modernism, creating an eclectic retro style. Therefore, the voice of the poet becomes the voice of the people and it is gender-marked as a male poetic voice. [8] The transformation of an individual lyrical ‘I’, which in socialism was in the process of forming from the end of 1960s and during 1970s, became obvious, as well. Critics denoted the mainstream poetry during 1970s as ‘critical’ or ‘veristic’ poetry where an individual poetic voice is heard as detached from society and in position to criticize it. In the mainstream poetry in the 1990s, a lyrical ‘I’ becomes lyrical ‘we’ because the poetic voice expresses an essential, ontological sense of belonging to the people, religious and national community whose glory it celebrates and whose myths it promotes.

In the 1970s, there were two poetic scenes in Serbia: one, located in Vojvodina (northern region of Serbia) that could be described as radical and multicultural and the other located in Belgrade, which relied on the traditions of moderate or high modernism in the period of real-socialism. Both scenes consisted of predominantly male poetic communities with few female poets. The poetic scene in the 1980s can be defined as more pluralist, as it is the time when the state influence on culture decreases. A great number of strategies of radical poetic practices have been assimilated so that many poets write cultivated poetry, which is often eclectic and represents a meeting point of different creative strategies. The experience of radical modernism as well as of avant-gardism was obvious in the language shift (linguism), in the awareness based in the poem itself and in the creation of a poetic reality in difference to earlier models that remodeled the real world. [9] Since the 1970s, the experience of visual and concrete poetry has been incorporated in the mainstream poetry but in the function of pronounced semantisation of the poetic paradigm. Having in mind that the broader social and political context was actually an open late-socialist society, the poetics of male and female poets were accordingly open to multifold influences. Male and female poets start a dialogue, often without intermediaries, with the protagonists of the European and world literature, they get to know other cultures by spending shorter or longer periods of time abroad. They were able to travel and make such direct contacts owing to the existing economic and political situation at the time. 

Out of this context, I will single out women poets whose work I consider symptomatic for women’s creation of that period. I am going to speak about Nina Zivancevic (born in 1957, Belgrade), Ivana Milankova (born in 1952, Belgrade where she still lives), and Jelena Lengold (born in 1959, Krusevac, but lives in Belgrade). In their poetry, the space has been present in different ways while frequent shifts in their poetic scenery show that they moved across various geographical places, describing their experience.

Depicting the 1980s for the purpose of this essay, Jelena Lengold points out:
“The eighties were really friendly towards writers. The world was simply at hand. You were still able to get a grant from The Writers’ Association, for example, without being a big shot in their Board. It was thought normal that a writer would like to travel. I suppose that today such a wish would provoke an outcry. 

Not only did we travel more but other people also came to our country. The October Writers’ Meetings were at that time important events that could be missed only by utterly uninformed individuals. We used to dine with the Nobel Prize winners and show Skadarlija to the most illustrious authors.

I have always been especially interested in Scandinavian countries and England. That’s why I went to these countries most often. I went to Scandinavia in order to discover something new and not yet known here. I went to England to find, behind all that was known and fashionable, something that suited me, personally.” (Email message dated February 8, 2002)

Nina Zivancevic lived and travelled in the USA. That experience is reflected in her poetry. This is how she describes leaving the country:

“Accepting an invitation of an American University in 1981, I set off for the United States of America as a fellowship holder of their government. My intention was to do a doctoral thesis entitled ‘The Influence of Mayakovsky and Russian Futurists on American contemporary poetry as represented in the poetics of the New York School of Poetry’. In the spring of that troubled 1981, Marjorie Perloff gave me the green light for it saying: ‘You are on the right track, kid’. However, before this formal invitation ensued, I decided to take advantage of another, entirely unofficial and friendly invitation by Allen Ginsberg, who asked me to be his assistant that summer on The Naropa Institute. Naropa was then an experimental school of poetics where some of the most interesting poets and artists of the century could be heard and seen in poetic action-performances. It was a kind of small scale Bauhaus or Black Mountain College. I was 24 years old when I arrived and I was very confused with all that I was able to witness there in the sense of poetic practice although I considered myself a young poet, having left a collection of poems in Belgrade that was to be published that same year by Nolit and entitled ‘Poems’”. (Email message dated December 31, 2001)

The work of these women poets was not given its due appraisal by critics during the 1980s, while it was completely neglected during the 1990s. Women poets are usually ignored because they do not possess the political power that will enable them to be arbiters in culture. They do not have any cultural capital nor do they shape cultural policy. They are seldom part of editorial staff in magazines and publishing houses, and if they are, their influence proves to be marginal. Women poets rarely and only occasionally write literary criticism. They are not members of juries deciding on literary awards. They are not professors at University and most frequently earn their living by doing other jobs unless they are maintained by their husbands or family. For this reason, they did not have the need to adapt their work to the dominant literary taste. When the poetic paradigm changes, the work that does not fit in it or the women authors who do not fit in the mainstream poetry, simply disappear. From the perspective of the 1990s, the majority of male poets managed to adapt to the new dominant political and aesthetic norm, adjusting their poetic discourse to the newly created demands of the canon. A lot of women poets did not act accordingly, which is why they were completely marginalized. Their creative status is in direct correlation with their institutional status.[10] 

I intend to juxtapose the 1980s, as the most pluralist decade on the Serbian poetic scene after the World War II, with the period of 1990s that is similar to the period immediately after the World War II when the Communist Party, in accordance with its ideology, introduced obligatory stylistic and ideological art known as socialist realism. The dominant tendency in the 1990s can be called national realism. [11] It takes various guises in line with Fredric Jameson’s statement that in the postmodernist age there cannot exist any new approaches but that artists and writers have to use the historic styles of previous epochs. [12] Jameson speaks of the society of spectacle as well as of late capitalism while in this case we deal with a different political and social context – the post socialist society. Male and female poets belonging to the 1990s mainstream draw poetic forms, poetic styles and archaic language from the inheritance of the local poetic tradition. In this way, all those elements become secondary markers involved in the general dialogue taking place in culture. 

In the 1990s, the reconstruction of civil society is in progress in the countries of the Eastern block. In Serbia, this process goes off in the circumstances marked by war, chaos, and totalitarianism. For this reason, the post socialist society in Serbia can be defined as the society with warrior ideology at its centre. Women were removed from the public scene and attributed the role of mothers who, by giving birth to warriors, renew and maintain biologically, and in every other way, the endangered nation. As a reaction to the new ideological discourses, feminist movement emerged and it was, in the current circumstances, connected with the NGO sector and anti-war activities.

For the generation of women poets born around 1960s, feminism and women’s studies are not unknown phenomena. They become members of women’s movement, create women’s groups, work on the creative ideology of femininity, attend courses in the Centre for Women’s Studies, and create women’s literature, consciously emphasizing their feminine strategies.

The mobility of the 1980s

The 1980s are marked by mobility. It was possible to move across different geographic regions and use various poetic strategies. Perhaps, Nina Zivancevic is the most interesting example in this respect as she lived fifteen odd years in the United States of America. She was connected with the poetic world of the “New American Poetry”, in other words, with the protagonists of poetic schools such as Beats, New York School, Black Mountain College, Deep Imagists, and later on with the poetic school of language writers. Her relationship towards reality is sifted through formal experience gained in contact with the above-mentioned schools, which have changed the image of American post war poetry. In order to understand her poetry, we have to take into account her direct encounter with the life in a megalopolis like New York as well as her existence out of her native culture. The poem “A Sketch for the Underground Railway” begins with the following lines:

The trains pass and we pass with them;
I fear I will not survive till tomorrow
Black pillars of western Manhattan and a man with
A sooty bagel built in the iron of the underground station
               … Trains…

(Collection Rising Bridges, 1985, p.31)

An incredible ability of living and surviving in two parallel cultural contexts constitutes a background for her nascent poetry. Nina Zivancevic moved ceaselessly between the USA and Belgrade. This experience is reflected in the fragmented style of her poems devoid of static images and scenes, throbbing with sensual impressions and characterized by indented form. The eighties are the late period of Western culture whose protagonists revolted during the fifties and sixties. The cultures of Western Europe and the USA opened towards the cultures of the East (India, China, Japan), towards the so-called primitive communities, putting the idea of a global village into practice and enabling artists and poets to draw their inspiration from the traditions of the whole world. Nina Zivancevic originates from the East European world, from the country where mobility, travels and longer stays in the West were allowed. Therefore, this movement from one tradition to another as well as the insistence on direct experience and authenticity were the hallmarks of her work in the eighties. Descriptions of large North American cities and the inclusion of cultural features belonging to different traditions into her poems became the characteristics of her own poetic attitude of a late twentieth-century nomad.  Nina Zivancevic is an East European woman who lives in the Western world but is closely connected to the country of her origin. She regularly comes back to Belgrade where she stays for a while and it is in Belgrade that she publishes her collections of poems. The critics were not willing to accept her poetry during the eighties because they had difficulty in approving of her themes and the variety of formal approaches she had taken from the Anglo-Saxon and European traditions of modernism and post modernism. In other words, her poetry was different from the canonic poetic corpus of that period.

Now I would like to draw your attention to Jelena Lengold who was the sole woman poet to develop, in an unambiguous and powerful way, specifically feminine strategies in the poetry of the eighties. For that reason her poetry did not fit into the canons set by the most influential critics of that period. In Jelena Lengold’s poetry, the lyrical subject is mobile as well. The space in her poems reflects her geographical movements through different towns of former Yugoslavia, pointing to a broader context, which has to be taken into consideration when we write about the period before 1991 in Serbian poetry. It is due to a simple fact that poets from different parts of the existing Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia read each other’s works, critics reviewed their books, and magazines published works by poets from the entire territory of this country. Jelena Lengold also maps towns in the Eastern and Western Europe that she visited. The world in her poems is also open and full of possibilities. The language is free of ‘dark’ contexts of living implied in the concept of ‘blood and territory’, which is to become dominant in the nineties. Jelena Lengold deals with women’s condition, calling attention to an active and productive women’s principle that she connects to floral ornaments, the abundance of nature, and which on the language level leads to a richness in adornment. The second poem from the “Gifts” cycle begins with the following lines:

I offer him as a gift the word VELVET
Which is a warm sphere in my entrails
Which is the only place where I would like to die
Which has bled from me since I knew words
Which writes itself by my fingertips …
                        (Collection, Spindle, Belgrade, Nolit, 1984, p.36)

As her stylistic expression developed, the woman’s principle became incarnated in mythical figures from the European heritage. As a woman poet Snezana Minic told me once, at that time the poets were interested in the language itself, in the European and world traditions. Political situation, which did not require of artists to achieve pragmatic political aims, was obvious in the structuring of their poetry in the 1980s.

In her poetic work Ivana Milankova also moves through different cultures but she puts emphasis, especially after publishing her second book, on supernatural places. This interest links her, perhaps unintentionally, or owing to later interpretation, to the poetry of the 1990s and the women poets of the following generation. When speaking about her poetry, Ivana Milankova points out the importance of the concept of androgyny:

“… No one in this community has ever asked me to be a woman in poetry. I am aware of the fact that a woman’s sensibility has not been stressed in my work and it is perhaps in protest that there are no women’s themes in my poems. However, I know that it is the poetry of my gender, of my being and it’s flowing out of me. My poetry is feminine; it is the poetry of my being and of the other half; because I have a theory of this perfect androgynous being who existed in the beginning, so I am all that and I would never separate the two.” [13]

In difference to the archetypal position of the woman expressed in the poems of Jelena Lengold, and moving away from their sexuality that appear as opulent, “natural” and symbolically identified with nature, Ivana Milankova creates cold supernatural expanses dominated by the symbolic of crystals. Ivana Milankova situates her poetry between the East and the West, travelling herself across the USA and England and later across the Soviet Union. She constructs her poetry under the influence of the Anglo-American and Russian modernisms, choosing from these traditions mystic and spiritual elements. She does not re-create the practices of these movements as retrogarde; on the contrary, she transmits their poetic ideology with the ideology that links itself to radical poetic practices where language is an element of magic and ritual. Her lines are repetitive and activate the idea of symbolism concerning the magical influence of language, but even more so the ideas of the early Anglo-American postmodernism about the magical influence of language in primordial acts as well as in the ritual practice of so-called primitive communities. The poem entitled “Balcony, seen out of an Angel” begins with the following words:

I am horrified by the theory
       Of the roundness of the earth
I am horrified by the theory 
       Of the depths of the sea
I am horrified by the theory
       Of the weight of God
I am horrified by the disintegration
       Of habits all over my soul, the shape of its towns
       As it flows through words and aqueducts.
                       (Collection The Lowering of Glass, Belgrade, Nolit, p. 43)

One poem by Ivana Milankova is entitled “New Sensuality”. I would apply this term to all three women poets. From the perspective of a socialist and relatively poor society, they use sophisticated language to describe the abundance of perception, whether by depicting other, exotic, landscapes of late capitalism whether by portraying femininity in its copious, sensual or intellectual aspects. The works of these three women poets, as well as the works by several of their contemporaries, show that in the late socialism in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia there is no unanimously defined position of a “woman poet”. A woman poet becomes active and explores the aspects of femininity; she is a nomad who travels the world but also the nomad who examines the poetic world and its possibilities. The poetry these women authors write is in some way eclectic. It compresses several stylistic patterns. They are, as authors, greatly influenced by modernist poetics. It means that they are concentrated on the language, on the fact that narration in their poems is minimal; they do not tell stories nor do they express in explicit narratives the destinies of lyrical heroes or heroines. Where is their home? Home is not the same as “hearth”. These three women poets, as many others, but also, I must emphasize, the male poets of that time, cannot settle down in one place, cannot anchor their poetic destiny to “the local”, that is to say, to their own culture narrowly understood. This attitude links them to the radical Serbian modernists and the avant-garde from the beginning of the 20th century who were nomads too. These women poets roam between the East and West, confirming the former political myth about the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a country standing between the political East and political West, looking for the Third Way, the way of non-aligned countries. Women poets enter a dialogue with the archetypal pictures of the European culture, transgressing local myths.

When the utopia about an ideal socialist country, about socialism with a human face tragically imploded in the intervening wars, what happened with our women poets? At the beginning of the 1990s, Nina Zivancevic moves to Europe to settle down in Paris. Although she continues to write and publish poetry, the impression we get is that she increasingly turns to prose; on the other hand she points out in various conversations that she does not accept genre boundaries. Ivana Milankova still writes poetry that, in the mid-nineties, acquires conspicuously mystic aspects. I see it as her reaction to given political conditions in which she lives. Ivana Milankova’s poetic prose created in mid-nineties is characterized by the tragic death of her mother. Jelena Lengold stops writing poetry and turns to prose, which is significantly different from her poetry. I interpret this change as her reaction to the marginal position of a woman poet she occupied in the 1980s when she wrote explicitly women’s poetry. 

“A Muse in the ghetto”

In Serbia, in the 1990s, ideology permeates life in all its aspects. “Patriotism” is the word most commonly heard and used; wars begin followed by forced mobilizations, waves of refugees, always new wars and always new waves of refugees, poverty, isolation and embargoes. This is the time when women poets born at the beginning of the 1960s reach their mature phase. I will choose two of them, both from Vojvodina, the northern province of Serbia. Jasna Manjulov (born in 1961, in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina but living in Novi Sad) was at her beginnings, as well as later, connected with the protagonists of the radical Novi Sad scene of the 1970s, and Jelena Marinkov (born in 1963, in Vrsac where she still lives). In difference to the women poets I have already talked about, these two have not written much. Jasna Manjulov’s work is marked by long intervals when she does not publish while Jelena Marinkov works very slowly on her poems. Both of them have published two collections of poems each. During the 1990s, Jasna Manjulov sang in the first female post-punk new wave group “Boye” while Jelena Marinkov was in the mid-eighties among the co-founders of a women’s art group called “Luna”. Their living and creative positions in the 1990s are characterized by immobility: by the impossibility to move beyond their own culture, and most often literally beyond the towns they inhabit. Dissatisfaction, and more precisely the contamination of their working and living environment demanded radical reactions to the current situation. I will counterpoint their poetry as two opposite reactions to the existing ideological challenges. Both of them write feminine poetry. This term implies that their style is imbued with a certain sentiment that can be read as female. They speak of women’s experience and it is a feminine lyrical voice that utters the poem. Jasna Manjulov became a mother at the beginning of the 1990s. Her poetry focused on the experience of motherhood and on the daily life of this new situation. To the chaos beyond her narrow family surroundings, she opposes the atmosphere of her own family: a private space, which is always marked as female. This private space is far away from ideological conflicts, from public male space. In her early poems, Jasna Manjulov formed a rebellious poetic expression of “wild femininity” where the presence of music and garish colours were evident as well as a turbulent language. In the 1990s we hear a calm poetic voice, depicting her relationship with her son and husband, close to poetic realism. In spite of the themes she deals with, her poetry does not have confessional character. 

Jelena Marinkov, whose political commitment was linked to the opposition milieu of Vrsac, was an editor in an opposition paper Kosava – the magazine for new Serbia. She feels the need to include her experience and the expression of her political attitude into her poetry. This is how she described the 1990s and the conditions in which she wrote her poetry:

“Whenever I start writing, I feel it is, considering the circumstances I live in, an authentic and often the only freedom I have, producing therapeutical effect and worthy aesthetic results. It is, in the beginning, an ode to the fresh feeling of everlasting omnipotence that increasingly narrows until it acquires clear and defined, more or less successful form of a poetic image or thought. As the perspectives of what is usually called normal life have lately become increasingly smaller, the general situation gets more stressful and depressing while the pressure arriving from all sides makes me search for comfort in the innovation of form, and thereby oppose the unavoidable outward content to the vitality of the expression and the voice itself.” [14]

Comparing her poetry to the one written by her peers, Jasna Manjulov claims that she dealt with, and I paraphrase, “small, unimportant topics”; we can also add “feminine” topics. Among other poets of her generation, during the 1990s, Jasna Manjulov was the one who most significantly put women’s experience in the midst of her poetic interest. The rituals of everyday life give meaning to the absolute meaninglessness of the outer world, which surrounds her:

I eat plums
Plums are the law
P–l –u-m-s
F. and I

We thought M. would come up here
When it did not happen
Disappointment flew over our faces
When all you wanted was
To write poetry – says F.
Write it then

Dressed up as Sappho
I sit and I write
(ProFemina, no.17-20, Belgrade, 2000; p. 25)

Jasna Manjulov turns to her home and family but “home” is not “hearth” nor is the woman the mother who performs her sacred duty, strictly defined in the speeches of national leaders as the sacred role of mother who takes care of the health, purity and survival of the nation. Such ideological discourse that we can find in the poetry of women poets of different generations in the 1990s connects the woman with female characters from the national history or religion (the notion of religion usually equals the notion of nation). There is not a shade of that kind of ballast in Jasna Manjulov’s poetry. The experience of motherhood is an individual experience. In this essentially urban poetry, motherhood is the question of free will, which has nothing to do with great national ideas although the result of that decision limits the freedom of a woman.

The poetry of Jelena Marinkov is primarily ideological. She uses the techniques of science fiction and new media, applying them metaphorically and describing allegorically the reality marked by chaos, hatred, wars, isolation, poverty, and ideological indoctrination. Taking over the language that popular Western culture used in order to simulate catastrophe and putting it somewhere into the imaginary future, Jelena Marinkov adapts that language to the “real” catastrophe she experiences in the post communist Serbia in the late 1990s:

In the field an unending film went on
About nations, plants and animals, a large discotheque
Where the motif of intrigue is pumped in –
The evocation of Courts, eunuchs, drugged queens:
Dreams – spread all around us. 
(Collection Wolves and Trains, KOV, Vrsac, 1999)

During the 1980s women poets travel and make contacts, introducing into their poetry the dominant innovative poetic strategies present on the global poetic scene. In that way, they participate in the dominant languages of poetry. In the eighties, the discourse of ideology becomes dominant. Women poets now turn to privacy and show interest in the policy of privacy. Their privacy becomes a public discourse.


Written in 2002 for the project of Belgrade Center for Women's Studies "Conspiracy of Non-Reading"
Translated into English by Dragana Starcevic 


[ 1] Susan Stanford Friedman, “Beyond Gender: The New Geography of Identity and the Future of Feminist Criticism”, p. 27, in Susan Stanford Friedman, Mappings / Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 1998.
[ 2] Rachel Blau DuPlessis, “Seismic Orgasm: Sexual Intercourse and Narrative Meaning in Mina Loy”, p. 47, in Mina Loy: Woman and Poet, edited by Maeera Schreiber & Keith Tuma, The National Poetry Foundation, Orono, Maine, 1998.
[ 3] This text elaborates some ideas I expressed in the text “Poetry, politics, spectacle and gender”, in Severni bunker, 9, December 2001, pp. 19-25.
[ 4] Charles Bernstein, “Preface”, in The Politics of Poetic Form – Poetry and Public Policy, edited by Charles Bernstein, Roof Books, New York, 1990.
[ 5] Linda Hutcheon, “Representation and its Politics”, p. 3, in Linda Hutcheon, The Politics of Postmodernism, Routledge, London and New York, 1991.
[ 6] The introductory text by Dejan Sretenovic in the publication Art in Yugoslavia 1992 – 1995, entitled “Art in Closed Society”, Centar za savremenu umetnost, Beograd, 1996.
[ 7] Mihail Epstajn, Postmodernizam, translated from Russian by Radmila Mecanin, Zepter Book World, Beograd, 1998.
[ 8] Rachel Blau DuPlessis explains that in the Western tradition the poet’s voice is always marked by gender, and it is always a male voice: “So all in all, even with exceptions, the institution of gendered poetry and the male-gendered poetic voice are imbedded in the history of poetry”, “Otherhow”, p. 141, in Rachel Blau DuPlessis, The Pink Guitar – Writing as Feminist Practice, Routlege, New York, London, 1999. She speaks, first of all, about the modernist heritage. In the context of Serbian culture and the Balkan states, it is possible to speak about the oral tradition that was still strongly felt during the nineteenth century. Feminist women theoreticians single out the divide established by Vuk Karadzic who classified poems into two categories: epics or male poems (sung by men) and lyrics or female poems (sung by women). Cf. Svetlana Slapsak: “At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Vuk Karadzic classified oral works into ‘male poems’, the epics, and ‘female poems’, practically all other genres of oral literature. This merely reflected the patriarchal culture of the genres, but it gave feminist criticism an exceptional opportunity, which unfortunately went almost unused” (Svetlana Slapsak, “Women Who Steal Language”, in ProFemina, 1997, special issue in English, p. 14); and Biljana Dojcinovic Nesic: “Perhaps, because of dating very far into the past, to the oral tradition which is, in the case of Serbian literature to such a great extent an expression of powerful gender division, that it has been for almost two centuries labeled as ‘male’ and ‘female’. It was Vuk Karadzic who introduced this categorization at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The other name for epic and lyrical folk poetry is ‘heroic’ and ‘female’… (Biljana Dojcinovic Nesic, “My Name is Impossibility: deliberations on different literary history”, in ProFemina, 21/22, Belgrade, 2000, p. 206. 
[ 9] Cf. Razgovori s literaturom, by Slovenian theoretician Denis Poniz, translated by Branko Cegec, Izdavacki centar Rijeka, 1988. Mihajlo Pantic writes about the “depathetization, of joining verses in the manner of free associations, of abolishing boundaries separating higher and lower poetics, of the aesthetization of de-aesthetization, of further fragmentation of the poetic phrase, sense and rhythm (…), of emphatic metatextuality (the poem’s awareness of itself, thematization of poetry), of narratives close to acquiring prosaic factuality, of cognitive dominance over emotional elements of poetic expression, of poetic melody (sound and sign), of language devoid of rhythm, of language fragmentation (formation of new words and disappearance of the old ones) …”, Mihajlo Pantic, “Fragmenti o mladjoj srpskoj poeziji (umesto predgovora)”, in Mihajlo Pantic, Vasa Pavkovic, Sum Vavilona – kritcko-poetska hrestomatija mladje srpske poezije, Knjizevna zajednica Novog Sada, 1988, p. 6.
[10] I quote Rosemary Huisman who quotes Pierre Bourdieu: “The field of cultural production is the site of struggle in which what is at stake is the power to impose dominant definition of the writer and therefore to delimit the population of those entitled to take part in the struggle to define the writer … the fundamental stake in literary struggles is the monopoly of literary legitimacy … the monopoly of the power to say with authority who are authorized to call themselves writers” (“The Seen Poem and Its Semiosis”, in R. Huisman, The Written Poem – Semiotic Conventions from Old to Modern English, Cassell, London and New York, 1998, p. 37). Interpreting the position of H. D. Modernist poet in the text “Pornopoiea, the Modernist Canon, and the Cultural Capital of Sexual Literacy: The Case of H. D” (in Gendered Modernism – American Women Poets and their Readers, edited by Margaret Dickie & Thomas Travisano, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1996), Diane Chishlom writes: “Bourdieu explains that, while the literary field is a separate social field, it does not occupy a social vacuum; it is located in a larger field of power of economic and political relations, which in turn occupies the field of class relations” (p. 82). Nenad Milosevic mentioned the problem of women’s poetry and the institutional power in the 1990s in his text “Large is the world of ovations, small is the world of innocence”, ProFemina, 7, Beograd, 1996. He says: “What at first glance may appear as a handicap, the non-participation in the institutional and extra-institutional distribution of roles (of power) in Serbian literature of the 1990s, turned out to be an advantage and a stroke of luck not only for the poetry written by younger Serbian women poets but for Serbian poetry itself”, p. 94.
[11] In the text “Ideas of the 1990s: work, theory, and art” (Projektart, 11/15, Novi Sad, March, 2001), Misko Suvakovic writes: “Antimodernist phenomena develop, ranging from traditionalism through nationalism and retrogarde to neoconservativism. Return to the values of civil society, romantic historical myths and moderate religious practice can be marked as traditionalism. Nationalism is a militant restoration of ideologically profiled right-wing and nationalist, in religious sense “fundamentalist”, art mediated by ideals of mimetic figural sight and spectacle …” (p. 289).
[12] Dubravka Djuric, “Razgovor sa Ivanom Milankovom”, ProFemina, 23/24, Beograd, 2000, p. 93.
[13] Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, Durham: Duke University Press, 1991.
[14] Jelena Marinkov, “Moja poezija kao zenska, romanticna, tehno-vizija subjekta koji iscezava”, ProFemina, 21/22, 2000, p. 257.

Ženska književnost u Srbiji - Zavera nečitanja: mesto, sudbina i značaj  ženskog književnog stvaralaštva u srpskoj kulturnoj baštini (2001-2004)
Projekat je proizišao iz predavačkog programa Centra, uz cilj da reafirmiše žensku književnost sa istorijskog aspekta, da stvori teorijski okvir za ponovno čitanje i razumevanje ženskog pisma, kao i da ustanovi tradiciju ženskog spisateljstva u Srbiji.

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