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Stevka Smitran
Bosnia y Herzegovina

Stevka Smitran / Bosnia

Stevka Smitran was born in Bosanska Gradiska a town in Bosnia-Erzegovina where she spent her childhood and this is considered the crucial event of her biography and poetry. She graduated in Belgrade and then she moved to Italy. Beside being a poet, she translates texts, writes essays and professor at the University of Teramo. She has published numerous essays on Slavic poetry (Serbian, Croatian, Russian, Macedonian); she has translated and introduced the works of Ivo Andric, Miodrag Pavlovic and other authors to the Italian public. She has won the Calliope Prize (1996) for the translation of the Antologia della poesia dell’ ex Yugoslavia (Anthology of the ex-Yugoslavian Poetry).

She has published the following collections of poems: in 2000 Slavica (1966-1999) in Serbo-Croatian; Le mie cose (Moje stvari) (My things), 2003, a bilingual collections in Italian-Serbo-Croatian; Italica e oltre (Italica and beyond) (2004), Dall’ impero (From empire) (2007) and Le ciglia d’ Oriente (Oriental Eyelashes) (2013) in Italian. She published a history book Uskoks. Pirates, rebels, warriors among the Ottoman, Habsburg Empires and the Republic of Venice.

Her poems can be found in many anthologies in Italy and in other countries.

She has instituted the International “NordSud” Prize in Literature and Science with Pescarabruzzo Foundation. In 2007 she received the recognition Great Women of the 21st Century American Biographical Institute, Raleigh, North Carolina.





This is a day with no news

because yesterday’s still holds  

when they called me a foreigner


and asked me what ethnic group

                                                 I belong to

I answered – to my ancestor’s –

the umpteenth waste of explanations

the icing sugar of the language of Dante.


In a day with no news

two cherry trees in my garden have bloomed,

scented barbarian gems

giving out

today’s news.





I return home after a year

on the wounded hall carpet of my footsteps

the tenacity of the darkness presses down


I walk carefully not to break


even though I know everything has now disappeared


the grieving front door only just opens,

nothing good to hope for

the glistening cobweb.


The staircase leads to no encounter,

the loneliness of paintings

no-one will look at any longer,

the clothes in the wardrobes –

a false pretence.


Everything is as still as in the photograph,


your bed – the hull of a ship

between the water and the air –

between life and death

this is where your firm voice begged me:

«Take everything you like

and what you don’t like

and take it away with you».


Only meagre thoughts fall

from the ceiling like icicles

and move from one room to another:

«Don’t let yourself be imprisoned by anything except what you say,

only the dreams you follow are real».


The plates here are washed with tears

the mirrors betray

the image of your absence,

the mirrors flatter me.


My voice calls you out of habit

and is lost in the thread of your embroidery.


On my eyelids the dew of the house

the only gift no one can give me.





If you want me

I will know how to love your gentle wisdom

I will know how to wrap you up in streaks of cirrus clouds

I will know how to astonish you in the banquet of appearances

I will know how to comfort you on the scented cushion


    you will sleep with raving metaphors

    you will sleep with lit fires


if you want me

you will see in a single moment what no-one ever saw

you will see the light intoxicating my pupils 

and offer you my silvery scent


if you want me

I will invite you to the dance of my dreams

I will invite you to walk barefoot on my wounds

you will see everything without remembering anything

and no-one will know where we have been hiding


let me know

If you want me,


let me know.


[a Paolo Di Stefano]

Amico, non importa se conosco
solo la tua voce
nell'attimo che ho scelto per chiamarti
ora nel ricordo ringrazio il tuo bel dire.

Amico, non importa che conosci
solo le mie fore
all'istante con me condivise
nel talamo del flavo universo.

Amico, i fioretti tuoi latini
son già nella memoria slava,
sappi amico,
quel che accade ci somiglia tanto.

Sconosciuti amo i vostri nomi

Siamo avvinti senza conoscerci
senza recitare lo stesso padrenostro
senza date né appuntamenti prefissati
è ora l'attimo esatto del nostro incontro

un'estate che sa di meringa
un'estate d'occidente di processione
nella terra dei fauni dove visse il divino Erode Attico.

La nostra terra sono le parole
attraverso le quali i nostri avi salutano l'avvenire
le nostre parole uscite dalle feritoie
le nostre parole ricavate dalle petraie

le nostre parole levigate dal pudore
per il sangue profumato
per il sangue putrefatto

nel nostro sangue si crogiola la lingua
chi è poeta ovunque sa andare.

Desconhecidos, amo os vossos nomes

Estamos unidos sem nos conhecermos
sem recitar o mesmo rosário
sem datas nem encontros marcados
é agora o instante preciso do nosso encontro

um verão com gosto de suspiro
um verão do Ocidente em procissão
na terra dos faunos onde viveu o divino Herodes.

A nossa terra são as palavras
com elas nossos ancestrais saúdam o futuro

as nossas palavras lançadas das seteiras
as nossas palavras extraídas da pedreira
as nossas palavras polidas pela vergonha
do sangue perfumado
do sangue putrefato

no nosso sangue se confunde a língua
quem é poeta onde quer que esteja sabe mover-se.


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