WHEN THE FIREFLY IS GONE is a book, significantly and distinctively diverging from the contest of domestic and even regional - Balkan, literary publications by being written in three languages: in Serbian, English and Arabic. WHO IS THE POET, DE FACTO? Saša Milivojev, acts from the shadow, from some kind of poet’s sanctum and a kind of bunker. He is, on some part, boyishly incorrupt and supremely regally aestheticized. On the other side of this reflexive quill, he is livid, valiant, trenchant and semantically extreme. At times it may seem that his poetry bleeds into a kiss, at times it bites vividly sinking its teeth.

Genre: Poetry

DALIBORKA STOJŠIĆ "SAŠA MILIVOJEV - THE SON OF THE SOUL" (Daliborka Stojšić is a famous Serbian artist and ex-Miss of the former Yugoslavia) WHEN THE FIREFLY IS GONE - reviewed by Daliborka Stojšić When I first saw a photograph of Saša Milivojev in a newspaper, my lips spontaneously whispered: Tadzio! It was a reaction to his angelic beauty of the kind that once mesmerised me when I read "Death in Venice" as part of the preparation of a paper entitled The Novellas of Thomas Mann at the World Literature Department of the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade. The Hellenic, Apollonian beauty of the young Pole that I recognised on his face, is often unaware of itself. It belongs to the kind so agonisingly loved by Thomas Mann, to those blue-eyed and simple creatures that need no spirit. It also conforms to Schiller’s principle of the naïve, as opposed to the sentimental, which separates itself from life, contemplates, writes poems and falls while dancing. As I continue, I turn to Tonio Kroger, the novella in which Thomas Mann describes his poetics - i.e. his relationship with art - most picturesquely. The Tadzio of Saša Milivojev melts into the character of Hans Hansen, another of those blue-eyed boys that enjoy every moment, deeply emerged in life, favoured, fitting into the whole. Then I read the interview, a couple of columns and a few poems by this young man - still more of a boy than a man - and I realised that I had finally found an answer that remained lingering above my study paper: What would have happened if Hans Hansen had humoured Tonio Kroger and read Don Carlos? Now I know – he would have become Saša Milivojev. This beautiful, young, talented poet is actually a reincarnation of Kroger’s biggest desire. He is a Hans Hansen who has read Don Carlos. Well-educated, ambitious, diligent, brimming with ideas, courageous and eloquent in his columns, vulnerable and frighteningly lonesome in his labyrinth, from which a small firefly, the carrier of divine light, will rescue him like Ariadne's thread. When the firefly is gone and darkness settles in, the embers will remain on the poet’s hands like stardust or heavenly fire, empowering those hands to heal the wounds of this world by writing poetry and transmitting the healing energy into those who read it. In this “Giant Boy”, as the famous sculptor and poet Boris Staparac named Saša, The Naïve and the Sentimental have merged perfectly, as perfectly as yin and yang, water and fire, light and darkness. Behind this angelic blue-eyed Tadzio hides an uncompromising, brave and articulate columnist and writer of the novel about the Yellow House: “I fall with the rain, courage is urging me to say to the people, NO” - and also a gentle, vulnerable poet who, free from the desire for commercial success, carries his firefly (an embodiment of his guiding star) and seeks from all the gods the answer of all answers: What is the meaning of our existence? "Like haiku verses, the small, icy crystals of his poetry are condensed and reduced to the smallest number of words necessary to express the essence; slowly melting and dying in the heat of his dream of the desert, they lead us to endlessness, to the wandering stars, to the Fake Tears of the Moon, to questioning all the gods that preach about Love, gods who should finally become one, the all-seeing eye of the Universal Mind. Saša Milivojev has evolved into one of the most inventive poets in the world! Besides impressionist moments, such as the firefly leaving and parting the Light from Dark, his new book speaks of the emergence of the fifth ice age. His lyrical subject travels through time, living all the disasters of the Planet Earth, from volcanic eruptions: Who protects you / From the burning rain / Now that you are gone, and the Sun melting away, to continental plates moving, deluges, global warming, poles melting, to Waves crashing and Towns sinking; Black mountains are crumbling / The locusts hiss all round / Gnawed bones / Float soaked”, and so on until the ultimate apocalypse and ice age. The collection entitled When the Firefly is Gone assumes prophetic proportions when pictures of drowning continents assail the reader’s mind. Africa is the last to sink, the water level rising over the tips of the pyramids, after which An endless plate of ice will be created; a camel will carry the lyrical subject as the victor, not unlike the epic heroes of old Arabic literature, but this time the camel Stumbles over the tips of the pyramids … Finally, I would like to address Saša personally and give him my motherly support, as he is an encouraging young face of future Serbia, despite all the cowards, all the indifferent mediocrities, and all Soros’s payees: I whish you all the best, my beautiful boy! You have a heavy burden to bear on your shoulders. I see that some have already started accusing you of manipulation and ambition, saying that, by choosing the topic for this book, you want to achieve instant success regardless of the risks the topic may bear. Hang in there, fight and move forward. Many will hate you for your beauty, but I can see the sign on your forehead, the one written in invisible ink. Work hard and your dream will come true. I bow before the hardships and suffering you will have to endure; I bow like Zosima the elder bowed before Mitya Karamazov. I am with you, my little Tadzio! THE SON OF THE SOUL In the wake of creation While I trod barefoot Over the seething stars My soul begot you My son. It lost you and sought you Writing your name in milk In the sand. Screaming like Lilith for her baby Speaking of you to God Amidst the desert. Through the mazes of cosmos And the shrieks of dying suns I descended into time To bring you back. Following the beat of computer bytes Under a sea of websites I found you. On a young body The mark on the forehead Revealed you. I will stay with you And accept mortality So I can follow you. Those who love I will protect Those who hate I will crush Those who touch you I will kill My son. Just whisper my name. RADA SARATLIĆ (Journalist): I had a chance to meet Saša Milivojev, a young poet, and to read his first book while it was still in the manuscript. He wanted to hear my opinion about his work, and I told him the following: "No, I am not a judge, God forbid, God forbid." I felt that there was something sincere in his poetry and asked him: "Saša, what would you like to be in life, but tell me honestly?" - We were at my place... He told me: "I want to be a poet." Oh, Mother of Crhist! I sat with my head buried in my hands... Hey! In Serbia!? To be a poet in yesterdays and todays? I carefully listened to him reading... We cannot do anything else but support him. That would cost us nothing. We are all familiar with Miljković and his quote: "Killed by Too Powerful a Word". - He ended his life in a toilet in Zagreb, running away from Belgrade. I guess that we have had enough of killing poets in Serbia at the very beginning of their career. There is something in it; we have felt something. Let us never remove from the scene the poets, actors, artists, shoemakers, or anyone who has a heart and soul. Let all of them stay on their stage.
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Saša Milivojev

Saša Milivojev is a famous writer, poet, journalist columnist and political analyst... One of the most read columnists in Serbia, he is the author of five books, and numerous columns published in various daily newspapers. He is the author of the novel “The Boy from the Yellow House” and of political speeches. His work has been translated into around twenty languages across the world. more…

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