It seems that precisely today, in the atmosphere of almost complete saturation by the practice of ever changing poetic trends, Serbian poetry is returning to its basics. This picture of a slow rebound, a long awaited reorientation on the Serbian poetic scene, is already happening, by all accounts, and is being sensed in the actual literary production.
Reading the book Circling triggers the associations of this kind of a wave, which is not underground anymore, but has transformed itself into an actual poetic phenomenon. Dejan Stojanović, obviously, is not influenced by any contemporary poetic school or fashionable poetic trend, and is not trapped by some sensibility as a “follower.” Stojanović, as a reflective poet of mature thought and discourse, revives the atmosphere of the ancient (antic) times even in the first layers of his poems. It is easy to notice what specifically marks Stojanović in Serbian contemporary poetry: In weaving his poems and building his lines, a poet has returned to the antic form of utterance, to the difficult and slow movement of the poetic matter, to the dignified and solemn tone, and that kind of wisdom which was nourished in ancient times.
Far from experiments, from challenges of hazards and poetic adventures, Stojanović’s poems exude the dignity of ancient forms. Similar to the techniques of painters, Stojanović condenses his utterances into short, harmonious poems, most often colored with Mediterranean colors, surprisingly successfully. His poems, almost by a rule, are condensed forms made of short utterances. In the second part of the book, poetic palette becomes darker with an introduction of fantastic and hallucinogenic elements and even apocalyptic tones. Nevertheless, the principle of condensation and consistency of form is never questioned. Apocalyptic scenes and images of evil are expressed in huge blocks that give the impression of a work of an architect or a sculptor. Such are the poems “Vision,” The Chess Board,” “Arrival of Darkness,” and “River of Death,” which all appear as compositions. There is a feeling that Stojanović wrote his poems along with visual compositions; to that extent, visual-imaginative effects are impressive.
Specific, surprisingly original, outside the collectively nurtured sensibilities and fashionable trends, Stojanović is an extraordinary example of creative individualism in a generation that nourished such individualism the least. For that reason, the book Circling is not only an example of an extraordinary poetic achievement, which represents a strong encouragement to the important branch of Serbian poetry, but is also an announcement of a moral and spiritual project – a project that belongs to the tradition of Serbian poetry and thought in the best sense of the word.
Afterward to the first Serbian edition (1993)
Dejan Stojanovic’s poems are astute and spiritual tangents of a circle that comprises the phenomena hidden beyond the direct naming of the world and things in poetic transposition. With his poems, he seeks the borderlines between the content and its metaphysical expression, pure thought about the world and its essence. Passion and complete and easy flowing devotion to poetry and to the power of words, poetically and semantically, above all, shape his original poetic output.
-Petar V. Arbutina