This week we’re kicking off fall semester with a poem from our brand new issue (Summer: 35.2). Andrea O’Rourke is from Rijeka, Croatia. During the day she attends the MFA program at Georgia State University in Atlanta. At nights she’s been seen in black latex gloves tackling massive canvases with spatulas and acrylics. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Anderbo and PANK, among other publications.
It’s a fascinating place, the Balkans— the failed ideologies still linger in the background of the dramatically beautiful Adriatic coast and the heated temperaments of people. This batch of poems reflects the life of that region, mostly Croatia, and spans from World War II (“Would It Surprise You I Don’t Like Mornings”) through the break up of Yugoslavia, particularly the wars in Croatia (“In the Absence of Grass”) and Bosnia (“Sarajevo Cycle”). More importantly, they are about growing up at that time when the shared Yugoslavian experience was collapsing. That was a peculiar generational experience, like waking up hungover to a ransacked reality—what anyway used to be a dubious-looking future, turned into nationalism, warfare and bloodshed. This is my Southern European self speaking here, and while the narratives are based on complex historical and political events, these are primarily individual stories. A lot happens in these poems, but it could be boiled down to love and war in the most general way: wars on domestic as well as national fronts, lives in shadows, and occasionally love—unexpected as a … Jester Among the Rubble, which is the working title for what is to become a full manuscript.
Would It Surprise You I Don’t Like Mornings?