The importance of writing and owning books is highlighted in this poem by Ilija Jovanović, which Melitta Depner has translated into English, Romanian and Italian.
The first-person narrator is a reader and poet. His most valuable possessions are his own literary texts and the publications of other authors, all of which have disappeared under old clothes and junk to make room for a new piece of furniture. Another member of the household does not consider writing to be a meaningful activity; the appreciation of and attentiveness towards literary texts are lacking.
The names of the writers mentioned, who are highly esteemed by the narrator, are representative of their works: Celan, Bachmann, Eliot, Rilke, Pushkin, Mariella Mehr and Jovan Nikolić. In the German, English, Italian and Romani versions of the poem, only the last two are given their full name, namely the Yenish writer Mariella Mehr and the Romani writer Jovan Nikolić.
Among other things, the ‘I’ in this poem invites those who find no appreciation in their community for their reading and writing and feel like strangers to identify with those who know the feeling of not belonging and a sense of hybridity. The state of being in between is painful. It hurts. In his poetry, Ilija Jovanović succeeds in summing up a hybrid sense of existence in words and metaphors.