NEKI NOVI HRAMOVI (SOME NEW TEMPLES)
translated into Croatian by Ivana Bošnjak
Split, Croatia: Naklada Bošković, 2020
All the way from modernists, like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway to postmodernists John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur or, more recently, Ben Lerner, American writers and poets have been happy to visit Europe and find not only artistic inspiration, but also a stronghold of life. But any expatriation for the artist also represents an inevitable step out of the personal comfort zone, both in a creative and in an existential sense. Also, confronting the Other, as psycho-analysis warns us, is a great challenge, primarily because in a foreign eye we see ourselves the best. The American poet James Meetze, a kind of "Californian Dalmatian", continues the glorious tradition of his compatriots, throwing, like a true digital nomad of the 21st century, his poetic anchor right here in our neighborhood, only to gradually wipe and iron the "Adriatic mirror" with meticulous lyrical strokes, reminding us that the atmosphere of the ancient Mediterranean and ancient world is still our pedestal, and an imaginary space suitable for deep subjective interrogations. The poet's magical "camera obscura" is by no means obscure, but on the contrary, as if it was created from the eternal Adriatic sun, which with its ontological play of light and shadow illuminates the primordial and essential, which too often escapes us due to excessive preoccupation with everyday banalities. The sharpness of the poet's view is supported by a clear and carefully honed poetic expression whose exceptional linguistic experience is here, thanks to the inspired but precise translation by Ivana Bošnjak, completely transferred to the Croatian language. So feel free to pick up this book of poetry and sit somewhere on the terrace with the sunglasses as a must, otherwise, because of the amount of light that permeates this refined and integral poetic manuscript, you could experience a slight "biophotonic" shock.
—DAMIR ŠODAN, author of The Enemy Within