Anne Daly studied English in University College Dublin and subsequently studied for a Masters in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama. She lives and teaches in Drogheda, Co. Louth. She writes poetry and is currently working on her first collection.
On Stockholm Syndrome by Igor Klikovac
Stockholm Syndrome, a collection of poems by Bosnian poet Igor Klikovac, is a beautiful mixture of starkness and depth, adroitly capturing the bleakness of war and the dispossession of leaving a homeland to escape it. Translated from Bosnian into English by Klikovac and fellow poet John McAuliffe, the poems are elegantly measured and assured, ranging from the concise and rapier sharp ‘Then and Now’ and ‘Dog-Sitting’, to the prose-poetry of ‘The River’. The influence of language permeates this collection, the language of pain and the language of nature are recurring themes along with glimpses of how language binds us, separates us, its power and its servility. Flickers of gallows humour are used effectively, particularly in ‘Rats’ Decision’ and ‘Jovo’ and there is a cinematic quality and strong emphasis on the visual throughout.
Death and the splintering of normality amidst the chaos of violence spills across the borders of these poems where shadowy presences drift in and out of frozen, industrial urban landscapes.The title poem ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ captures the liminality of displacement, of arriving but never fully leaving, of blending in but always being other. It evokes the disharmony of having physically left somewhere but being unable to surrender to new surroundings, the captivity of being unable to move forward while constantly being pulled back into the past through memory, experience and the ties of family and friends.
This slim volume takes the reader on an elegiac journey that begins with departure and ends with a sense of return. The closing poems elucidate the confusion and the sense of loss that accompany the regeneration that follows a ceasefire. The final poem, ‘Sarajevo’, describes a stand off between the poet and his city, speaking as both lovers and armed combatants, they circle each other through images of dereliction and rebirth. The collection ends on an ellipsis, an open-ended closure that stretches out, leaving the reader teetering between one world and another, an apt finale for such a thought-provoking work.
(Smith/Doorstop Books, 2018)
© 2018 Anne Daly