Dragana Mladenović was born in Frankenberg, Saxony, in 1977. She grew up in Serbia, and studied Serbian and Comparative Literature. She is a working as a writer and a journalist.
Mladenović is one of the most important Serbian poets of her generation. She has published six prize-winning anthologies since 2003, which also deal with political scenarios and the failure of utopias: »Nema u tome nimalo poezije« (2003; tr.: There is no poetry in it), »Raspad sistema« (2005; tr.: Systemic decay), »Tvornica« (2006; tr.: Factory), »Asocijalni program« (2007; tr.: The antisocial programme), »Omot spisa« (2008; tr.: Cover). Her recent collection of poems is the first to have been translated into German (by Jelena Dabić): »Rodbina« (2010; tr.: Kinship) describes in a lyrical way the fictional destiny of a Bosnian and a Serbian family, who both suffer from the impact of the war crimes. Dragana Mladenović writes her poetry in lower case letters only. The special feature of her works is the particular narrative character. Her poems are full of images, and very focused on language. She reflects history in the experiences of the individuals she writes about, yet, she includes many different perspectives. Her language is distant and sensitive at the same time; sober in its description of the horrible deeds committed, and emphatic with respect to even the most minimal human sentiment. In her poems, the past and the present, everyday life and war coincide, as the following passage in its laconic intonation perfectly shows: »opa stanko yesterday / dug out a bone / from the door he called / an old one / folks / the old one / it / this was nothing / sufficiently happy / sufficiently funny / or sufficiently sad so that one / could cry / it was the sixth / old one that / opa stanko / dug out this month.« » Rodbina« consists of three parts, the contents of which overlap. However, they differ in their form. The striking feature in Mladenović’s poetry cycles is the unusual scenic form, in which few figures and concise verses map society. Perpetrators, victims and witnesses – all are marked and hurt. Nevertheless, they often remain silent. This is, on the one hand, a repression of guilt, and, on the other hand, quiet suffering. Mladenović has recently followed-up on her art of the prose poem in a »novel written in verses«: »Magda« (2012) tells a story as seen from the inner perspective of a writer who is in a coma. Mladenović lives in Pančevo near Belgrade.
© internationales literaturfestival berlin