No. 2 - Year 11 - 06/2021
Literary Translation


DOI: 10.15291/sic/

when we were astronauts in training
we spun around at a breakneck speed
in a shining sphere in the dark
until our eyes ended up
on the other side of everything

when we were cosmonauts in training
we had to endure with a smile
the pin that pricked the left side of our chests
the pin that bore the badge of a hero
combusting in flames
somewhere far away

when we were astronauts in training
our lady friends
our future wives had to smile and
tap their fingers on a burnt down cigarette
their hands, red nails and
the soft arm of a child intertwined

when we were cosmonauts in training
we had to sing with others
eat with the chosen ones and dance as if
we’re already floating in a capsule
through the depths of dark

when we were astronauts in training
we were told we must believe
in ourselves and the future that was already there
that we had to go out there
that we were the best of all of those
who stood around us and now clapped
we climbed the cross alone
that’s how mad we’d gone

when we were cosmonauts in training
good old earth do not cry we said
good old earth do not be afraid
the days passed oh
stay put do not budge
this is between us and the future
between our capsule swirling
along the edge of what
can only mean
you’ll never see us again
when we were in training
we drove in the sun
by the lake where the fishermen cast their
shoulders into the sludge
and muddy waters
through the crowns in which the dry leaves
when we were in training
we were already dying of boredom and the prospect
of chasms in our lives
we found ourselves beside
a very old dog
it’s Rufus you said
it’s Laika
I tried to cheer you up

and then came a woman strapped with a bomb
stood between us and set herself off
the vacuum sucked up all the bloom
all the sudden future and our running had to stop

when we were astronauts in training
when we were cosmonauts in training
the training lacked something
only the ferns grew around us
as we sat back into the evening splattered
with mud
large concrete blocks crumbling down
and a cloud of dust and ashes rising into a very dark night

and then came a woman strapped with a bomb
with a fair face and a fixed gaze
she set herself off
and so it goes on for this whole afternoon
the night
the uncertain morning in a vacuum
Rufus has lost a leg
Laika is dead
we have to accept it
while on our faces
in the dust the bluish images flash
the flame and great clouds
of ashes rise up in the end
into that vast space
and finally finally

Note About Contributor(s)

Ivica Prtenjača

Ivica Prtenjača was born in 1969 in Rijeka, Croatia. Since fifteen years old, he has been working as a gas bill collector, ice-cream delivery man, construction worker, fire extinguisher technician, among other jobs. He studied Yugoslav Language and Literature at the University of Rijeka. After discarding roughly five hundred poems, he started working on his manuscript for Pisanje oslobađa (Writing Sets Us Free) published in 1999. Soon followed poetry collections Yves (2001), Nitko ne govori hrvatski (Nobody Speaks Croatian, 2002), Uzimaj sve što te smiruje (Take Everything That Calms You, 2006), Okrutnost (Cruelty, 2010), for which he received the Dobriša Cesarić Award (2001), Kiklop Award (2006), and the international Risto Ratković Award (2009). From 2010 to 2020, he took a break from poetry, publishing novels Dobro je, lijepo je (It’s Alright, It’s Nice, 2006), Tiho Rušenje (Silent Demolition, 2017), and Plivač (The Swimmer, 2020). His most acclaimed novel Brdo was translated into English as The Hill (2015). Alongside writing, Ivica has been hosting radio programs Moj izbor (My Choice) and Metafora (Metaphor), reading and promoting the established and emerging national and international poets.

V.B.Z. Translation Workshop

V.B.Z. Translation Workshop brought together Sara Dukić, Anja Glavinić, Marta Huber, Ena Jurakić, Jelena Jušćak, Blaž Martić, Ana Milinović, Krešimira Polegubić, Lucija Radin-Mačukat, and Marina Veverec. They are among the first generations of students enrolled in the Literary Translation Module at the University of Zadar. Between them, they have translated individual short stories by Jan Carson, Gabriela Garcia, Genevieve Hudson, and a selection of poems by Raymond Antrobus, Louise Glück, Neil Hilborn, Richard Siken, Naomi Shihab Nye, Warsan Shire, Maggie Smith, Tracy K. Smith, which appeared in [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation and Tema. Into English they have translated the works by Ivan Jozić, Dino Pešut, and Monika Herceg, which have appeared or are forthcoming in Your Impossible Voice, Denver Quarterly, Exchanges, Poetry International Web, Asymptote, and Harvard Review. They have participated in the translation of the anthology Europa28: Women on the Future of Europe – a mutual project between Festival of the European Short Story and Hay Festival – and Poetic Postcard featuring translations of Zadar-based poets into five languages.