Biography

Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani (previous pen name: Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani Mina Ray) is a London-based poet, arts practitioner, and researcher of mixed heritage (Croatian father / Algerian mother) born in Zagreb. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines and journals in the UK including The Fortnightly Review, Molly Bloom, Pamenar Press and Tears in the Fence, and in several publications in Canada and Croatia. She is the founder of the multilingual poetry project “Unbound” that received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking Small grants programme in 2018 and 2019. Jasmina is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Westminster and has a doctorate (PhD) in French literary and cultural studies. Her latest show "Heart monologues" took place at the Regent Street Cinema, London, 16 March 2022. Her full work activities can be viewed here.

Jasmina was born in Zagreb. She is trilingual (Croatian, French, English) and has a multicultural background (Algerian mother and Croatian father). Her mother is a translator and writer, and her father a journalist. Jasmina lived in Brussels between 1976 and 1981, and in Vienna between 1986 and 1987. Between 1991 and 1993 she received a bursary from the Swedish Institute and was a resident researcher at the Nordic Institute for Advanced Study in Modern Swedish, University of Uppsala where she was working on her Master's thesis on attitudes to the Swedish standard language and dialects. She moved to London in 1995 where she has been living and working since. Between 2007 and 2012 Jasmina visited Algeria several times where her father was placed as Ambassador of Croatia. Jasmina has a doctorate (PhD) in Francophone literary and cultural studies; she has given conference papers in her subject area, both nationally and internationally, and has produced several academic articles and reviews. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Westminster and a member of the Centre for Poetry, Queen Mary University of London. She currently co-manages the Centre for Doctoral Training in AI & Music, Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary.

Jasmina has (co-)directed several multilingual poetry recitals and performances of her poetry in English, French and Croatian in London and Zagreb. She has given talks, and has written essays on her multilingual poetry practice. In 2021, she was the convenor of the multilingual poetry writing panel "Multilingual poetry writing: strategies of translation, disruption and resistance" at the Languages Future online conference, 15-16 & 21-23 April. In her talk "Reveries about language": challenges and opportunities of performing multilingual poetry" given during the panel, she presented her experiences of preparing her multilingual poetry performance / recital for the stage. 

Jasmina has a background in linguistics, semiotics and Postcolonial Francophone theory. She began writing poetry after she completed her PhD. Her poetry has been published in literary journals and magazines in the UK, Canada and Croatia. In 2017 she created the collaborative multilingual poetry project “Unbound”. The project received funding from the Language Acts and Worldmaking AHRC-funded project Small grant programme in 2018 & 2019. In 2019 and 2020 Jasmina (co-)directed three multilingual poetry performances and recitals in London and Zagreb. During that time, she collaborated with poets, musicians, composers, sound artists, computer scientists, sound engineers, theatre directors, and arts and humanities scholars and specialists. 

Jasmina's most recent multilingual writing strategy involves an exploration of the "micro-level" of the text; the discovery of inter-language connections through the visual sense and sonic qualities of language, and the interplay and the interweaving of the three languages she speaks. One of the recurring poetic devices that Jasmina explores in her poetry are gaps, white spaces and silences. What happens in the in-between space of language? How do the different languages she speaks relate to each other? How does she relate to each of these languages? And what is the relationship between her language(s) and the body? Jasmina's poetic investigation includes not only English, French and Croatian; she has a forth language - Arabic - that she calls the “shadow language” (a term used by Pina Antiucci to describe Amelia Rosselli's poetry). As Jasmina describes in her 2018 essay "Unbound Lines: Writing in the Space of the Multilingual",  Arabic is the language that she spoke with her Algerian grand-mother when she was little during her first five summers in Algeria and that she has later forgotten; it is the language of loss and of fragmented identity. Yet, the sounds of the Arabic language, the colours of Algeria and the olfactory experiences associated with it have remain very much alive.

Related Essays

Bolfek-Radovani, Jasmina, "Unbound Lines: Writing in the Space of the Multilingual", Balkan Poetry Today, issue 2, 2018.  (See text: "Unbound Lines: Writing in the Space of the Multilingual").

Unveiled, Dangerous Women Project, 1 February 2017.

Bolfek-Radovani, Jasmina, "Mon arrivée à l'écriture: sur le (non)-sacrifice de la langue", 2015.


Interviews

Read interview "Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani In the Spotlight" in the Lucent Dreaming magazine, Issue 2, 2 November 2018. 



Creative practice development (selected workshops and courses)

Art Practice Conversations, 7-week workshop led by Caroline Bergvall, 17 June - 5 August 2021.
Poetry and Syntax: an Emergency Toothpick in an Imaginary Landscape, workshop led by Astrid Alben, 13 & 27 March 2021.
Solitary to Solidary - A Writing Experiment by Caroline Bergvall, 22 & 29 July 2020.
Multilingual Poetry, Tears in the Fence workshop, 25 April 2020.
My senses / The senses of the world. An embodied writing workshop, Pamenar Press (with Serena Braida), 15 February 2020.
To be Unhomed: Reading and Writing (as) Wretched Strangers, 22 January - 15 March 2019, Poetry School (with Wanda O'Connor).
Poetry in the making, City Lit, (with Caroline Metzler), 20 January 2017 - 20 March 2017.