Biography

Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani (previous pen name: Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani Mina Ray) 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 Algiers several times where her father was placed as Ambassador of Croatia to Algeria. 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 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 / recitals in London and Zagreb. During that time, she collaborated with artists, computer scientists, sound engineers, as well as with arts and humanities scholars and specialists. Jasmina has given several talks and written essays on her multilingual poetry practice. Most recently, 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 2021. In her talk "Reveries about language": challenges and opportunities of performing multilingual poetry" given during the panel, she presented her experiences of preparing a multilingual poetry performance for the stage.

One of the recurring poetic devices that Jasmina explores in her multilingual poetry writing 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 emotionally? And what is the relationship between her language(s) and the body? Her multilingual method consists of the 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. However, Jasmina's work is not limited to English, French and Croatian; she is inhabited by a forth language - Arabic - that she calls the “shadow language” (a term used by Pina Antiucci to describe Amelia Rosselli's poetry). As Jasmina writes in her 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 remained very much alive; they are "tattooed on the back of her memory". 

Related Essays

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

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.