Reviews

"In Knitting Drum Machines for Exiled Tongues, ‘harmonies’ are ‘sounding out’ spectrums of sonic frequencies, attempting to connect self/others. Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani brilliantly raises the old sword of the bard battling both the silences within herself and which plague us all – the ‘mutisms’ at the ‘edges’, our own wilderness being contained. The poet stretches through the unhearable, unsayable, claims ‘je capte’ ‘kapetan bez broda’ – but then leaves us a blank void to be filled in. That space is the remarkable work waiting here for readers to respond to, to find our ‘futures possible’ where ‘optimism’ is that ‘impossibility of closed passage’ of which she writes so eloquently." (Jennifer K. Dick, author of, most recently, That Which I Touch Has No Name (2022))

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"'Belonging is un droit humain' says Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani, but where is belonging and how can it manifest itself in a world broken by wars and exiles, by the disintegration of solid/soiled earth into language, sound, image and movement? For this half-Croatian, half-Algerian poet, belonging is an improvisation, a remix of a mix from an uncertain original master, something glimpsed through the multilingual fluttering of phonemes, or the compelling particularities of a musical form or a dance. It's there in the data of a physiological function or malfunction, in the fragments of a visual or sonic landscape already moving towards forgetting. Shaped from three very different languages and cultures the poems of Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues shimmer with the interwoven colours of saying and the fragile materialities of silence and of loss." (Lyndon Davies, Aquifer Press)

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“Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s Reveries about Language explores the extraordinary condition of being a double exile. Her multilingual poems, employing English, French and Croatian, trace a journey of self becoming through language.  Poetic space is created for contextualisation, philosophical and literary thought as well as polyphony and hybridity. The work is utterly contemporary, absorbing and beguiling.” (David Caddy, Tears in the Fence)

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"With its startling imagery, fluid exploration of form and  multi-lingual approach to poetry, Reveries About Language is a quest into a poet’s own heart of darkness through which the colour and light of new realizations and thought-provoking ideas are refracted. At times gentle, in others brutal, it can be read as both a love letter and written warning that marks the ways language can propel an individual across the barriers of identity, time and space, and raises a question about how far each of us is at the mercy of words. An refreshingly unapologetic book from a striking new voice.” (Helen Cox, Poetrygram). “

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"Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani Mina Ray’s multilingual poem ‘Reveries about Language’ (in which Engish, Croatian and French each form another layer in the linguistic palimpsest) is the centrepiece of a journal which moves, reflectively and imaginatively, between languages” (Editors’ Note, The Still Point Journal, Issue 1, Nov 2015).

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“A breath of fresh air!”  

“Speaking as a mono-linguist I particularly enjoyed hearing the cadences and the rhythms of the French and Croatian language poetry.  Fascinating and surprising.”

“I am glad that because of Covid [the event] is happening virtually because it opens it to people like me on different continents. Thank you for this experience.”

“Real food for thought regarding belonging and identity, and ways of weaving different languages together.  At a time when many are feeling down about Brexit, and an ‘isolationist mentality’, a real tonic to be among people who clearly love to explore and express themselves in different languages. It lifted my spirits!”

“Le monde semblait à nouveau ouvert durant les « rêveries autour de la langue » partagées ce soir…”

“Jasminine pjesme su krasne, cak i kad slušam francuski koji ne razumijem, nekako dolaze riječi do srca. Sve u svemu ne samo da je bilo lijepo, nego i zabavno! Hvala još jednom!”

(Comments by the audience, “Reveries about language” online poetry reading, 11 December 2020. With: Delphine Salkin, Isabelle Dumont, Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani. Host: David Caddy).