Ivana Milankov is one of Serbia's best-kwn poets whose poems question themselves as much as they question the world around them. Distances in space and time are reduced to the size of a line break as the poet searches for meaning in experience; despite this, however, it is a surprisingly transparent poetry, where a world is created in each poem, holding our attention through an underlying drama of reason and feeling. Milankov's poetry allows us to glimpse a modernism that draws part of its reference from the presence of the Roman Empire and surrounding ancient civilisations of the Middle East. In this outstanding translation by Zorica Petrovic and James Sutherland-Smith, we are dazzled by an imagery whose structure and development confounds our expectations.
Milankova belongs to the first generation of poets from central and eastern Europe who were influenced by anti-establishment poetries - particularly from the USA - such as the Beats and, later on, the New York poets. Milankova acted as a translator for Allen Ginsberg through a tour of the former Yugoslavia and subsequently worked with him during a summer workshop in Colorado. In the mid nineteen-eighties she was very active in alternative theatre and street performances. She now earns a living as teacher of English in a secondary school.