'AMERICAN SCREAM & PALINDROME APOCALYPSE'
by Dubravka Oraic Tolic
Book Review By Katarina Tepesh
Newly released by the Ooligan Press celebrated work by Dubravka Oraic Tolic called 'American Scream' or Urlik Amerike, originally published in 1981 in Croatian. Included is a special treat with the bilingual, Croatian and English poem 'Palindrome Apocalypse,' first published in 1993.
Dubravka is a poet, essayist, and literary theorist. Born in 1943 in Slavonski Brod, she studied philosophy and literature. Since 1971, the author has been a member of the Philosophy Faculty in Zagreb.
Throughout her long poems, Dubravka uses wordplay, political references and several citations, including from the pastoral play 'Dubravka' by Ivan Gundulic: 'O beloved, O dear, O sweet freedom.'
Much of Dubravkaâ€™s inspiration comes from her childhood during which she lost her father who served among the Home Guards and mysteriously disappeared after the end of the WWII in May 1945.
In a fictional letter to the United States Ambassador to Croatia, Peter W. Galbraith, written in 1994, Dubravka declares, 'I took the name of your country as the key word and idea of my poem.'
This world is not new
Columbus is Odysseus
America â€“ a siren
And we are hostages all
On the road to Ithaca
What an irresistible call!
Exploring the unexpected costs of pursuing our dreams, Dubravka uses metaphors.
America blows like the wind
And collapses like foolâ€™s gold justice
America falls like rain
Over our faces
And we shudder
Writing her side of story of the 'Palindrome Apocalypse' poem, Dubravka points out how during former Yugoslavia 'Utopia was able to maintain itself only by punishing the disobedient individuals: it ate its own children. In 1991, the citizens of the Republic of Croatia said NO to Utopia. The response was a war. Utopia was already dead and vampires in uniforms of generals appeared on the scene.'
Other books in Croatian by Dubravka Oraic Tolic are 'Eye Without a Homeland,' 1969, 'The Landscape in the Writing of A. G. Matos,' 1980, 'Theory of the Citation,' 1990, 'The Literature and the Destiny,' 1995, 'Paradigms of the Twentieth Century,' 1997, 'The Twentieth Century in the Rearview Mirror,' 2000 and 'Male and Female Postmodernism,' 2005.
Ooligan Press, Portland State University www.publishing.pdx.edu 'American Scream & Palindrome Apocalypse'www.amazon.com $10.17