Maja Solar was born on February 6, 1980 in Zagreb. She holds a doctoral degree in Philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy of Novi Sad. Her research work revolves around the political theory. Maja is translating from French and English, as well as writing both poetry and prose. She is a member of the „Gerusia“ collective, left-oriented organization, and one of the editors of the journal for theoretical practices „Stvar“. Since 2015, she has been working as a translator for the Serbian edition of „Le Monde Diplomatique“.
Her first poetry collection, Makulalalalatura, was published in 2008, as it was awarded by Cultural Center of the City of Kragujevac in their contest for first time publishers. This manuscript also won Branko’s Award, the first prize in the category of poets under 30, award of the „Đuro Papharhaji“ poetry festival, and it was a runner-up for the Vital’s award. Maja’s second poetry book, written in Hungarian – Jellemzõ, hogy nem természetes (Of course it’s not natural) – was published by Forum in 2015. The third poetry book – Bez začina (Without Spices) – was published in the edition of the Cultural Center of Novi Sad (2017). Her poetry was publlished in anthologies and poetry collections: Nešto je u igri: Zbornik nove Novosadske poezije (Centar za novu književnost Neolit i Kulturni centar Novog Sada, 2008), Iz muzeja šumova, antologija novije srpske poezije (1988-2008) (V.B.Z., Zagreb, 2009), Ulaznica Srbija: Panorama pesništva 21. veka (Drava, Klagenfurt, 2011), VAN, TU: FREE, Izbor iz nove srpske poezije (Cetinje, 2012), RESTART, panorama nove poezije u Srbiji (Dom kulture Studentski grad, Beograd 2014), Antologija nove srpske lirike „Serce i krew“ (Lublin, Poljska, 2015) and Cat Painters: An Anthology of Contemporary Serbian Poetry (Diálogos, New Orleans, 2016).
From 2007 to 2014, she was one of the editors of „Polja“, a literary magazine. She was also a member of the Centre for modern literature „Neolit“, a member of poetic-political theater „Poetske rupe“, an author and participant in the women’s poetic performance group „LILITiranje“, and a participant in a few performance and poetry videoworks. Since 2019, together with Žak Lučić, she has been hosting the poetry podcast „Full Mouth of Poetry“. She currently lives in Novi Sad.
my first photograph
was one of mum and dad
on the moon
mum looking at dad lovingly, dad eyeing me warily
(ever fretful about whether something or other would succeed)
in the background a giant new year tree
shielding them from asteroid shards
flying in a moonish dimension
dad was wearing a plaid shirt the kind I guess
every yugoslav man must’ve had
back then. it could be seen on the DIY pages
for men in the burda magazine
mum was wearing a tracksuit made out of material
which absorbed the strains of endless giving. mum… cut from the cloth
of house-work and emotional labour, in slippers which weren’t à pompons
dad paranoid, mum head over heels
dad afraid that all beauty would perish
mum unafraid, unstoppable, laying tracks to beauty
I was seven and I still hadn’t
developed the ritual of imagining sinking in an earthquake.
it’s a rather useful ritual
whereby one imagines a sudden earthquake so
vividly one can feel the room move
see the shelves, books, walls fall, ceilings crash,
the shell of the tower block cave in. the ritual develops subconsciously.
either you’ve got it or you don’t.
it’s a useful ritual, an earthquake can’t catch you by surprise
at seven I still hadn’t discovered that talent, but now
I know the excitement I felt in the brief
time-space of a click
was tantamount to an amorous socialist earthquake
in which I sunk, elated,
into a moon crater
(Translated by Mirza Purić)
death grew from inside a mulberry tree
broke through the bark
onto the bicycle path
then entered my breakfast
and headaches which you, small elephant,
cope with using your trunk really well
you spiced up your arms around my waist
you made wednesday giggle
but i now saw her, death
because i was running
death came even earlier
when the oregano stopped breathing
and you continued to whisper that I am your little bird
that i am all the birds in all the world the taxonomies
especially the swallows
as you kissed me
as though I were candied fruit
through the kiosks of laughter
death swayed into a hair color dyeing brush
parceling out hair so the greys could be covered
you—the part behind me, which I cannot see,
me the part reflected in the window
but not even there did i see death
because i was running
so it sprouted from your
when you had the scent of a small child
when we were we
maybe that is why our two bodies have become too much
death boiled over
in a dream in which you were eaten by a crocodile
she hugged you with all her might
reminding us of a popular series from our childhood
when you wash dishes death made winter mornings glow
and heat up fingers with soap suds
you sit by the tv screen
knock on the wall
as an i love you reminder
in your always half-open mouth
with your high gums
while we dance our happy dance in half-darkness
you, who will not be upset by any natural disasters
you, because of whom i always dive into a fainting love spell
death has leaked out from dark knots
but i did not see
because i ran persistently
because i looked at you continually
where she is not
where the sea is
and continued to run
as if it were wednesday each day
Translated by Biljana D. Obradović
THE ECONOMY OF CLASS SUFFERING. OR HOW IT PISSES ME OFF WHEN A CAPITALIST IS SAID TO SUFFER, TOO.
v.šš. doesn’t buy any more fruit
meat is a luxury found on the table every three,
or even four days,
the meat of the poorest quality.
she and her eight translucent sisters wither doing the dishes.
making the inventive new meals out of leftovers of cheap aliments and
reaped traumas of the day
e.klj. ran out of costly shampoo
that mildly dyes her hair and makes it lush
she suffers because she got used to this special shampoo
and her special luxury anti-wrinkle creams
with indispensable spf factor 66 of course
e.klj. has a lean sister and pyramidal
brother, thank god they are all rich
đ.đđ. shares his room with another four and a half. he doesn’t have peace quiet a chair a table or a book, just stacked bunk beds and piles of butts in the glasses. their father sometimes sleeps in the room, drunken, emitting vapors of garlic and brandy, thrown out of bed by mom.
when his eldest brother feels hot he opens the window. no matter whether others are cold. every day the residents of this residential unit play emotional ping-pong until petrified by weariness, usually during the sixth stanza of the comic operetta
đ.đđ. might not get enough money for his studies because, you see, ideology claims he is not exceptional
j.kpr. wakes up when he wants, studies when and how much he wants.
it is tough because he is thirty-two and lives at his parents’ place.
it is simply not the time yet for him to leave. it is hard to live on one’s own work on one’s own study on one’s own manage one’s own food. otherwise, mom does the cooking. the most colourful meals in the whole world.
he has no siblings, he stares at the gigantic dough of music and smokes weed to roll out of his misery
r.str. has never ever been to the seaside. she can’t swim, apart from stroking her arms in a plastic basin that her homeless parents once bought at the marketplace. r.str. has porcelain skin so she might be better off without going to the seaside and exposing herself to the sun, she hasn’t got the money for a high spf factor cream anyway. r.str. suffers for she has never had a boyfriend nor sex nor a real kiss with a tongue, if you don’t count the smooch in year five of primary school at a birthday party
in a round of ‘Spin the bottle’
kss.s. suffers for she has to repay a student loan.
that is hard and she will have to renounce her stormy shopping sessions in zara. will have to reduce shopping to once per week, and if she rationalises well, that could come up to twice per week. luckily enough her family rents two flats in a two-hundred-and-plus-square-metre home so she will manage somehow.
kss.s. has congruent tits and drinks kukicha and bancha tea.
kč.žlj. has just lost a mortgaged flat in which a washing machine used to rumble a couple of times a day. in which heavy curtains were washed together with heavy memories. for kč.žlj. is his underage siblings’ guardian, they are eleven together with six dogs. where will the brothers and sisters go now, where will kč.žlj. go, how will he do the laundry and simmer nettle with eggs… kč.žlj. drinks ‘jelen’ beer from a 2l plastic bottle.
s.sjj. calls herself a leftist activist.
she listens to electronica and dresses accordingly. she writes project proposals and owns a flat on the sixty-seventh floor,
with a view of the synagogue. she always complains to have no money.
but she has huge problems. mental ones.
she is cheating on her boyfriend and he is cheating on her, for polygamy is an essential ingredient in the soup of hiding everything from everyone where everybody thinks they are emotionally liberated
because they live in couples and keep secret of whom they fuck aside.
s.sjj. visits an army of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychodrama sessions, workshops, and whatnot,
attending to complicated pathologies of those
who can afford the services.
hlj.čnj. knows that psychology is not the cause of suffering, the society is. he got a job in the syndicate, even though the syndicates are the cumbersome tentacles of the state apparatus, but hlj.čnj. doesn’t want to give in. he frequents all the meetings and demonstrations. he blows his whistle going at it hammer and tongs. he is an actor and acting cannot make him a living so he acts he is living.
pl.tl. is going noodles because he doesn’t know how he will manage to pay for the gas heating in his three-hundred-and-twenty-eight-square-metre villa. the heating is really costly because the gas has its geopolitical capitalist flows that are mysterious to the people and scrumptious for the companies.
pl.tl. is very concerned about the huge number on the bill, which made a wrinkle on his forehead.
krr.crr. works overtime, unpaid, sometimes during weekends as well, in a small shop in liman. her hair has grown thinner at the age of twenty-seven, she never complains about unpaid hours, because she is happy to have a job at all.
she is mostly angry and rude, even though her employer is convinced that the turnover would be much bigger if she were to invest in herself more, if she were to smile more, communicate more. and if she were to take care of that… that… that hair, for who has ever seen a woman going bald!
drm.šs. is an attorney and she works like a yoked mare all day long, there is always more work in the office, sometimes she takes a workload with her, she goes home to have dinner and an evening tv session, an evening sex with her husband. her work is always there with her and she is proud to be so industrious. she hasn’t got children yet, she will once they have made more money and have sold the forty-six-square-metre flat, when they have bought a house as twice as big, where they will dine their workloads again. one should make some space for work. dmr.šs. welcomes new labour law reform and the extension of the retirement age, she spits on all the slackers in the world. she and her husband spend the summer holidays in corsica, sometimes sardinia, the winter holidays in hysteria. drm.šs. is mostly content, if she is not she meditates and tells herself the affirmations of louise hay. she sometimes plans a date with her husband because the handbooks advise refreshing your relationships,
relationships need to be spiced up
gf.mnd. lives in a roma settlement and has never finished primary school. because he had to work in the morning and in the afternoon he would either fall asleep in class or at home. he did the military service while it was still compulsory and he mostly holds some nice memories. apart from those couple of days then the army police found his and cile’s heroin and syringes for which they kicked them for a few long temporal paces and transferred them into the mountain. he did not mind, he got used to cold cramped spaces without wc. he does not know what spices are.
ht.wwv. suffers because she could not afford the blueberries this morning, one should eat blueberries every day because they are rich with antioxidants. luckily enough, she still has some wild oregano essential oil and a collagen anti-age lux facial mask so she can peacefully watch dr. oz’s advice on a low-calorie tv screen transmitting her torment
Translated by Ivana Anđelković
this morning from five thirty
I wouldn’t have woken up were I not redeemed
by green tea
once I tried to save a swine
from the butcher
I went up to the man and woman
and explained to them I am a vegan
explained what that means
how much bad karma
they will accumulate because of the exchange of energy
I explained to them the process of entropy and negentropy
I wrote down Schrödinger’s equation for them
prayed for them
looked at their birth charts
saw moon knots in the eighth house
and again begged them not to do it
the swine screeched
I sent a text to the police on my cell
but they didn’t come to save it
I plunged into despair
blood was splattered all over
I was bewildered
I peed in my pants from fear
I sweated in my red sweater
I spat out my molars which had fallen out
I was full of rage
full of fire
so took a knife
and pierced the SWINE
opened my mouth wide
gulped down the recently deadened meat
!!!!!! saved saved saved saved saved !!!!!!
(without the help of Great God/ Almighty)
Translated by Biljana D. Obradović with the author