Impressions from “Memento Amores” Book Promotion Night, October 30, 2014

/Impressions taken from the promotion of “Memento Amores”/
A Night Of Poetry“, which was the official title of the promotion, was a delightful way to name the special premiere of my second poetry collection “Memento Amores“, and everyone who attended, hopefully, has satisfied their poetic appetites. The promotion happened on October 30th, 2014 (Devil’s Night, of course) at 19h, in the cozy atmosphere of American Corner in Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina (in the building of the Cantonal and University Library). Attendees: my students, colleagues, poetry lovers from Bihać, friends and family.
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For this book I wanted a real journey to the past – hence the record player you see on some of the photos below – we opened the night with a nod to the 80’s (Sisters of Mercy and The Cult), and the promotion itself was accompanied by a plethora of melancholic visuals on screen and the wonderfully eerie melodies of the “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” OST, which is my favourite film soundtrack ever. The closing ceremony was King’s (a lil’ bit of “Jailhouse Rock” and “Love Me Tender” for all the Elvis Presley fans out there)!
And now – to the night itself. I had the great honour and pleasure to have all my three reviewers there for the premiere – my dearest buddy Nizama Muhamedagić and Aurelija Karajić both talked about their unique visions of the book, while Fikreta Muslić gave her passionate impressions in Bosnian. My dear students Arnela Raković, Senita Jusić and Alija Mujanović read the selected poems with their wonderful voices (“Primavera“, “Silence Of A Lover“, “Remembrance Of A Kiss“…), and I cannot describe how proud I felt listening to them and seeing how much this night meant to them too. 058The night of poetry was further enriched by the siren’s voice of Nermina Imerovska, who lead us all through the journey of past loves and whose words we will remember for years to come… Lastly, it was my turn to say a few words to my audience, and I hope that I haven’t forgotten anybody in my thank-yous – if I have, please forgive me. The surreal feeling of the entire night was at the same time enchanting and utterly out of this world, and I only wish that my verses somehow arrived at the gates of Heaven where H.R. Giger now resides, like small gifts carried by the autumn wind.
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Speaking of gifts – I got pleasantly surprised by my family, friends and colleagues with a bunch of bouquets (in all my colours) and presents! I don’t think I could ever thank them all for everything they’ve given me, but here’s a shot: I wish to thank my mom Hajrija and my uncle Hajrudin (also a prolific author) for supporting me in all my academic and artistic endeavours, to Mr. Leslie Barany, Giger’s agent, Mr. Tom Gabriel Fischer and Mr. Matthias Belz for the incredible gift of “Shaft No. 7” on the cover, to Ljiljana Krupić, professor of Latin, for the green light on the title, to my dad Muhamed and my sister Sarah for sharing this evening with me, to my dear friends Nizama, Nermina (and the Book Promotion Society “Liber“, which she currently runs), Aurelija, Fikreta, Rialda, Veldina (who is also a poetess, as well as Fikreta), my dear colleagues Jasmina Tevšić, Alma Žerić, Alma Huskić, Dragana Šenda, Mersina Šehić, to the dean of the Pedagogical Faculty Nijaz Skender, to my dear Mirela Midžić for giving us the perfect venue and full support, to the Head of the Cantonal and University Library Ratko Knežević, to RTVUSK, ac 2and last but not least, to my nightingales Arnela, Alija and Senita, as well as all my students (past and present) and everyone there who came to listen to my poetry and hopefully, were uplifted by the aesthetic aspirations written down for my muse far, far away…
As mentioned, below you can see the full gallery, as well as links to an article & TV piece about the night (for the video, scroll down to “DNEVNIK 31.10.2014.” – the piece starts at 29′). There will also be an extended article tonight at 21h in the show “Kultura” on the same channel – tune in if you have it!
More info on the official release date of the book (both the regular and deluxe edition) + Amazon links soon!


Schacht VII


Who is she? Is she a mirage? Where is she from? Where is she? H.R. Giger, her creator, answers one of these questions in “Necronomicon I“, where he explains the origins of his Schacht series, stemming from his dreams and vivid imagination involving a basement in his family house in Chur, that was basically connected to an underground network of tunnels (subsequently closed due to danger of collapse).

Ever since I first saw this painting (its reproduction), there was something that drew me to it. To Her. Then I finally saw Her, the original, at the entrance to the first floor of the Giger museum in Gruyères, Switzerland. Even with all the Aliens around, these perfect beings, Schacht VII spoke to me. Her haunting beauty never left my mind, my thoughts. So, I came back home and wrote about my travels, frequently including Her in my writing.

And then, an idea in my mind… and an amazing contact with Giger’s agent, Mr. Leslie Barany, which made the past year truly magnificent for me. Now She is also the cover for my second collection of poetry, out in spring 2014. I wish to thank once again Mr. Barany, as well as my favourite artist, Mr. H.R. Giger, for this incredible honour. I do not walk on Earth like other mortals. Now I am where She is. I am She.

Mugdim Karabeg on “Thanatonaut”

I got an interesting mail recently. Two actually. A text in the first one, an explanation in the second. Our family friend Izet Duranović, after a recent visit to Kladuša, took my book over to the endless horizons of the US, which then encountered a great name in journalism and poetry  – Mugdim Karabeg. As Izet himself says about him – and these words are scorched in my memory:   “They say about him that he’s ‘the best journalist among poets and the best poet among journalists’. He’s the grandson of Šantić’s Emina – his mother is Emina’s daughter. He was the editor of Oslobođenje for a number of years and correspondent from the Middle East, as well as professor on faculties. He’s an honest, delightful journalistic, poetic and human soul.”

Therefore, I share with you his view on my book, as I’m left to offer my sincere gratitude to Mr Karabeg – and continue to be honoured up to the moment where I cannot even describe it with this little curly tools I use to weave the fabric of my reality – words, verses…


The first of poetry by ILHANA ŠKRGIĆ is a thick veil over the mysteries of life, seen and unseen from a special corner of the poet.
There is nothing in her lines that conveys immediately understandable and acceptable logic of life and death, love and hate, understanding and misunderstanding. Even to these terms themselves that denote life phenomena she gives names that are not easily connected to their roots, they are foreseen from a distance, which the reader needs to understand as the filed of one’s own associations connected with this poetics. But in that labyrinth of controversy, contrast which simultaneously neutralise and complete each other, there is a “red line” of commitment and truth of the poet’s experience, which the reader will understand in some way or another, left deep in questions and thoughts over the messages of these poetic verses. There lies the value of Ilhana’s writing: putting into the foreground man’s eternal questioning over the phenomena of this wondrous human existence, its multiple psychology that accepts and refuses truths and lies at the same time , seeking the non-existent ‘eternal truth’. This is left to those who delve into these lines to bring their own impressions and conclusions to the table and it seems to me that the poetic philosophy of this poet encompasses the personal psychology of living between the eternal Shakespearean dilemma “to be or not to be” under the veil of different emotions.
For example, the poem of acknowledging love:

And I shall breathe, I breathe, I breathed
For you only
The world is your altar
And everything gleamed by the sun and covered in darkness is a sacrifice to you.

I ja ću disati, dišem, disah
Samo za tebe
Svijet je tvoj oltar
A sve obasjano suncem i pokriveno tamom žrtva je tebi.˝)

In these lines of the poem “And I’m the book of you then” (˝I ja sam knjiga tebe tad˝) there is no poetic dilemma about what she chooses. Love, only love, which she “breaths, breathed” then.
Right after this one, the poem “The Veil Of Illusion” (˝Koprena iluzije˝) as if it denies the truth of the positive emotion and conviction in the previous one. Because it says:

The veil of illusion takes my breath away
And what are you to me than a welcome guest
While the winds chase time with their whips
Somewhere far away
Outside of this chamber
And with only a silent delusion announce
Another visit
You always leave sooner than they do
Inconsistent and untouchable like those readers
Of eternity
Am I loved by an illusion?

Koprena iluzije mi otima zrak
A šta si mi ti nego dobrodošao gost
Dok vjetrovi tjeraju vrijeme svojim bičevima
Negdje daleko
Izvan ove odaje
I samo tihim zavaravanjem najavljuju
Ponovnu posjetu
Uvijek odlaziš brže nego oni
Nestalan i neopipljiv poput tih jahača
Zar me voli iluzija?˝)

This is a counterpoint to the saying from the previous poem, where it says:

“The world is your altar
And everything gleamed by the sun and covered in darkness is a sacrifice to you.”

(˝Svijet je tvoj oltar
A sve obasjano suncem i pokriveno tamom žrtva je tebi.˝)

Ilhana’s verses flow in this riddle it is but at the same time it isn’t – the duality which shapes the form and fills the content into human psyche and emotions. On each letter, the reader stumbles over these dilemmas and secrets covered in deep veils of poetic imaginations. These enigmas will be discovered by readers of higher education and developed analytical intelligence, as well as delving deep into the spirituality of man and people in general. Therefore, I conclude that this poetry is not “for the average reader”, because it demands intellectual effort and readiness to be deciphered and with it its true value to be discovered. In any case, the first book by Ilhana Škrgić shows that she needs to continue with her creative work, with a pause on each verse, which should be a bit more understandable and a little less enigmatic, which will not devalue the poetics.

Mugdim Karabeg