There Is no Lyrics without Faith
It’s not easy to say whether this world is a ”drunken ship” or Noah’s Arch, but too much is taking an apocalyptic tone. Man must be confused, frightened and indignant. In this pink vulgarism, full of tricks for dumbing down people, genuine culture is pushed to the bottom of the ladder. Poisonous media are surrounding, crisscrossing and distracting us. People, villages, words, are disappearing. However, living lyrics is possible, lyrics of nature and language. We know what we have to do so as not to become people drowning in colonial globalism. We have the golden thread that holds and keeps us together

By: Bane Velimirović
Photo: Private Archive

He is smart and immersed in thoughts. He hears Milašin and other bellmen warning us. He hears the old lyre and her sons. He knows that without bees, the world would disappear in three years. He dreams of Ljubostinja in Donji Dubič and when he wakes up, he sees it in front of him. He has been in the ”Jefimija” Library in Trstenik since 1987 and had an enormous contribution in that city gaining an important place on the literary map of Serbia. In a bit less than thirty years, he strung fifteen beads on the necklace of his poetry and three awards.
Veroljub Vukašinović (1959) in National Review.

What is happening to this world and man, Poet? Where is this ship sailing to?
It could be said, based on everything currently happening, that this world is sailing like a ”Drunken Ship”, speedily and apocalyptically towards its end, whereas it could also be sailing like Noah’s Arch towards a new shore, from which the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, will brings us the olive branch of peace. We are living in a time of great alterations and new challenges, everything is changing, accelerating, digitalizing. A new war has begun, unfathomable, both for its consequences and its causes, from geostrategic to political and religious, perhaps even eschatological. Among all that, man must be confused, frightened and indignant.

Where, in such a world, is the place of high culture and art, especially lyrics?
Such values should be on top of the ladder of life in this world. Unfortunately, we can see that it is not so. The media which surround, crisscross and distract us are imposing other ”values” such as show-business, reality non-culture, pink soap operas and similar tricks for dumbing down people. Lyrics, as perhaps the most subtle form of poetry, which I believe is the most sublime form of art together with music, exists only in rare collections of certain poets, as a relic of some long-gone times. However, living lyrics, feeling lyrics of nature and language, is still possible and has a deep meaning. The lyrical experience of the world is deeply connected with faith in the meaning of everything created, especially nature as poetry of the Creator, and thereby faith in Him.


Up to know, we saw you longing for a garden, for threads, in the silence of the Lord, before gates in linden trees, in holy zeal, above clouds… What are Your lights in hills illuminating today, where do the roads of Your poetry lead to?
I believe I am one of those poets who are writing a single poem in different variations. That poem of mine is filled with homeland, childhood, nature, memories, journeys, dreams, poetry of other poets, Ljubostinja and other monasteries, sins and healings… After unexpectedly receiving ”Drainac Award” in 2021 for my book of poetry Tilić, I felt a new poetic impulse towards motifs of bohemia and kafana life, which I largely missed, so I dedicated some of my new poems to accordion players who played sevdalinka songs, violin players who played ”the ćemane”, Gypsies, sparrows and other poets… And, furthermore, to something I have been obsessively repeating in all my poetry books: dying of houses and disappearing of people in villages, the fall and weakness of contemporary man imprisoned and networked into a global grid which keeps tightening, accelerating them, taking away their breath and spirit.

Without paying attention to seasons and trends, you are persisting on connected verses and strong poetic forms, on the Stražilovo code” and rhyming water”. Does contemporary lyrics and the sensitivity of a man of this epoque succeed in expressing themselves within old books of poems” (as you call them in your poem Connected Verse”)?
In one of my poems, I wrote that I would like to ”disrhyme”, but I just don’t know how to do it. I consider myself, before all, a verbal poet. I don’t write poems, I sing them, according to my inner pattern of connected verses. It is merged with the music of words and music of rhymes, assonances and alliterations, and based, before all, on the melody of words and language. Only after I memorize a poem in my head, I write it down. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I keep all my poems in my memory for a long time. On the contrary. Free-form poems, especially in longer narrations, are not characteristic for me and I cannot carry them within me easily. I know that it’s not characteristic for poets of our time, just as lyricism is not either, on the contrary, but I believe that under our poetic sky there is place for colors of all flowers and flowers of all poetics.


Nature is a world and frame from which Your poetry often speaks. Don’t You think that our civilization has overplayed in its interfering in the natural order of things?
Nature for me is an inexhaustible treasury of poetic images filled with various wonders worthy of admiring, starting from the smallest little bug or flower, bee or ant, to trees, forests, rivers. A treasury of everything which is not created by hand of man, but by hand of God. As Despot Stefan Lazarević, author of the Letter of Love, wrote in the XIV century: ”The earthly gifts, from fragrant flowers and grasses; as well as the renewal and playfulness of the very being of man, who can express?” We can only imagine how the world of nature looked like then, still intact, still wrapped in the creator’s shirt, in a symphony with human nature, and we see now how much nature is destroyed, polluted, demolished to the point that it is becoming hard to live and breathe, especially in big cities. On the other hand, since I often spend time in nature, I see that it is invincible and indestructible. As soon as people retreat from a habitat, nature takes over the space with incredible speed, forests spread and conquer abandoned homes and cover grown paths and roads. If the destruction of nature continues, the answer is clear: man will destroy himself and nature will return to where soil will still exist instead of concrete and asphalt.
As for nature and poetry, if we watch deeply into nature through the language we speak, we will reach mythological layers of our being and better understand both ourselves and our pagan and Christian nature.

You live in a small city and you had a significant contribution in solidifying its place on the literary map of Serbia. Can we, by reviving their poetics and local mythology”, save our small towns from disappearing, can we preserve them?
We are witnessing rapid consolidation of human habitats, big cities are expanding, becoming megalopolises which suck in smaller towns, their population, especially young people who leave small towns to go to big cities, and rarely come back. However, life in small towns has its charms. Those towns have their institutions, rivers, lakes, bridges, surroundings, monasteries, people know each other, the wheels of the heated-up civilization are turning more slowly, and one can live and create nicely in them. My little town on the Morava, Trstenik, which locals call čaršija, has all that, even a kind of a cultural milieu, and certainly has a soul, a bit urban, a bit rural, before all the soul of Ljubostinja which is in the immediate vicinity.
I initiated the separation of the Trstenik library in 1987, named it after the first Serbian poetess Jefimija, and spent my entire career in it, with creative joy I shared with many Serbian writers and critics, participants of literary events ”Contemporary Serbian Prose”, ”Jefimija’s Days” and others. The result of that cooperation are 34 issues of Contemporary Serbian Prose collection, as well as a number of books of local authors I have edited up to now. If I hadn’t stayed here after graduating literature in Novi Sad, perhaps all this wouldn’t happen in such form. That is what also satisfies me, knowing that life and work in a small city can make sense, indeed.


Serbian village has always been an indicator of the state of the entire nation. You are watching it up close: what do you see? Will there be anyone to mow the grass in Serbia, to clear the fields taken over by forests?
I was born and grew up in a ”chimney-house” (still alive) in the village of Donji Dubič above Ljubostinja, in the Gledić mountains. I remember everything well. Bees in beehives, cows in the barn, pigs and sheep in pens, chicken and turkeys in henhouses, dog next to the logs, a space with barrels and drums of rakia and wine, forge, well in the yard, voices, hubbub, children, sounds of life of a rural household. Now everything is silent. Many such houses are desolated, weeds are overgrowing them, there is less people. However, where there were people, thank God, new houses were erected, with new sounds of tractors, handsaws… The village is still living, only in a different way. Machines and tools replaced people and cattle, pieces of land are consolidating, big villages are leaning towards big cities, and small villages, such as mine, are slowly disappearing, nature is reconquering what used to belong to it, wild animals are returning. More and more often, while wandering the woods searching for mushrooms, I see traces of wild boars, I meet does, but less and less people. I see scenes from my childhood and feel pain because of the disappearing of a rural, patriarchal civilization, dying of old houses and hearths, especially the disappearing of many words from folk speech, which signified the contents of everything a Serbian village house used to have.

You are in constant dialogue with our literary ancestors (Laza Kostić, Miljković, Raičković, Petar Pajić…). What do they say about all this and what will we present them one day?
Well, I think they are telling us through their poetry, including folk poets, that Serbian language is one of the most wonderful languages one can sing or write poetry in, and that we need to preserve it in its original form, for ourselves and for future generations.

Can bellman Milašin wake us up? Can bees, Your important symbol and motif, teach us? Can poets write a world in which we will survive?
Bellmen ring and warn us, but we often don’t hear them. The bee is also one of the bells of nature. As a reflection of the creator’s perfect plan and mind, it warns us to respect His order of things and submit to the ”spirit of the beehive” in order to survive as a nation. Poets are related to bees; their honey is pure poetry which recuperates the soul. Being with bees or being an apiarist is a great privilege in life, whoever put his head into a beehive at least once had to hear the deep meaning of the bees’ humming which cancels ”the sound and the fury” of the steaming world. The bee is a source of great poetic inspirations, as symbol and motif it enriched world and local poetry, which can best be perceived in the excellent anthology Revelation of Bees by Miodrag Radović. Scientists say that without bees the world would literally disappear in three years. Without poets, it would probably last a bit longer, but it would no longer be this, our world.


How do you see the fate of your nation and singing in it? What is really patriotism today?
The very word patriotism tells us to love our country and nation and our origins. In other words, to hold on to our national and cultural identity, while also respecting others, of course. It means to preserve our language, our alphabet and our faith, not to drown in an impersonal, global identity, based on foreign values. How to sing about patriotism today, after great patriotic poems, after Đura Jakšić, Milan Rakić, Dučić? Well, the same way Ivan V. Lalić sang, Milosav Tešić sings, as Dobrica Erić sang, as many contemporary poets sing, aware that the ”Kosovo determination” in poetry is the golden, patriotic thread which connects and relates us all, from nun Jefimija to the very day.
Thanks to poetry, I have traveled Herzegovina, Republic of Srpska, Montenegro, Vojvodina, Kosovo… However, these Serbian lands are now administratively divided, for me it is a single cultural, spiritual and linguistic space. Fighting to preserve that unity is an expression of real patriotism.

You have been managing the Jefimija” library in Trstenik for a long time. According to your direct experiences, is our time really signified by the end of books and reading”?
Although someone proclaimed this era ”the end of books”, I wouldn’t agree. A book is a unique invention of human culture, and it can never be entirely replaced by any technical wonders. You can find everything on the internet, any information and many literary works, an entire universe of information is reduced to one chip, but it is a screen. You cannot hold it in your hand, go through it, put it under your pillow, smell it… During the Covid-19 epidemic, there was a growing interest for books in the library I work in. Readers patiently waited in lines to borrow a book. Isn’t that paradoxical? Or perhaps the screen cannot warm up the heart and soul in difficult moments?


Short Biography
Veroljub Vukašinović (Donji Dubič near Trstenik, 1959) graduated in literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. Books of poems: ”Longing for the Garden” (1993), ”Knitting” (1995), ”It Is so Silent, Lord” (1999, 2000), ”Gates in Linden Trees” (2001), ”Forgive, White Lamb” (2002), ”Forest Spelling Book”, poems for children (2003, 2006; 2018), ”Palm Sunday” (2004), ”Light in the Hills”, selected and new poems (2007), ”Gardener” (2008), ”Face” (2009), ”Above Clouds” (2012), ”Saddle”, selected poems (2014), ”Holy Spark”, selected and new poems (2015), ”Wind and Rain” (2017), ”Tilić” (2020). He edited ”Before the Gates”, selection from Serbian prayer poetry. He is editor of collections ”Contemporary Serbian Prose”. Winner of eighteen reputable literary awards. Member of the Association of Writers of Serbia and Literary Club ”Bagdala” in Kruševac. Lives in Trstenik, works as director of ”Jefimija” National Library.


The Eyes of Those I Love
It is certain that, as always, there is hope. Where do we search for it today?
Holy trinity: faith, love and hope. That would be the shortest answer. There is hope that good will prevail over evil and, eventually, win. If it weren’t so up to now and if this world were left just to human (lack of) care, it would have been destroyed. I think that hope today should be sought mainly in ourselves, faith in the Creator of this world and meaning of its creation, as well as love for our neighbors, however familiar it might sound. The shape of my hope are the eyes of those I love, first of all my family, wife, children, grandchildren…

From now on you
can buy National Review at Trafika sales outlets

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 82 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 81 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 80 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 79 - руски

Србија - национална ревија - број 78 - руски

Serbia - National Review - Tourism 2020

Србија - национална ревија - Број 77

Србија - национална ревија - Број 76

Србија - национална ревија - Број 75
Србија - национална ревија - ФранкфуртСрбија - национална ревија - МоскваСрбија - национална ревија - Москва
Србија - национална ревија - ПекингСрбија - национална ревија - број 74
Србија - национална ревија - број 73

Србија - национална ревија - број 72Туризам 2019.
Србија - национална ревија - број 71
Србија - национална ревија - број 70Србија - национална ревија - број 69Србија - национална ревија - број 68Србија - национална ревија - број 67Tourism 2018
Србија - национална ревија - број 66
Serbia - National Review - No 65
Serbia - National Review - No 64Србија - национална ревија - број 63
Србија - национална ревија - број 62
Србија - национална ревија - број 61

Србија - национална ревија - број 60
Србија - национална ревија - број 59
Serbia - National Review - No 59
Serbia - National Review - No 58

Serbia - National Review - No 56
Serbia - National Review - No 55
Serbia - National Review - No 54
Tourism 2016
Српска - национална ревија - број 53
Српска - национална ревија - број 12-13
Srpska - National Review - No 12-13
Serbia - National Review - No 51

Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 49
Serbia - National Review - No 48
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46
Serbia - National Review - No 46Serbia - National Review - No 46, russianSerbia - National Review - No 45Srpska - No 6
SRPSKA - National Review - No 5Tourism 2014SRPSKA - No 2
Tourism 2013
SRPSKA - National Review - Special Edition

Battle above Centuries
Legends of Belgrade
History of the Heart


Чувар светих хумки
Србија од злата јабука - друго издање
Orthodox Reminder for 2013
Пирот - Капија Истока и Запада
Беочин - У загрљају Дунава и Фрушке Горе
Србија, друмовима, пругама, рекама
Србија од злата јабука
Туристичка библија Србије

Коридор X - Европски путеви културе
Београд у џепу
Тло Србије, Завичај римских царева
Добродошли у Србију