Katja Gorečan

Slovenia

Katja Gorečan uses the alias Katja Dolganoč (which in translation would mean Katja Longnight) to accompany her poetry. She was born in 1989 in Celje, Slovenia. She received a bachelor degree in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University in Ljubljana and is currently continuing her studies in dramaturgy at the Academy for Theatre, Direction, Film and Television, also in Ljubljana. She took part in a creative writing course, specializing in dramatics. This resulted in the realisation of her one-act drama Seven girl's questions. In 2012 her second poetry collection The Suffering of Young Hana, which was nominated for Jenko Award, the highest poetry award in Slovenia and was selected into the Biennale of Young Artists from Mediterranean Europe. She cooperates in the organisation of festival Pranger, the festival of critics and poets.

She is not only artisticly, but socially engaged. She worked with demented patients in a nursing home, led creative workshops with female refugees and their children and also worked with mentally handicapped youth.


Poets' socially engaged side explains her poetry in this case. Gorečan's work is sensitive, attentive and caring towards deprivileged subjects – especially marginalised women - without ever being sentimental. Her much acclaimed poetry collection The Suffering of Young Hana therefore focuses on a girl, yet to become a woman, who from afar seems to be dealing with standard growing pains – the desire to be loved, admired, accepted, f****, worshipped, heard and the aim to find emotional, mental and economical balance sometime in the future. But it is not that simple.

The Suffering of Young Hana is written in first-person, but we are never quite sure who speaks. Is it the growing woman? Is it the author? Maybe it's societal pressure that finds outlet in her words? Is it the subconscious which is never atomised, but always already a socially construed entity? As Ana Schnabl concludes in her critique Hana's Question Gorečan's poetry dissolves the lyrical subject into voices, the main one being a distanced, deconstructing voice which lays bare what Hana feels, does and desires. »While neutrally reporting about the sensitive Hana's inner world, this voice also manages to degrade it and to disperse it. Compassion and understanding – not to mention support -, which fell to the young and vulnerable Werther, have very little to do here.« There are moments of great release, when even the distanced reporter slips into irony, when she humourously problematizes her own position as the position of the judging, always-better-knowing and condenscending society.

The book collects poems which focus on Hana's different neurosis. We travel through them in a gasp, they range from the most banal as obsessive shaving or period-talk or biting the nails to sexuality and body/gender perception. Her suffering moves across the teritories of »love&loneliness&sense of belonging&freedom«. Hana wants it all at once and the pressure of wanting increases her suffering. There is no resolution in Gorečan's poetry – Hana, the author and the distanced reporter share grounds of discourse. It is as if the author would like to stress that there is no space for morality in what one desires, feels, hurts.

Hana is a conflicted and a conflicting individual who is unable to internalize what is demanded of her. Let it be conventional relationship or poetic models. Gorečan's language is not figurative, nor metaphorical, but painfully honest, words are vehicles of meaning and affect. Hana makes Katja Gorečan's work amazingly penetrating, direct and – feminist.