Ivan Antonovski

Skopje, Macedonia

(1990, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia), poet, essayist, literary critic and literary translator. He has graduated from the Faculty of Philology in Skopje, as the best student of his generation.

He has written several poetry collections. His works are represented in several international poetic anthologies and part of his poetic output has been translated and published in a dozen of foreign languages. Antonovski has also edited several anthologies of poetry.

He is the author of studies from the area of literary history and hermeneutics, as well as from the area of cultural studies. Most of his studies have been published in publications of selected academic papers. He has also written a book of studies and essays on literary theory. He’s latest work is the collection of essays and columns.

Antonovski was a visiting lecturer at several educational institutions.

He has won several literary prizes. He is a member of the Association of Writers of Macedonia.


In the Macedonian literary space, Ivan Antonovski appears at the very beginning of his early youth, when the critics, evaluating his first creative attempts, titled him as the “Macedonian poetic wunderkind’. Among the authors born in the eighties of the previous century, he is the first to grasp the attention of the Macedonian poetic criticism, which since the period when he was living the first part of his teenage years, valuing highly the works he had already written, and recognized in him an author who could be a guarantee for the future of the contemporary Macedonian poetry. At first, the initial notice from the literary scholars was produced by Antonovski with his book of poetry “When I begged you to grow up”, published for the first time in 2007, and only a few months later it was rereleased in a second edition in Macedonian language, which, when talking about books of poetry in the Republic of Macedonia, has been a real rarity in these past few decades. In this book of poetry, created in the period of Antonovski’s earliest youth, as the academician Katica Kjulavkova notes, he “moves in the seemingly known space of love optics, at the very edge of stereotypes, but manages to articulate his poetic picture of the world in an original manner, manner marked by the strategy of freedom of speech and associations, typical for a gifted and unburdened, youthful consciousness…”
It was with this book, that the then teenager Antonovski confirmed that “literature for him is not only a daily task, nor a youthful restlessness and curiosity, but a long-term and systematic creative determination. Both by topics and motives, and also by the poetics, he confirms the tendency for fighting for his own place and meaning in literary life, for the planned longitude of the human and creative existence”, as noted by the literary historian Vasil Tocinovski.
However, “When I begged you to grow up” was not an affirmation of this author only in the Macedonian, but in the Balkan literary space too. Beside the fact that from 2007, his works have been printed in many pages of literary magazines in several countries in the Balkans, this book was translated and published in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia, where the literary critics, yet again heaped praise upon praise, painting their reception of the esthetical value of Antonovski’s work. “I have met with so many young poets, each more different than the other, but during this first meeting with Ivan Antonovski, I felt that he not only has talent, but a gift from God as well. It is the only way to explain the birth of such beautiful poetic works, where he praises the poetic verse, in the Balkans, but in European poetry too. Poetry gave him the gift of love, and love gave birth to true poetry. That Holy Trinity – Talent, Love, and Poetry, is most likely the main reason for the appearance of that literary miracle named Ivan Antonovski. Look for him. He is a poet, kissed by God” – writes the great Bulgarian poet Eftim Eftimov in 2008. To this statement, alongside the numerous great Bulgarian literary scholars, the prominent Bulgarian literary historian Katja Zografova adds her voice, stating: “For the poetry of Ivan Antonovski it is not difficult to state the apologia: a pre-sensed and ancient, stubborn, but, precise, cleaned from narration and presupposition, from the exaggerated word use, gifted by a delicate, truthful, most likely an innate sense with which he receives the uncontrolled explosion of the oversensitive first infatuation. It is the miracle of a new writing, rescued by the reflex of a born poet who loves words, who is in love with words, but does not sin with them or plays with them in an infantile manner…”
“It is as if the contemporary poetry along with the poetry from the past are put on the same train which is stuck in the tunnel of non-reading. But, the appearance of the young Macedonian poet Ivan Antonovski is a great argument against the doubt for the future of poetry. That kind of poetry has risen and is the light of the tunnel. Arthur Rimbaud stopped writing in his nineteenth year, saying that he said all he had to say. History does not repeat itself. Ivan Antonovski is along a good poetic road, one which he will not abandon” – says the noted Serbian poet Zoran Pesic-Sigma, at the same period.
And so it did. In the years that followed, the works by Antonovski grew with meteoric speed. Those who followed his word would say it was like a volcano erupting. And with the increase of the creative volume, came the increase in the number of translations, in several European languages, and the number of literary awards received by the poet. Several years later, with the publication of the poetic book “Shrieks from an unexcavated grave”, which, same as the previous one, was published in Macedonian in two editions in only several months, in front of the literary audience, Antonovski stands as a poet who has constructed a poetics different from the other young Macedonian poets, as an author who with his works, develops tasty meta-polemics with great addresses to world works of art, as a creator whose voice has matured early, is unique and acoustic enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the great writings of Macedonian poetry from the 20th and 21st century. As the university professor Vesna Mojsova-Chepishevska states, in this book of poetry, he manifests movement away from the sphere of high modernism (subjects such as muteness and despair in front of the horrors of history, questions of ethics and the lack of the transcendental) towards the postmodern horizon where human death echoes and the end of a historical civilization, and where the technological immoralism begins, i.e. the same mundaneness where the power forms the interest, and the interest forms the truth. “The shrieks of Antonovski appear here as cybernetic extension of memory, a perfected form, which draws its illusion of authenticity from the hope that they are strong and immortal as a platonic form, that with them he can bridge the gap of history, both the individual and the collective, to walk off or finish walking the trusted road towards the lost time, which most of the time is not heavenly”.
Furthermore, in the latest creative phase as a poet, Antonovski separates himself from the young Macedonian poets, as the only one who is dedicated to the Ars-Poetica and the numerous poetic dilemmas which it can produce. It is with his Ars-Poetical writing, that he draws the attention through the publications of his translated poetry in dozens of foreign languages.
However, Antonovski is not only a poet. He is a literary translator who has authored several translations, an anthologist who has written three anthologies, two of which have been published abroad, a literary scientist and most important – the single epitomized literary critic on the young Macedonian literary stage, who also has two books in the field of literary criticism and literary theory. “Every professor, during their working life, honestly hopes of meeting a student who is a real revelation, and from it stems my endless pleasure, having the satisfaction of having a student (Ivan Antonovski) for who I can say with certainty will mark not only his generation but also the decade – a student unlike any I have ever met in my three-decades long career at the Faculty of Philology in Skopje – notes the university professor Nina Anastasova – Shkrinjaric, before Antonovski finished his studies as the valedictorian at the Skopje university.
“…a brilliantly educated critic, who for his age, shows an inadequately high learning and knowledge, as well as critical maturity and courage to judge truly even his closest literary friends. He is the locomotive of his generation. When he created the anthology of young Macedonian poetry and prose The wind brings good weather, few were those who understood what he not only presents and brings forth to the light new literary values from the Macedonian literary (renewal), but also harnesses his luxurious talent and as a writer and as a critic, chains in to that literary composition, composed of various railway wagons and poetics. But still, he is the engine. And overall, we need to remember that the evolution of every national literary organism has rested (always) upon individuals, who tried to create movement from their artistic work.  Ivan Antonovski is not at all different from that matrix: from his powerful, dark, bitter poetry, he tries to create a whole generation, of which he is aware that the one thing they (the generation) have in common is their uniqueness” – states the university professor and famous Macedonian writer Venko Andonovski. The university professor Jasna Kotevska follows this statement, and notes herself that Ivan Antonovski is a cohesive factor of the young Macedonian poetry stage.
Nevertheless, his recognizable aspect, both as a literary critic and as a literary scientist, stems from the fact that the largest parts of his critical texts and scientific works, as well as his essays, contain an analysis and deliberation of the contemporary Macedonian literary stage and Macedonian cultural space, teasing a new entrance into the Macedonian literary history. Antonovski is seen as an individual who with his critical and scientific works, raises questions which none before dared to ask in the Macedonian literary space.
To the Macedonian public, Antonovski is also knows as a columnist and a former editor of several mediums dedicated to literature and culture.