Davor Ivankovac

Croatia

(1984) was born and raised in Vinkovci, Croatia. The young, award-winning author writes poetry, prose and literary criticism. He has published three poetry books: Rezanje magle (Cutting through the fog, 2012), Freud na Facebooku (Freud on Facebook, 2013) and Doba bršljana (Season of the ivy, 2018). His work was included in several Croatian and foreign anthologies and his poems appeared in English, German, Italian, French, Romanian and Slovenian translation. More prestigious awards include „Goran for young poets“ (Freud na Facebooku) and „Lapis Histriae“ for short story Ponedjeljak (Monday). He lives in the east of Croatia, splitting his time between Nuštar and Vukovar, where he works as a librarian. 


Ivankovac started to write and publish rather late; only after completing his studies in language and literature. But then he debuted with two poetry books basically at the same time, winning two manuscript prizes in the same year: “Goran for young poets” for Freud na Facebooku (Freud on Facebook) and “Drenovci competition” for Rezanje magle(Cutting through the fog). The books appeared in 2012 and 2013, and the first one was awarded again, this time with the “Kvirin” annual, for the best book of a young author. In the meantime Ivankovac focused himself to the short fiction, winning “Lapis Histriae” prize, and criticism, that he regularly publishes in Croatian and regional press. 

Fraud on Facebook tightens between lyrical tone and penetrating, sheer irony, possibly even cynicism. It situates the week subject within the whirlwind of the alienated, digital communication, media simulacrum and the virtual world, and brings it in the juxtaposition with everyday reality of the rural, continental small town Croatia buried in snow, mud and fog. 

“Davor’s auto-references are not boring and pretentious. The reason is simple: all other functions of the poem language are compressed inside. The appellative, the pragmatic one, etc... But, what is most important for the realization of the poetic scripture of a kind: it keeps and affirms that very ultimate and key one for writing poetry – the poetic function”, the critic Nikola Petković writes. Furthermore, the local landmarks and customs in these poems slowly merge, breeding the mud of body and territory, within which, for the protagonist, the individual freedom outside poetry becomes hard to imagine. Ivankovac decides to fight for the “freedom from” – or, the emancipation. 

Critic Slađan Lipovec will sum poet’s strategies as follows: “Ivankovac’s poetry text is the space of immersion in different dimensions of reality, from personal to virtual and literary one, and then inevitably to the social and historical one, which is addressed with uncompromising fierceness, but also with the necessary suggestiveness of the poetic language."

After five year’s break, Ivankovac has recently come up with the new, his third poetry book, entitled Doba bršljana(Season of the ivy, 2018). The media universe, “fake news” and digital civilization are still present, but they don’t dominate: as if the protagonist sees them as cold facts now, developing strategies to put them in brackets and to dedicate himself to the phenomenological reduction that thrills him more. The predominant tone is far more lyrical, less referential, but even more gloomy, vibrant and precise in its clarity when painting the scenes from the everyday of the eastern, agricultural regions. 

Ivankovac doesn’t just observe the world around him; he declares its diagnose, he wants to change it: “Always, especially in the new poems, I’m trying to be politically engaged”, he noted in a recent interview. The fight for freedom, in poetry and in everyday life, is a continuous process, sort of a permanent revolution. Within that process, often we need to outgrow ourselves. That’s why: “It seems to me that identity always restricts and narrows the horizons, because it is constructed through the denial of the Other and the Other's share in oneself, which I do not like as a reader, nor as a writer. Everything that pressures me within certain fixed borders is not close to me, I don’t find it pleasant”, the poet says. 

Ivankovac’s poems appeared in English, German, Italian, French, Romanian and Slovenian translation, in various printed and online magazines, as well as in the anthologies of the young Croatian poetry.