Evelina Rudan

Croatia

Evelina Rudan, Croatian poet and scholar, was born on September 4, 1971 in Pula. She graduated in Croatian Studies and South Slavic Philology from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, where she also received her PhD in oral literature, and currently teaches at Croatian Studies Department. Her poetry is represented in several panoramas and anthologies of contemporary Croatian poetry, and some of her poems have been translated into Slovenian, Czech, English, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch language. She was awarded  Drago Gervais Prize in 2007 for the manuscript collection of poems Breki and Ćuki. Apart from this collection, she has also published the following poetry collections, both in Croatian and in Čakavian (Chakavian) dialect: Sve ča mi rabi ovega prolića/ All I Need This Spring (2000), Posljednja topla noć/ The Last Warm Night (2002., together with Slađan Lipovec and Denis Peričić), Uvjerljiv vrt/ A Convincing Garden, in an electronic, bilingual Croatian/ English edition (2003), Breki i ćuki / Dogs and Owles (2008), and Pristojne ptice/ Decent Birds (2008). In addition to them, she has laso published a picturebook (illustrated by Sven Nemet) Little Prince's Dream  (2010). In 2016 her monography Vile s Učke. Žanr, kontekst, izvedba i nadnaravna bića predaja. (Fairies from Učka. Genre, Context, Performance and supernatural Beings of Legends) was published. She also leads poetry workshops for elementary school "Čitaj!" ("Read!").


Characterized by its ludistic character and playful attitude toward language and reality, Evelina Rudan poetry occupies a rather distinctive and recognizable position within highly diversified body of contemporary Croatian poetry. First of all, it bears witness to poet's ability to employ both language variants to the same purpose – writing poetry. What is so new about Rudan's approach to language and poetry? On one hand, her dialectal poetry, as opposed to a  good part of the corresponding contemporary practices, retained a distinct 'awareness of poetry writing, not only of the dialect' (Milorad Stojević) and its, now considerably worn out traditions. On the other hand, it distances itself from until recently the dominant matrix of Chakavian poetic idioms, so called textualism practised by so called the 'Kvarner Trefoil (Ivan Rogić Nehajev, Ljubomir Stefanović i Milorad Stojević)'. It is also a kind of poetry that successfully and critically corresponded with the dominant 'standard model' of young poetry, labelled 'stvarnosna poezija' ( neorealist poetry), that found its foothold in current transitional reality of the 1990s. The point of departure for Rudan's poetry is its constant dialogue(s) with various traditions and poetics, which she incorporates in her poems to either pay homage to her favorite authors, or to ironize or play with her own experience as filtered through someone else’s poetry, very often to a humoristic effect, a rare phenomenon in contemporary Croatian poetry. This feature of playfulness and correspondence with reality, mostly from her intimate, family surroundings, has come into full effect in her last poetry collection Decent Birds, from 2008, dominated by the poetization of mundane reality, which denies the usage of corresponding, colloquial language forms emptied of meaning but employs various discoursive practices, both from oral and literary traditions of fairy tales, folk tales, anegdotes, etc. Very often she deliberately fails to conform to reader's expectations and takes her poem's ending to unpredictable and unknown realms of imagination. In the end, between the proclaimed 'simplicity' and the text itself, language masterly interferes with its constantly growing heritage, making this unpretentiously 'simple' book of poetry inexhaustibly open to new and new readings. This is one of the best Croatian poetry books in the new millennium.