Mitko Gogov

North Macedonia

Mitko Gogov was born on 11 November 1983, in Skopje, Macedonia. He writes poetry, short stories, essays and journal articles. He also writes haiku, senryu, renga and publishes them on the microblogging network twitter. His works have been translated and published in numerous anthologies, poetry books and journals for art and literature in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Egypt, USA, Argentina, Russia, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, Greece, Bulgaria… 

He has authored two books: Ice-cold Water, 2011 and Hidden Scripture, 2019 published by the publishing house Antolog. He has won several awards and recognitions including: “Enhalon” presented by the Struga Poetry Evenings; “Angelo La Vecchia” Prize in Sicily, Italy; Prizes at the “Poetic Literary Sparks”; “Poetry Slam” in Prilep; “Struga Waves” in Struga and many more. 

He is the president of the association for cultural development and protection of the cultural heritage “Context – Strumuca,”; An organizer of the global poetry event “100 Thousand Poets for Change”; A representative of the World Union of Poets and the School of Poetry – Macedonian Delegation; One of the founders of the “Antevo Slovo” and “Antevo Pero” Awards; Editor of strumicaonline.net and reper.net.mk. 

He is a conceptual artist and has had several exhibitions, installations, performances, scenography and multimedia projects in Norway, France, Italy, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria… He organizes cultural and art events, collaborates with youth, art, film and theatre festivals. He is a blogger, always open for communication. 


An essay on Mitko Gogov’s poetry

(with excerpts from the reviews by Jasna Koteska, Slavica Gadzova Sviderska, Aco Gogov, Katica Kulavkova, Vladimir Martinovski, Aleksandra Jurukovska, Dragana Evtimova and Emilija Matanchikova.)

 

 

            The aesthetic value of Gogov’s poetry comes from the interference of the immanent literary factors and the meanings and implications which emanate from the context, bringing a new picture of the modern world, which is put in a precise perspective, examined and reevaluated. The nucleus in Mitko Gogov’s poetry is the tiny, the miniscule, the seemingly insignificant, whose image raises questions and ideas about “the big” – life, existence, the world, the universe. One of the dominant characteristics of Gogov’s poetry is the high level of metaphoricality; the dense, multilayered, polyvalent metaphor, connected with the surprising, unusual and at times shocking poetic image, as a strategy to comprehend and give meaning to the meaningless world. His metaphoricality is in perfect union with the narrative sequences of the poems which call our attention to human temporality and transience, and are in a dialogue with the lyrical present atemporale, which addresses the atemporal, eternal questions. Mitko Gogov’s lyrical poetry places the lyrical I in the position of homo ludens. It has limitless power to play with the natural phenomena – fire, water, air; to explore the urban topography of unexpected perspectives; to discover the space as a playing space where the elements of reality are arranged according to new, poetic laws. The verses are a projection of his multimedia profile in his writing, of that basic principle in his works. Conceptuality is his distinctive mark, a quality of his creative identity, demonstrating the virtue of engaging with innovations and exploring the poetic expression. 

 Gogov establishes himself as a mature author with developed poetics and esthetics, and although his poems are conceived and born in the lyrical, they strive towards the philosophical and the metaphysical. The author, emphasizing the moment of writing, rewriting, writing down and, text in general, focuses his attention on the subject matter of time and temporality, or in other words, the poetic subject torn between the finite and the eternal. The lyrical subject in Gogov’s poetry is constantly found between the awareness about his own impermanence and mortality and the awareness about the eternity he carries within him, or, as the author says, the earthly mandalas, or the image of the (finite) world and the angelic fractals, or the Divine in the human. He writes about pain and suffering, about loneliness and the yearning for the (un)attainable Other. However, the author suggests that sinking within ourselves, which is inevitably tied up with the urge for (self)destruction of the contemplative subject and the sensitive subject, should be turned into a moment of creation.  A significant characteristic of Gogov’s poetry consists of the fact that the lyrical subject in his poetry is most often a plural “We”, or the attention is focused on the lyrical “You”, or more precisely, addressing it. The “I” subject appears in the intimist poems, and is by no means exaggerated, or pathetic: he is mellow, dissolved in his search for the Other; his shriek is silenced in the melancholy and turns into hope for “the kaleidoscopes of eternity” and their portals. 

Mitko Gogov’s poetry faces us with simultaneous discovering, unraveling, and hiding, concealing, which characterize good poetry: the poems unfold the hidden, somewhat forgotten, piled thoughts and memories, i.e. the personal, intimate, “secret” memories of the poet, and before our eyes those memories become ours as well. When we confide something that was previously hidden to someone (who is usually someone close), that act of sharing is the ultimate proof of closeness and trust. That closeness is what we feel when we read Mitko Gogov’s poems. An important and essential element of his works is the dedication to language and words, to sculpting his expression, which although is minimalist, is still lavishly accurate in its immersion and search for the poetic, metaphysical, perhaps even the magical layers of wordbeing. The verses in his poems roll in a controlled fashion between the ordinariness of the signified (most often everyday objects) and the infiniteness of the sign, leaving doors wide open to interpretation. Wrestling with the word reminds us of the faith in the magic function of poetry, but the poet himself too, who writes with the faith and hope to rediscover the feeble layers of language. What is particularly significant is the urge for personal word formation forms and coined words which gives the poems an ever deeper and more essential meaning: starseers, sungold, disquiet etc. Mitko Gogov’s poetics explains that there are no limits to how far any of us can go on our own path to comprehending and pondering on reality with a verse. 

Gogov is aware and dedicated to developing his own style, the power a poem has, poetry in general, and it seems that he takes exactly that power as his poetic weapon in the battle with the moment’s transience: “Your poem is your courage.” This poetry, which floats metaphorically on the waves of reflexivity, but also through metonymy, or to be more precise, through its synecdochal character (as part of a whole, where for instance, the existence of a single hair gives presence to the head of hair, to the girl), brings freshness to the young wave of Macedonian poetry.