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Summer 2022: New books

Bolfek-Radovani, Jasmina, Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues, Tears in the Fence, Dorset: 2022.

Book Summary

Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s groundbreaking poetry collection Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues presents the reader with thirty-five multilingual poems in English, French and Croatian structurally interwoven with thirteen visual-textual fragments and three poems-tattoos or “tattooed” drawings through the narrative device of “enchâssement” (embedding). Using the universal languages of the heart/love/music/rhythm the author seamlessly transgresses borders and provides us with a poignant, evocative, and fully inclusive, immersive experience. The recurring tropes of falling, absence, and loss, and the evocation of a fourth “shadow language” signify the narrator’s displacement from ‘home’ and language, whilst at the same time questioning the identity discourses of nostalgia, belonging and exile. Here, the central image of the “knitting drum machines for exiled tongues” can be interpreted both as an innovative artistic practice allowing the revival of lost and / or exiled languages, and as an enabling device for the (re-)coding of multilingual language patterns in which “poetry of the mind breaks free”.

Readers are invited to scan a QR code to access additional content related to the Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues collection including a glossary, sound and video materials, and other resources (see sections below).

The book is available to buy through the Pay / Subscribe / Donate page.

Multilingual glossary

The multilingual glossary contains translations of all the Croatian and French words appearing in the Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues collection. The glossary (PDF format) is downloadable below.

Sound materials, videos 

*Listen to Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani reading the poem [at the beginning there was sea] appearing in the Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues collection. Published in Molly Bloom online, May 2020.

*Listen to Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s readings of the poems Heart monologues 1. and 13. appearing in Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues. Published in The Fortnightly Review, January 2022.

*View short video (2m48s) of “Heart monologues”.

The 30 min long multi-sensory recital “Heart monologues” took place at the Regent Street Cinema, London, 16 March 2022. It was based on Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s multilingual poem sequence Heart monologues 1. – 13. that is part of the Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues collection. It combined multilingual words of Jasmina’s poetry with recorded and live voices, sound, and musical track (“Heart Beat Monitor”, Biorhythms, 2000) by the composer and performer of live computer music Atau Tanaka who performed one of his more recent pieces “Myogram” (Meta Gesture Music, 2017) live on stage using embodied musical interaction technologies. The multilingual sound piece “Heart Coeur Srce” (1m19s) was streamed live during the recital between the poems Heart monologues 11 and 12.

Related essays, blog pieces by the author

essay “Unbound lines: writing in the space of the multilingual” first published in Balkan Poetry Today, March 2018. 

Additional information about the author and her work

More information about the author, her work, and activities can be found on Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani’s personal website here.


instagram: @jbolfekradovani