Conversation with Desanka Nikolova, poet: Today there are many authors, but few poets and writers

Desanka Nikolova / Photo: Private archive

Before the "Literary Sparks" International Poetry Festival, we talk Macedonian with the poetess Desanka Nikolova, MSc, employed in the Book Department of the Ministry of Culture.

What do you expect from the international poetry festival "Literary sparks" in which you will participate? Do we miss more poetry festivals?

- For me, the international poetry festival "Literary Sparks" is one of the most prestigious poetry festivals in Macedonia, side by side with Racino meetings, Struga evenings of poetry and several others. I expect an unforgettable spark, powerful lyrical creations born from the poet's pens that will enrich the Macedonian poetic treasury and leave lasting values ​​in Macedonian poetry. In the wealth of verses with different poetic preoccupations, I expect messages to be sent that will reach readers. As for whether we need more poetry festivals, my view is that we need more quality poetry festivals. We have enough poetic and literary manifestations in general, but quality is lacking. About 45 literary events are financed only through the Ministry of Culture of the Annual Competitions, but the quality does not always come to the fore. I will mention that many local literary clubs also make attempts for poetic manifestations and it is good that there are such initiatives for nurturing the beautiful written word and preserving and nurturing the Macedonian language. But we definitely lack quality poetry festivals.

As a Velesh woman, my weakness is Racin's encounters and everything related to Racin's name. Unfortunately, both this and last year were underestimated by the outgoing minister and a great injustice was done to the Annual Competitions for financing projects of national interest. At the expense of that, poetry festivals were forced that have no tendency for long-term sustainability. I hope that in the future this will change and we will have more quality poetry festivals such as "Literary Sparks", "Racin's Meetings", "Strushki Evenings", "Poet's Night in Velestovo", "Karaman's Meetings" and others.

"Macedonianization" with two collections of poems are your eighth and ninth collections of poems, which are "a poetic manifesto to hear and convey the message that is woven into the lyrics." What is the message and who has it reached so far?

- Macedonianization is the resurrection and preservation of everything Macedonian, the Macedonian language, Macedonian culture and tradition, Macedonian identity, Macedonian spiritual values. The songs in "Macedonstvvanje" are Macedonian woven into verses. Every verse is a fight for Macedonia. I am glad that the lyrics found their way and reached many. The verses from "Macedonianization" are recited in schools, at various events, but what makes me particularly happy is that this love for Macedonia embraces the Macedonians in the diaspora with the same fervor. "Macedonian" reached our people in Switzerland, Germany, Australia, America and in Croatia.

Desanka Nikolova / Photo: Private archive

How does the poet protect the Macedonian language today? What challenges does it face?

- We poets are the most worthy guardians of the Macedonian language. We guard and defend it with the most powerful weapon - the word, the beautiful Macedonian word. I speak Macedonian and that's how I make my contribution. I am sorry to state that many of the poets, wanting to follow the postmodern trends, succumb to influences that will always be foreign to me. It is good to have an evaluation of the verse, of the thought, of the form, but not in the direction of destroying the language. Poetry is breaking rules, but not spelling, not using internationalisms. Our Macedonian language is gorgeous and beautiful and the choice should always be from the Macedonian corpus. And always, before publishing a poetic work, a proofreader should be consulted. The very fact that poetry is a challenge also brings many challenges. Today there are many authors, but few poets and writers.

What initiatives are expected to result from the implementation of the new Macedonian Language Law?

- The initiative has already come about with the passing of the new Law on the Macedonian language. I expect the provisions of the Law to be respected in the direction of the protection, promotion and enrichment of the Macedonian standard language and its Cyrillic script. I expect the correct use of the Macedonian standard language and its Cyrillic script in the process of upbringing and in all levels of education. Correct use and correct pronunciation of the Macedonian standard language in the means of mass communication, especially through the media registered in the Republic, in accordance with the Law. Increased social and individual concern for the correct use of the Macedonian standard language and its Cyrillic script in public and official communication. Avoiding foreign expressions and loanwords and replacing them with appropriate terms from the Macedonian lexicon and phraseology. Correct use of the Macedonian standard language in the legislative, judicial and executive authorities, as well as in legal entities established by the Constitution and by law in mutual communication. Pointing out and removing linguistic inconsistencies and irregularities in the use of the Macedonian language. Continuous trainings for the correct use of the Macedonian language for employees in: cultural, educational, educational, scientific and professional establishments and institutions, state and public administration, courts and in the media, etc. I expect that Article 7 of the Law on the Macedonian Language will be respected and applied and that everything it stipulates will be proofread. Only in this way can we say that we care about the Macedonian language.

Desanka Nikolova / Photo: Private archive

What do you expect from the new Minister of Culture?

- From the new Minister of Culture, not only me but also all the employees of the Ministry of Culture, we expect to finally resolve the issue for which the previous ministers did not show understanding, signing a Collective Agreement within the first hundred days of the appointment. Only with motivated employees working in an organization where there is a positive organizational climate and culture, which, unfortunately, does not exist, results can be expected and reforms implemented. After signing the Collective Agreement, I expect reforms in the direction of improvement and stabilization of cultural policies. I honestly believe that the concept that was a pre-election program will be a government program, in that direction and the part for culture, Program of the Ministry of Culture. Fundamental reforms are needed both in the ministry itself, but also in everything that means culture so that culture can get its true meaning.

What can we expect next from your poetry workshop?

- The new edition of "Makedonistvvanje" will be released very soon. The novel for children and young people "Mark of Recognition" and the picture book "Lina Ballerina" are waiting for the light of day. Maybe something else too. It is unknown. I have inspiration. I create.

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