Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Serbian edition of The Zoo Father with illustrations: Belgrade Poetry Festival

This is the cover of the Serbian edition of The Zoo Father, published by Treci Trg and launched at the Belgrade International Festival of Poetry, May 30 – June 3, which Treci Trg also organised. I was astonished when my translator Milan Dobricic emailed me the images designed by Dragana Nikolic. She seems to have captured the spirit of my book and to have added something extra. There was an exhibition of the cover and the eleven illustrations during the four-day festival.

Apart from the chance to visit Belgrade, which I'd not seen before, this was also an opportunity for me to listen to the other guest poets, and make new discoveries, such as Vladimir Martinovski from Macedonia and Turkish poet Gokcenur C, both so fresh they made me want to write then and there, if the programme hadn't lasted until the early hours each night. Martinovski is not yet translated into English but he should be.

The Zoo Father, which was published in the UK by Seren in 2001, is currently out of stock but about to be reprinted and made available as an e-book. It has also been published in Mexico in a bilingual Spanish/English edition by the publisher El Tucan de Virginia in 2004.

 Illustration for 'The Strait-Jackets'

 'The Strait-Jackets' to read the poem in English click here

 Illustration for 'My Father's Voice'

 Illustration for 'King Vulture Father'

 'King Vulture Father'

 Illustration for 'Trophy'


 Illustration for 'My Octopus Mother'

Illustration for 'My Father's Clothes'


  1. If there were my book I'd be in tears. These illustrations are extraordinary! I just love what the artist did with Straight Jackets but they're all brilliant.

    1. yes Lois! I was. She's very young too, but has completely got into what the book was doing, the enriching and transformation, the jungle as positive power, colour as beauty to change the ugliness. They encourage me to write more, which I am with my sixth book, though Paris not Amazon, as the 'jungle'. x

  2. Wonderful, wonderful book!!!
    My actual research is about the relationship between woman writting and their fathers. Your book The zoo father is very good; it's awsome, acid, painful... It remembered me Silvia Plath.
    I would like to know if there is some autobiographical issue inside this poem collection.
    Thank you very much.
    Linda Berrón

  3. Hi Linda,

    Yes The Zoo Father is autobiographical. It is based on my childhood, and the reappearance of my father after disappearing for 35 years, the miracle of that, then the difficulty of spending time with him during the two years that followed. He was dying of emphysema, which is why he contacted me. The book is based on fact, but the Amazon is brought in to help me 'love' him, or at least enter a bearable dialogue with him. I was not always able to go and visit him in Paris, as I found it too hard. During that time, my mother died and left a trunk of letters for me to open, see 'King Vulture Father' poem. Some of the revelations in there were devastating.