Crvena mora (“Red Seas”) is the twenty-first book by poet, pastoral theologian, commentator and chief editor of Živa zajednica magazine Adolf Polegubić. Born in Šibenik, Polegubić is a member of the Croatian Writers’ Association who lives and works in the German city of Frankfurt am Main. Polegubić is the recipient of a Croatian Heritage Foundation literary prize for his monograph Dušobrižništvo za Hrvate u Njemačkoj (“The Pastoral Care of Croatians in Germany”) published in 2017 as part of the eminent Diaspora Croatica series.
Poet, pastoral theologian, commentator and chief editor of the magazine Živa zajednica (“The Living Community”) Adolf Polegubić has published Crvena mora (“Red Seas”) his twenty-first book. This latest addition to his literary oeuvre features sixty spiritual poems presented in four thematic sections: Ispuni ovaj vrč (“Fill this Pitcher”), Za Gospodnji blagoslov (“For the Lord’s Blessing”), Zvona u tuđini (“Bell’s in Foreign Lands”) and Veći i od svemira (“Greater than the Cosmos”). The poems were selected by the book’s editor Vladimir Lončarević. Polegubić’s latest book is published by Glas Koncila as volume no. 19 of its Forma Viva series, with illustrations by Bernardo Ramonfaur (www.shutterstock.com).
Since the appearance of his collection Pripadati (“To Belong”) in 1988, Polegubić (1962) has taken his place in the mainstream of Croatian poetry, but not simply as one carried by its waters, but rather as a truly unique and independent poetic personality. Part of a generation of writers of poetry that established itself against the background of Croatian spiritual poetry in the late 1980s and 1990s (J. S. Rabar, M. Stojić, I. Talaja, Ž. Šemper, I. Čuvalo), Polegubić has developed his own, original poetic language. The semantic and expressive strength of his poetic discourse as a whole, as well as its spiritual potency, is grounded in two aspects: Polegubić is possessed of and has developed his poetic gift, and nourishes it through the Word, which permeates his text: “and Your word touched me / so carefully, lightly, / figuratively, melodically, / smiling and relaxed (Your word touched me); today I wrote a poem … and it humbly / praised the Creator / in the strokes of a pen (they found nothing)”.
In his foreword Vladimir Lončarević notes that, “Polegubić expresses his narrative in free verse; minimalist in his description, but rich in association. His poetic language is compact, firm, at times piercing, but also melodic, delicate and gentle, at times nostalgic, but never apprehensive or rancorous. Quite the opposite: we will find in his work gentle words / that softly tread (the cutting word) that will lead anyone who seeks him to god. It is not incumbent upon poets simply to inspire amazement; poets also push boundaries / and scream at injustice // their voice echoes / reaching out to god // for themselves they seek / only a cogent meaning / and depth of expression // if we did not have them poets / the world would be bereft of a conscience / the body bereft of consciousness // and words bereft of the force / that reaches the heart … That truly reaches.”
An essay writer, poet and translator, Adolf Polegubić has found his home in Germany for the past two decades. He is a member of the Croatian Writers’ Association. Born in Šibenik in 1962, he went to university in Zagreb and achieved a doctorate in Vienna before settling in the German city of Frankfurt am Main. He is the chief editor of Živa zajednica, a monthly magazine for Croatian Catholic missions and communities in Germany headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. This is the twenty-first book he has published, among which are a raft of collections of poetry in Croatian (Pripadati (“To Belong”), Zagreb, 1988; Korablja (“The Ark”), Zagreb, 1991; Tragovi, Lepuri (“Traces, Lepuri”), 2002; Boja plavetnila: Frankfurtski fragmenti (“The Colour of Blueness: Frankfurt Fragments”), Zagreb, 2006; and Kolijevka od kamena (“A Cradle of Stone”), Zagreb, 2013), and one collection of poetry in German (Herbstspuren (“Traces of Autumn”), translated by Kristina Kovačević (Norderstedt, 2013). Polegubić’s oeuvre includes as further dozen volumes in the domain of pastoral theology, spirituality, and journalism. He has received multiple awards for his scholarly, publicist and literary production. In 2019 his tetralogy Vršak osmijeha (“The Tip of the Smile”), Snatrenja (“Reverie”), Poput Giottova kruga (“Like Giotto’s Circle”) and Ogrlicom od kamena (“Necklace of Stone”) won the eminent Friar Lucijan Kordić Prize presented by the Croatian Writers’ Association and publisher ZIRAL. Polegubić is also the recipient of a prize awarded by the Croatian Heritage Foundation for his monograph Dušobrižništvo za Hrvate u Njemačkoj (“The Pastoral Care of Croatians in Germany”). The monograph offers an encouraging and comprehensive overview of missions among the Y generation and was published in 2017 as part of the eminent Diaspora Croatica series of the Croatian Pastoral Office based in Frankfurt am Main. (R.P.)