Freedom to travel, cultural diversity, the autonomy of the cultural scene, and last but not least, rock 'n' roll – those seemed to be the big promises given to today's generation of fiftysomethings in Tito's Yugoslavia and that created a sense of belonging to the world. The feelings of the protagonists from that time were a mix of confidence, high spirits, and rebellion. The best way to express these sentiments were rock 'n' roll and poetry – especially the early poetry of Zvonko Karanović. One turned one's back on provincial life and traded it in for the urban experience, theoretically and practically, in poetry as in life.
Then struck disillusionment – in the country that was breaking apart, politically and culturally, the majority fled itself into a conservative utopia – for them the big future lay in evoking a glorious and ethnically defined past. Zvonko Karanović refused to lend his voice to this choir of the masses, and marched on to the beat of his own drum. Hence his poetry, out of necessity, became more and more marginalised during the decade of the disintegrating wars. Yet growing interest in his poetry – from New York, over London, to Kiev – shows, that the world is ready to welcome home a Serbian citizen of the world.
The bilingual poetry selection Burn, baby, burn [Burn, Baby, Burn] by Zvonko Karanović was edited by Dragoslav Dedović and translated from the Serbian (excerpt) by Alida Bremer and Matthias Jacob. It was published by Drava in Klagenfurt.