On 24 May at 19:00 hrs, Maro Pitarević’s collection of poetry Naïve Art will be presented at the National Museum of Modern Art. This is the fourth book by the poet, polyglot and advertising expert from Zagreb, whose father is from Dubrovnik, and who has been writing poetry for more than two decades. His fist book Harlequin was published in 1996 for which he has won the best debut award by the Croatian Writers’ Association. Alongside the author, his latest collection of love poetry will be presented by the reviewers Branko Franceschi, art historian and director of the National Museum of Modern Art, and director and screenwriter Hrvoje Hribar. The poetry reading will be performed by theatre director Krešimir Dolenčić and actress Petra Kraljev, and the event will be moderated by journalist Milan Majerović – Stilinović.   

… Maro is aware of an entire cluster of meanings around Naïve art, so at the outset the title correctly points us towards the formal simplicity of its lyricism and the focus on the theme of love, which the majority of the audience expects and assumes when it comes to poetry. Naïve art is dedicated to everyday infatuation, both in the urban setting, in the first book, and the small town milieu, in the second. Building on the visual arts vocabulary, the poems are quick and compact, executed in a few strokes like a precise croquis, always with a steady rhythm and specific linguistic images. … Branko Franceschi   

Anyone who has ever fallen in love will recognise these thoughts, these emotions, this vulnerability, fragility and surrender. A state of wonder and foolhardiness that can only be caused by love, as well as the experiences of smell, taste and perception that are intensified by this special emotional state. … Gaela Gottwald    

This is a collection of love poems by a man who is mature and does not calculate, who does not engage in playacting, who knows he is head over heels in love, and is completely honest, who has experienced everything and has drawn lessons from it, who stands wounded at times, and forthrightly says I love you I cannot live without you. … Edo Majka   

With almost performative gestures, Maro Pitarević confronts love as a bulwark, or an island, that would protect the Two of Them in the world. Love as a daily occurrence and poetry as a linguistic obstacle are assurances of human durability. … Siniša Labrović   

Maro is one of those fanatics for whom verses are like moving, breathing, speaking or crying. He is a repository of verses, and its valve has to be released from time to time to prevent explosion, otherwise his work colleagues would have to call 112 emergency services because the entire marketing agency would collapse from the force of versepressure. …  Željko Žutelija

These poems written in dialect are witty, accurate, clear, and all because the dialect comes from a locality, and this locality is neither urban nor complicated. For example, could “Popevke sam slagal” (“I Composed Songs”) be translated into the language of a contemporary, urban man without pathos? I doubt it. That is why these dialect poems are actually archetypal like Greek tragedy, precise as an electron microscope, visually impressive, so much so I cannot decide which is my favourite. Each could be made into a short film. … Ana Tonković Dolenčić

Translated by: Robertina Tomić
Photo: From the National Museum of Modern Art's archives © National Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb, 2022

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