Poet, essayist, translator, and editor Nikola Madzirov was born in 1973 in Strumica, in the family of Balkan Wars refugees. When he was 18, the collapse of Yugoslavia prompted a shift in his sense of identity. He reinvented himself as a writer in a country which felt new but was still nourished by deeply rooted historical traditions.
Madzirov’s poems have been translated into more than 40 languages. For the book Relocated Stone (2007), he received the international Hubert Burda poetry award for writers born in Central and Eastern Europe and the most prestigious Macedonian poetry award, Miladinov Brothers at Struga Poetry Evenings. Other recognitions include a Studentski Zbor award for best poetry debut, and a Xu Zhimo Silver Leaf award for European poetry at King’s College, Cambridge. American jazz composer Oliver Lake and Becca Stevens together with Michael League, have composed music based on his poems. His fellowships include the International Writing Program at University of Iowa, DAAD in Berlin, Marguerite Yourcenar in France, Civitella Ranieri in Italy, and Yaddo.
Madzirov is coordinator of the international poetry network Lyrikline, based in Berlin. He edited the Macedonian edition of the Anthology of World’s Poetry: XX and XXI Century and has translated works by Louise Glück, Yehuda Amichai, Ilya Kaminsky, Li-Young Lee, Vasko Popa, Georgi Gospodinov, Slavenka Drakulić, and many others.
At MacDowell, he developed a collection of poems and a script for a play/contemporary opera.
Portrait by Thomas Kierok