Miroslav Kirin

It’s impossible to resist starting this writing with an appropriate quoting: “Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a forest dark / For the straightforward pathway had been lost. / Ah me! How hard a thing it is to say / what was this forest savage, rough, and stern! / Which in the very thought renews the fear.” These are the well known lines from the first translation of “Inferno” to Chakavian done by Slavko Kalčić, that I read in Pazin. Pazin is, of course, everything but Dante’s vision of hell, rather its antithesis, except for dogs in Pazin that used to quite redirect my aleatoric walks through the town and its surroundings.

The dogs of Pazin: the silence of the starving stray dogs, like the ones from Bosch’s paintings, on the main square, unbelievably loud ones in private yards, paired barking from the kennels along the Potók stream.

Entering the House of Writers one notices two things – one door leading into the House and out on the street, the other is a way to the Imaginary (chasm, forest, Potók, birds, Dante, Jules Verne, poetry…). When I participated in public reading in May during the International Publishers Meeting “Journey to the Centre of Europe”, that also granted me a fellowship, I realised that Pazin was a town to my liking, that I could start living here without hesitation. Simple town centre with a standard number of cafés, relaxed people, a town park (that enchanted me with its botanical diversity, since breadfruit tree grows next to cornel tree and chestnut next to ginkgo…). I’m still discovering it on a daily basis, although the last day of my month’s stay here is approaching. During the time I shared the House with my wife, we thoroughly explored villages assembled around medieval churches. The host at the tourist office treated us with an appropriate name bisci (we used to order grappa with biska – mistletoes – from her). So, bisci were exploring Istria while reading the expert in the field, Branko Fučić.

Except for the nature, which yields to me singing every morning when I open the balcony door, Pazin is made up of people. A hardworking, secretive gardener, owner of a wonderful uptown garden; an artist and a blacksmith of elusive shapes, manufacturer of medals and enthusiast; the author of the guide book “Trees in urban space of Pazin” who pointed out the unique value of Pazin parks; SF lover and writer, initiator of a variety of different cultural happenings; employers of the Pazin Open University – my favourite hosts; my pathfinder (“putopelj” as coined by Slavko Kalčić) along the coasts of the stream Potók to the Pazianski krov waterfall and the old bridge, my fellow poet and Goran Award co-winner ; young girl selling goat’s curd on the market; the old lady offering me her rape tomatoes adding some peppers; intellectual waitresses for conversations on photography, poetry and philosophy; and the sequence is constantly chaining up. You can really write in the House, at least I could since, I hope, I succeeded in my intention to write the most of my future book on photography. And taking photographs? In Pazin? Only asleep I wasn’t taking photographs.

And the word (to describe the House)? Profoundness rather than clearness.

Miroslav Kirin, in Pazin July/August 2011