Drago Štambuk – 2020 Tin Ujević laureate

Drago Štambuk – 2020 Tin Ujević laureate

This year’s ‘Tin laureate’, on:


“I feel extremely honored that my poetic expression brings me closer to a more orderly and brilliant cosmic consciousness,” said Dr. Drago Stambuk, doctor, poet, essayist, translator and diplomat, to . He received a Croatian Writers’ Association (DHK) award a few days ago. The committee of the DHK’s Tin Ujević Award reviewed the best of his poetry between May 2019 and May 2020, as well his ‘Angel with a Torch, Atahualpa’, a collection of poems.

“I feel the need to emphasize that as a native of Brač, I see Ujević as my mother’s brother, just like Nazor. Tin was an authentic island descendant who understood its insular separation from the world and the surrounding sea – as well as their external ingrowths into it. Islanders, I once said in a lecture in Japan, are vivified by two energy counter-currents: one is outward, and the other, inward – this delivers both a microcosmic and macrocosmic flow, that together vitalize an island’s personality”.

“To sum up, Ujević was a magnificent island poet who monitored the Earth and its uncertain oscillations from Matokit in Vrgorac, and Vidovica on Brač. I am therefore extremely honored [as an island poet himself] to be acquainted with the works of someone who exhibited, with his poetry, a closeness to the higher order and the brilliant consciousness of the cosmos”, concluded Dr. Drago Štambuk for Narod.hr.

> Dr. Štambuk for : ‘The golden formula of the Croatian language strengthens the language from within, separating it from Vuk’s foundations and defending it from geopolitical overreach’ [Link to article in Croatian]

To put things in perspective, 76 new books of poetry arrived for the DHK competition this year, and Dr. Štambuk is this year’s ‘Tin laureate’,  by a unanimous decision of the DHK committee who judge for the Tin Ujević Award.

The publisher of his winning collection of poems, ‘Angel with a Torch, Atahualpa’ is the Tonimir Publishing House from Varaždinske Toplice.

The Tin Ujević Award ceremony was held on Sunday evening in poet Tin’s birth place in Vrgorac, in the presence of the Split-Dalmatia County Prefect and an envoy from the Ministry of Culture and the President of the Republic. Drago was presented with the award by the president of the DHK, Đuro Vidmarović, and the mayor of Vrgorac, Ante Pranić.

As Božica Jelušić said on behalf of the adjudicating committee, the award landed in the right hands, at the right time, to someone who shares with Ujević his love for the homeland, the freedom of research and the momentum of Vasionac [a poem by Ujević ], a sympathy for sick and broken souls, and above all, a passion for language, which he tastes like two drops of oil on a dish that he eats as if it is the greatest gift.

“This ceremony is a splendous poetic ceremony, let the festival light, lit by the poet’s hand, burn within us and radiate our gratitude for being able to gather around its splendor,” Jelušić told HRT.

Drago Štambuk, the ‘Tin laureate’

Drago Štambuk (born Selca, Brač, 1950) Croatian doctor, poet, essayist, translator and diplomat.

“With half a century of writing behind him, and the erudition of a European who embraces the whole world in its richness and diversity, his works testify to the fact that poetry is expansive and universal”, reads the summary of the DHK judging committee that voted for Štambuk to win the award.

“His completed, chiseled and holistic linguistic prose will translate well into any language, as it carries within it a secret of balance: feelings and thoughts harmonize and collaborate to form the experience and aesthetic. In reading it, the reader is endowed with striking imagery and grains of wisdom, which will affect the personal testimonies of their own experiences. His works exhibit a sense of detail and a sense of nuance, they form a lyrical cobweb which sometimes illuminate, a coarse stone, or reflect the shimmer of the sea. These associations remain when we put together the themes of his collections and they compel us to return to that favorite page.”

“In this sense he is the guardian of a true, pure poetry which easily reaches the measure of classicism. On a linguistic level it is alert, irritable, inventive and always ready to coin that new phrase. It is picturesque, expectant and distinctive. It is close to its source, his native Chakavian language and it incorporates the Shtokavian idiom as well, Latin too. In fact, it includes ever other semantic core that has enriched his own tongue. It is known that Drago Štambuk, is the legator of the golden formula ‘ČA-KAJ-ŠTO’, and that this has received official recognition after his thirty years of holding the Croatia Rediviva; poetry review in Selca on Brač. At at the end of last year Croatia Rediviva received an exceptional recognition – it was added to the National List of Intangible Heritage items of the Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Croatia. The review’s winners, the ‘oliveati ’, include Drago Štambuk, and today their names form a constellation of the most brilliant Croatian poetic . All of them were chosen by their peers, also renowned authors, their destiny sealed by the weight of the words of their pen.”

“In the context of the poets of his generation, Štambuk achieved renown with his anthology INSULAE (1981) for which he gathered 12 then ‘promising’ poets. With it he put the wind in their sails to journey them onward to fruitful literary and scientific careers. These they developed in, despite the fact that they were not, themselves, formally followed by critics, magazines and cultural forums. Essentially, though, they remained ‘insulars’ even with the guidance of their anthologist. He himself continued his career as a doctor, humanitarian and diplomat, but in his soul he remained faithful to his first elementary vocation and mission. The poet is, as d’Aurevilly said, “that great and rare being, who is inevitably short-lived”. But it is precisely in the outline of his destiny, in his gift, care and devotion to poetry, that we can see his chance to outlive his time and stretch his legacy to the boundaries of eternity. ”

“By the unanimous decision of the jury of the Tin Ujević Award for 2020, Štambuk’s poetry collection, ‘Angel with a torch, Atahualpa’, published by the Tonimir Publishing House from Varaždinske Toplice, was selected. We will say that it is not only a celebrated ‘book of the year’, like any other, but that through the author’s persistent inspiration, it radiates the essence of a poetic skill developed over half a century. In his work, the author’s presents an intimate map, in which historical layers intertwine and in which he questions codes of civilization, the meaning of suffering, the search for truth and the ultimate need for catharsis, in order for humanity to re-experience the light of hope and its own affirmation. Only a poet chosen by Muses can utter such difficult and complex themes with such measures of elegance, in which we also recognize a following in Ujević’s vivid footsteps. ”




Stambuk Association – Selca, Island of Brac, Croatia
OIB 55907686126
e-mail: info@stambuk.hr