Nikola Madzirov

Acclaimed Macedonian Poet & Translator



"The poems of Nikola Madzirov are similar in quality to the poems of the Nobel Prize winner Tomas Tranströmer. They are genuine and open; they put up no barriers to empathy and concentration. Their cosmos is only infused with detonations. Madzirov searches for a feeling of being at home that no longer requires walls." —Der Spiegel

"Madzirov's poems move mysteriously by means of a profound inner concentration, giving expression to the deepest laws of the mind. Their linguistic "making" is informed by a vivid evidence of a serious self-making, soul-making, and heart-making." —Li-Young Lee

"Madzirov's poems are like Expressionist paintings: filled with thick, energetic streaks they seem to emerge from the imagination and to return to it right away, like night animals caught in the headlights of a car. 'We are the remnants of another age'—Nikola Madzirov succeeds in convincing us." —Adam Zagajewski


I liked Madzirov's poetry immensely - its candor, its invention, its darkness. It is like discovering a new planet in the solar system of the imagination. —Mark Strand


Nikola Madzirov is one of the most powerful voices of the new European poetry. He was born in a family of Balkan Wars refugees in 1973 in Strumica, Macedonia. His award-winning poetry has been translated into thirty languages and published in collections and anthologies in US, Europe, and Asia. In 2011 BOA Editions published a selection of his poetry in the US titled Remnants of Another Age. In the foreword, Carolyn Forché tells us, "Madzirov calls himself 'an involuntary descendant of refugees,' referring to his family's flight from the Balkan Wars a century ago: his surname derives from mazir or majir, meaning 'people without a home.' The ideas of shelter and of homelessness, of nomadism, and spiritual transience serves as a palimpsest in these Remnants"—while Madzirov himself tells us in one of his poems, “History is the first border I have to cross.”

Review of Remnants of Another Age in World Literature Today

Review of Remnants of Another Age in Tottenville Review

For his poetry collection, Relocated Stone (2007), he received the Hubert Burda European Poetry Award for authors born in East Europe (the jury was chaired by Peter Handke and Michael Krüger), and the most prestigious Macedonian poetry prize Miladinov Brothers at Struga Poetry Evenings. For the book Locked in the City (1999), he was given the Studentski Zbor Award for the best debut, while for the collection of poems Somewhere Nowhere (1999) the Aco Karamanov prize. Based on his poetry, two short films were shot in Bulgaria and Croatia. The contemporary jazz composer and collaborator of Björk and Lou Reed, Oliver Lake, has composed music based on Madzirov's poems which was performed at the Jazz-Poetry Concert in Pittsburgh in 2008.

Interview with California Poetics

The Berlin International Literature festival wrote, "Madzirov's poetry is striking in its lightness. It plays with everyday objects, deconstructing their self-evident meanings and associations in order to question established thought patterns and explore new sensual worlds." In a recent interview, Madzirov said of his own work: “Silence and darkness are the two halves of the core of the universal code of understanding. In silence all sounds are equal, in the darkness all objects are the same. However, poetry opens new spaces for inhabiting by means of the words and the light of individuality....In order to be able to write it is necessary to travel both through the world and through yourself.”

Madzirov has participated at many international literary festivals and events in US, Latin America, and Europe and has received several international awards and fellowships such as International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa in US; Literarisches Tandem in Berlin; KultuKontakt fellowship in Vienna; Internationales Haus der Autoren in Graz; Literatur Haus NÖ in Krems; and Villa Waldberta in Munich. He is one of the coordinators of the world poetry network Lyrikline.

About REMNANTS OF ANOTHER AGE (Poetry, 2011)
Born 1973 in a family of Balkan Wars refugees, Nikola Madzirov's poetry has already been translated into thirty languages and published in collections and anthologies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Remnants of Another Age is his first full-length American collection and carries a foreword by Carolyn Forché who writes, "Nikola Madzirov's Remnants of Another Age is aptly titled, as these poems seem to spring from elsewhere in time, reflective of a preternaturally wise and attentive sensibility. As we read these poems, they begin to inhabit us, and we are the better for having opened ourselves to them. Madzirov is a rare soul and a true poet."