Book Review: Night Jasmine
Poetry Collection By Goran Gatalica
Vandana Parashar reviews poetry collection of Croatian poet Goran Gatalica
True to its name, this delightful multilingual book of selected haiku Night Jasmine by Goran Gatalica, tingles your senses and takes you to a heightened state of awareness despite all the chaos and uncertainty of present-day living. Gatalica, very delicately and unassumingly, shifts your attention from the mundaneness of your urban life to the wonders and supremacy of nature.
I can't help but mention a few of his haiku which filled my heart with undiluted pleasure. I knew this book would be the one which will make the readers come back to it again and again as soon as I read this very first haiku. I marvelled at how beautifully Gatalica made a little sparrow the centre of attraction and the human a mere speck on the periphery! Such a humbling ku.
a little sparrow ignores
a sudden passerby
Gatalica urges us to give ourselves a break and observe nature in all its glory.
He implores us to stop the chatter and listen to the nature talking. It’s only when we close our ears to outside noise, can we hear our inner voice. The following exquisite haiku engages all our senses and how beautifully!
empty commuter train—
listening to spring drizzle
through an open window
Gatalica shows us how communicating with nature can be a spiritual experience, irrespective of our religious beliefs. The first line in the following haiku can be a temple, a mosque, a gurudwara, a monastery or our house, and the effect will be the same.
in the churchyard
sharing a birdsong
only with God
Gatalica’s sensitivity towards everything is endearing and touches a chord. From mother to mother nature, ah…the places we find comfort and happiness in…
after mother’s death–
I find true happiness
in cherry blossoms
I have very rarely seen the morbid topic of death dealt with such brilliance as Gatalica has done in the following ku.
deep in the spring
the morning sun touches
the death of a mole
As you wade through this book, you find yourself feeling like you have known Gatalica for a long time and you are fortunate to be friends with this kind, wonderful soul. His mindfulness towards even the tiny creatures is admirable.
a life-long friendship
I mow the grass
far away from an anthill
Gatalica takes us, the readers, on a meditative journey during which we find ourselves pulled into a world that we, in our ignorance and rushed living, seldom notice.
my father shapes the wood
into a violin
I sleep wherever
the night catches me
Not only does he show exceptional sensitivity towards nature, but he lays bare his vulnerabilities too, which are sure to strike a chord.
my wife’s daydreams
in the fertility clinic
adopting a child—
the winter sun
I can go on and on and might end up quoting almost all the poems, but I’ll let the readers savour the book because it’s not every day that you come across a book like this. By sending this book my way, Goran Gatalica has done me a big favour, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. I wish him great success and look forward to reading more of his books.
About the Poet
Goran Gatalica was born in Virovitica, Croatia, in 1982 and currently resides in Zagreb, Croatia. He finished both physics and chemistry degrees from the University of Zagreb and proceeded directly to a PhD program after graduation. He has published poetry, haiku, and prose in the literary journals and anthologies. Gatalica has received many honors for his poetry and haiku, including Award Dragutin Tadijanović, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts for the poetry book Kozmolom (2017), the honor “Haiku Master of the Month” (Rikugien Gardens and Biei, NHK WORLD TV, Japan, 2016 and 2017), the Basho-an Award (Tokyo, Japan, 2018 and 2019). He is a member of the Croatian Writers' Association.
Vandana Parashar is a postgraduate in Microbiology, an educator and a haiku poet. Her haiku, senryu and tanka have been published in many national and international journals of repute and has won her many prizes and accolades. Her haiku was also shortlisted for the prestigious Touchstone Award in 2021. She is the Associate Editor of haikuKATHA and is also in the editing team of Poetry Pea. Her debut e-chapbook 'I Am' was published by Title IX Press in 2019. Her second chapbook 'Alone, I Am Not' was published by Velvet Dusk Publishing in April, 2022.