Ana Ristović’s witty, erotic, feminist poems have won over readers from around the world (her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages), and brought her some exuberant acclaim. In 2012, London’s Southbank Centre named “Circling Zero” one of the greatest love poems of the past 50 years, and included its English translation in a promotional pamphlet that was dropped all over London from a helicopter. In 2014, the New Yorker published Steven and Maja Teref’s translation of “Snow in Your Shoes,” and later listed it as one of the 15 highlights of their poetry for the year.
Many of the poems in Directions for Use, her first collection in English translation, explore daily routines, such as shopping, reading, doing laundry, cooking, even going to the bathroom. Beneath the surface, these same poems explore solitude and independence, openly sexual fantasies and longings, bodies and mortality, life and God. Ristović also alludes to a wide range of other poets in her work, including Sylvia Plath, Osip Mandelstam, Ingeborg Bachmann, Seamus Heaney, and others. Her father, the renowned Serbian poet Alexander Ristović may be partly responsible: when she told him she wished to study Serbian literature, he urged her instead to read world literature.
Ristović has published nine books of poetry, translated 30 books of Slovenian into Serbian, and won many literary awards. In 2005, she won Germany's Hubert Burda Prize for young East European poets.
Steven and Maja Teref’s translations have been published in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Aufgabe, Asymptote, New American Writing, the International Poetry Review, and elsewhere; they are also the founders of the journal, Ricochet Review. Their translation of Novica Tadić’s Assembly was published by Host Publications in 2009. Steven is the author of Foreign Object, Pleasure Objects Teaser, and The Authentic Counterfeit, and teaches at Columbia College, Chicago. Maja teaches at the University of Chicago Lab School.
Directions for use, by Ana Ristovic
Directions for Use
Translated from Serbian by Steven Teref and Maja Teref
128 pages | Bilingual Polish/English
September 12, 2017
Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-938890-14-7
“Ana Ristović’s Directions for Use is full of sexy, coy, ruthless poems about the body, about a woman’s experience, about love and lovemaking, about the life of a poet, about the underbelly of the day to day. Her poems are funny and terrifying all at once. They seem on the surface to be deceivingly lighthearted or perhaps even lovely. But there is something darker lurking beneath the surface to stir up your ways of thinking about everyday occurrences.” — Emma Ramadan, Three Percent blog