mag. phil. Štefanija Kožić, review of book Four Phases of the Moon by Ksenija Premur

The work Four Phases of the Moon by the established author Ksenija Premur, although the author herself calls it a collection of poetry, is actually written in the form of a poem. It is a story written in verse that brings excerpts from life in a postmodern manner. These fragments form a whole that leads us through the history of the lyrical subject, telling a story of love. The author, as the title itself says, leads us through four phases of change – four types of love. The first is the phase of sinful love, the second of unfulfilled romantic love, the third of friendly love, and the fourth is of a person’s love for himself. This time, the author decided on a completely new approach to the topic of love – the author teaches us about love, but also encourages the reader to reflect on their own understanding of love. As the reader reads this poem, it does not seem to him to be fictional, something that is foreign to him, but he immediately empathetically surrenders to the text.

The first phase “About the new moon”  is a story about jealousy, deception, about love that could not succeed due to its character. It is a dark love that takes place on the streets of Zagreb, in a public place, but in fact it is a love hidden from everyone, forbidden love. It is love that is not really love at all, but an eternal walk on the edge, a repeated challenging of destiny that ends like this: “that you repent for every word / that you said on that fateful day / and I’m leaving / going far […] and I change my hair color / going on a long journey”. The second phase “About the first quarter of the moon” tells the story of love that “should have been” realized in the full sense of the word, but fate did not permit it. Others intervened in the love between the two people, the family intervened and thus created an insurmountable obstacle to that love.

“About the full moon” is the third phase that speaks of friendship. In this part, the key is the metamorphosis of love that the author offers us by combining the second and third phases. It is made clear that the main actor, along with the lyrical subject, in both phases is actually one and the same literary person. Although the second phase is a part dedicated to pure, beautiful love, it does not end happily. However, this love experiences a transformation that completes it and thus grants it its full splendor. “But even today / I call you every day / and never a better friend / never a more memorable interlocutor / and a dear confessor / we have crossed the threshold / old age has entered the great door”.

“It dawned / a new day / of a new decade / all good and beautiful.” With these verses begins   “About the moon’s last quarter”, a story of self-love. Giving oneself the opportunity to reconcile with destiny is also interpreted here as a kind of love.

Despite and precisely because people go through different emotions through life, loves and hates, phases and changes they are human beings, they have to go through eternal changes in order to reach ultimate happiness and lasting peace. The author demonstrates this with the following verses “and my life is beautiful / and woven to my measure”, but also with “I ask heaven / just one thing more / to gift me / a happy death / an easy departure / from this world / for my soul to touch / gardens of paradise / and stay there forever.”

The author points out all aspects of love, not just the beautiful ones. When talking about the dark sides of love and the suffering it brings, she does not fall into pathos, but very realistically describes the events that are a kind of symbols. Ksenija Premur shows maturity in writing and in experiencing emotions that she expertly turns into poetry – this is indicated by the motives of growing up, maturing, aging, but also the motives of overcoming the past, forgiveness and reconciliation.