Hourglass Literacy Founder Interview

In a recent interview we got behind the scene of the making and founder of the Hourglass Literacy Magazines. The hottest new magazine on the market is gaining alot of attention. So has it’s founder Voki Erceg a gifted writer and film director that made a name in Banja Luka. Who gave some light on the making of Hourglass Literacy Magazine and more.

Interview with (Vojislav) Voki Erceg, published at: 6yka.com (interviewer: Maja Isovic)

Voki Erceg, a young writer and film director from Banja Luka, has started a literary magazine called Hourglass Literary Magazine and there is currently a call for submissions for the first issue. We talked to Voki about the launching of the magazine and literature in general.

Q: Voki, tell us a bit more about Hourglass Literary Magazine. How did the whole story start?

A: I believe it’s possible to summarize the answer in one word: reaction. However, I’m convinced that, if we continue talking about ‘reactionism, we’ll end up who knows where. (Probably right where we are: in the putrid reality of Banja Luka.)

As a reader, as a so-called young writer and, finally, as Danilo Kiš put it — a literary apprentice (is it really something I had felt long before I read Kiš or is it my own consciousness mixing up reading and memory, I can’t tell) — I’ve come to realize that each literary effort is, in effect, a style exercise: selecting, editing, translating, proofreading… It’s the time I spent reading Putevi (ed. Mićević, Horozović); afterwards, during my studies, I was fascinated by Branko Kukić’s editions and, finally, Gradac magazine. One should not forget those ‘indie’ (my use of the hipster term is intentional here) editors from the English speaking world: Edward L. Smith (who tackled both pirates, erotic art and Eastern and Westerns artists), Rowan Pelling who edited the quite powerful The Decadent Handbook or, for instance, the book The Savage God by Al Alvarez, which in its core represents a (small) encyclopedia of suicide, as educational as it is decadent. These are some of the things that come to mind and which, along with many others that now escape my memory, determined the path to Hourglass Literary Magazine.

Q: There’s an open call for submissions, too. Tell us a bit about it.

A: I think a lot has already been said about this throughout the media and, finally, through our well-organized website — www.hourglassonline.org.We have studied the idea of literary competition, haven’t we? Sophocles, Euripides… Trouvèrs, Troubadours… In the end, so much has been said, there’s constant talk about what a literary competition/call means to a writer.

Q: Your board, former Yugoslavia in “literary space”?

Our editor, Lejla Kalamujić, has just won the Zija Dizdarević prize — you’re not going to read about it in the so-called ‘our media.’ They won’t let you! After all, Lana Bastasic has won this prize twice in a row. Has RTRS or any other of the so-called ‘our media’ ever called Lana, is anyone talking about this outside of our narrow scope? Lana has found a way out (Spain) — we’re all looking for one — which is almost pathetic.

Q: In your description of the magazine you emphasize that you cherish diversity. How important is it to talk about this — about differences, about the Other — especially in our society?

A: Writers and models are both connected by commonplaces, ‘a certain banality.’ I believe there’s not a person who would speak against ‘cherishing diversity!’ But we are participating in a (hi)story and a hysteria. The way, however, in which we cherish those differences — not just religious, but the differences in language as well — is a question of procedure, method, a technical question, I’d say even literary.

Q: How would you describe our literary scene, what is it that stands out in it? We have a lot of written word here, but the question of quality should be asked.

A: I’m afraid, of course, to omit certain names, that is to say the books of those authors I value. On the other hand, I no longer believe in a direct clash with small-town gods. (The Hourglass staff is composed of the writers I truly ‘follow.’) Although one author should be mentioned here — Irfan Horozović. My efforts to mention that name in the local media has lately ended — though the word might be (too) strong — scandalously. As if we were living in the times of infamous oppression. Irfan Horozović is a definite Banja Luka writer. He later became famous within a group of renown Zagreb postmodernists, post-Borgesians to be precise. Volumes and volumes of certain Banja Luka writers are written in vain (I don’t want to ‘smear the paper’ by naming them). The Talhas or the Garden of Sedrvan is an absolute Banja Luka book, a Baluk Abad book, which so far no one has managed to surpass. What is eating Banja Luka is the fact that this same Irfan Horozović was expatriated from it in the vilest of ways (as, besides him, who knows how many other residents of Banja Luka). Finally, Banja Luka doesn’t deserve Irfan Horozović and, of course, many other writers. I mention Irfan because his book is one my required reads and also because his name ended up on a censorship guillotine each time I brought it up in my recent Hourglass related interviews. Without exception. Naturally we are going to write about Horozović in the first issue of Hourglass Literary Magazine. I imagine a sort of automatism around local news desks whenever his name comes up — a red light goes on and the speakers yell ‘Achtung! Achtung!’

Q: What do you write about?

A: At the moment, I’m writing an interview for 6yka. Just kidding. I don’t want to talk

about that which is still uncertain and, honestly, my commitments to Hourglass Literary Magazine don’t allow me to write in the way I feel comfortable.

Q: You majored in film directing, and there are interesting video materials being announced in the magazine. How much is this project a cohesion between what you do in film and literature?

A: I don’t direct those video materials, I supervise them! The only exception is the video entitled Do you have your own voice? which I created out of sheer idleness.

Q: What books would you recommend to our readers this fall?

A: I rushed to tell a Bernhard anecdote, a long one! The readers should turn to astrologists, bioenergists, cashiers, magazine recommendations and their neighbors on the first floor — there, I’m sure, they will find or hear what they’re supposed to read this fall. Lol.

Originally published at www.wordsfrmtheheart.com on January 26, 2016.

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