by Ana Stjelja
Mišel Boltres, who writes under the pen name Michell de Boltres, is a Serbian author. Besides writing, he is also a manager, Honorary Doctor of Literature, and moderator of cultural and artistic events. He writes classical poetry, haikus, short fiction, and notes and aphorisms. He has published four collections of poetry and two verse picture books for children. Represented in more than 400 collections and 14 anthologies, he is a member of writers’ associations and several literary associations in the country and abroad. Besides, he is among the founders and president of the Art Club “Raskovnik”, Smederevo, Serbia since 2009, and the founder of the international literary event “Despot’s Oath” in Smederevo since 2014.
In a thought-provoking interview with our Interviews Editor, Ana Stjelja, Mišel discuss his poetry, faith, and beyond.
When did you start writing poetry and what motivated you the most to enter the world of literature?
I started writing poetry at a very early age (I wrote my first poem at the age of ten, it was titled “My Homeland” and published in the children’s magazine “Tik Tak.”) From the age of fifteen until now, I have been writing, with minor interruptions, continuously. My main motivation to enter the world of literature was my love for books and admiration for writers, people who created such a great literary works from their own imaginations and left them as a legacy for all time.
To which extent is Christianity as a theme present in your poetry?
Christianity as a theme is largely present in my poetry, because everyone has their own prayer in their life. My prayer is Poetry.
What aspects of Christianity do you most value and apply in your life?
There are countless aspects of Christianity in the form of places of worship – churches, monasteries, places of pilgrimage… I am often on pilgrimages, I practice prayers in daily conversion to the Creator and the saints, I fast on Wednesdays and Fridays (whenever I am able and in all long-day fasts).
Which Christian motifs and poetic elements are the most dominant in your poetry? Are any of your books entirely inspired by Christianity?
In my poetry, Christian motifs are the most dominant as poetic elements: motifs of heavenly thrones, frescoes, icons, prayers – imbued with love for the Creator in a personal address to him and the angels, versed reflections on creation, survival and disappearance, with a great poetic desire to trace humanity, even the smallest ones, stay behind us. My book “The Blessing of God’s Nest” is completely inspired by Christianity and contains 33 songs on the path of seeking God – symbolically, like the 33 years of Jesus spent among people.
What thread, in your opinion, connects Christianity and poetry?
The thread that unites Christianity and poetry, in my opinion, is a Poem – like a bridge between Earth and Heaven, (we all know very well that the Bible is written mostly in verse).
How do you see poetry today and how much does it mean to you personally?
Poetry and, unfortunately, quasi-poetry are predominant on social networks in countless attempts to gain eternal and imperishable poetic fame from “God-given poets”. But among ordinary readers, poetry is today very neglected. For me personally, poetry is already a kingdom of light, a respite and a refuge from too harsh a reality.
Do you have any message for our readers, in the Christian spirit of the present time?
My message to your readers would be: “Poetry is not life, but life is poetry! You just need to know how to laud life in the spirit of Christian love… Ah, poems are like little children – they can’t wait for someone to hug them. While the power of words is most beautifully reflected in verses.”