• Mira N. Mataric and Kathabela Wilson (Photo - Rick Wilson).

      Mira N. Mataric and Kathabela Wilson (Photo – Rick Wilson).

      An interview with Mira N. Mataric, an international poet, with a deep personal sense of beauty and truth, and Serbian roots lit by California Sunshine.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      A microscope on the poet

      I will start with a close up question, as so much of your poetry contains a tender, intimate sense of autobiography, why are you a poet?

      For me, poetry is like breathing. I remember my father in Yugoslavia used to walk through the house reciting poetry, I still can hear him, and how the romantic and lyrical lines sang to me. I absorbed that, learned to read and speak many languages early, and since then my writing is my best friend. It saved me from the trauma of war, it helped me survive the loss of my dearest ones. I write about them all, then we are together and they stay alive. I am in search of myself when I write and writing about my mother, father, uncle, aunt, grandparents and others who loved me and guided me, teaching me things that enriched my life. Since I came to California, for 16 years now, teaching Creative writing, I have been helping others to tell their own stories and bring their past alive.

      A compass on the poet

      Mira N. Mataric at the "Poets on Site" held at Ten Thousand Villages on Lake Ave in Pasadena. She was accompanied by Rick Wilson on the flute (R) and MC Kathabela (L).

      Mira N. Mataric at the “Poets on Site” held at Ten Thousand Villages on Lake Ave in Pasadena. She was accompanied by Rick Wilson on the flute (R) and MC Kathabela (L).

      You’ve lived in the US now for 35 years, and longer than that in the country that is your homeland, Serbia, how has this dual citizenship influenced your life and work?

      I always like to look into the distance from a high point of a mountain or an ancient fortress near the place where I lived as a child. This is still my point of view, because of my comings and goings. I came from the flatland of Eastern Europe to the flatland of Kansas. Arriving in California, my first reaction was: ​”​This is Paradise!” It reminded me of my beloved Mediterranean. The sunshine, the culture, ​and the ​open​ i​international spirit, inspired me. ​I wrote my first novel about the fascinating environment and its people. After that many more followed. In California everything is inspiring to me. I became even more prolific and happy, finally feeling at home.

      A telescope on the poet

      Mira N. Mataric reading her poetry.

      Mira N. Mataric reading her poetry.

      A wider view: How do you see yourself as a Poet in the World, what do you feel the writer can give?

      I am at home everywhere. I travel extensively, not only to Serbia, where I go every fall for the International Meeting of Writers from all over the world. As a member of the Serbian Association of Writers, I have been participating in these before I came to the USA. Famous writers of this country have been coming regularly, a Belgrade-born Charles Simic is one of the leading American poets. The soil of my childhood was exceptionally rich. Like the Pannonian Sea in the early history, enriched by the presence of the river Danube, from the Black Forest in Germany and passing through eight different countries including Yugoslavia with its areas of Voyvodina and Serbia…. this in my blood. This is my heritage that makes me inhabited by the beauty of the world and makes me want to share it. The writer​’s duty is to spread t​ruth and beauty. The truth will liberate us, beauty will save, as Dostoevsky believed. I appreciate the technology I can use to make this more possible than ever.

      Pulse of the poet

      Mira N. Mataric

      Mira N. Mataric

      Your life is essentially multidimensional as well as multilingual and you have been engaged with all the arts as well as literary forms, why this expansiveness?

      Writing, painting, composing music, singing, playing instruments, doing arts and crafts, embroidering, making jewelry, gardening. My mother did all of that and taught us, children, too. Then it stays in the genes and “translates” generation to generation. Translation is a natural passion for me. I’ve published 37 books, including novels, autobiography, memoir and those forms work the enrich and relive the life I have known and explore in my imagination and extend the lives of those I have loved.

      My Father’s Eyes
      by Mira N. Mataric

      I grew up with an exceptional man
      fire of life  burned  in his eyes

      I dreamed to find a man like my father
      wise good and handsome
      like a Greek god

      mother wore an intriguing smile
      claiming I was like my father
      only she knew what that meant

      gradually I discovered
      the blessing and curse
      of  being me

      thirsting for knowledge
      father feared no death
      when mother died he changed
      his eyes turned inward
      he drifted away

      soon he was ready to go
      first he must see his son and grandchildren
      across the Ocean

      he died sitting in his beloved vineyard
      smiling while the warm summer rain
      showered his face with kisses

      driving my car
      glancing into the mirror
      inquisitively as we look at others
      looking back at me
      weathered by life
      were my father’s eyes


      You can learn more about Mira N. Mataric on her website. Also, check a list of her books here.


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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Sharon Hawley says:

        Great story, Mira and Kathabela, Such diversity and talent of poets we have here, Wafic. A parade of roses is due us down Colorado Boulevard. I suggest April 1 so that even fools can join.

      2. dalton perry says:

        So good to learn more of the depth of Mira, who has always seemed a friend, though our
        contacts always too brief.

      3. Susan Dobay says:

        I did get an other glimpse into Mira’s life and soul through this interview.
        I feel honored that she has been inspired by my visual art with several of her poetry.
        The book of FLORAILIENS includes my paintings,
        Poetry by Mira N. Mararic.
        In the near future Mira will perform her poems of the Florailiens at Scenic Drive Gallery.

      4. Alexandre Nodopaka says:

        How nice to greet you with wishes of joyfulness for the New Year and hopes of meeting you at the next poetic grandiose get together. Congratulations on leaving such beautiful traces of you.

      5. Toti O'Brien says:

        I love that poem, Mira. Your voice is so deeply embedded in it.

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