Initial Coordinates


“The first and the last book of the new Croatian poetry.” —Miljenko Jergovic, author of Kin and Mama Leone

“In Monika Herceg’s Initial Coordinates, a deeply uncanny family history unfolds through four sections . . . [and] tirelessly weaves these reversals of birth and death until their distinction dissolves.” Layla Benitez-James, Poetry Foundation


Initial Coordinates meditates on Monika Herceg’s earliest childhood memories in a small rural village near Petrinja in central Croatia as war breaks out in the 1990s. This novel in verse explores the history of a family through financial hardships, domestic violence, and the overall decline of village life. Drawing directly on Slavic mythology, this bold, unforgettable work mimics oral traditions, reflecting the people whose lives helped shape Herceg’s voice and perspective, one very much rooted in the resilience of nature’s rhythms.


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