Maša Seničić (1990) writes and works in the field of literature, film and media. She obtained her BA and MA degrees at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, where she is pursuing both theoretical and artistic research as a PhD candidate (Digital Humanities and Memory Studies). She has taken part in various local and international film, theatre, visual culture and poetry projects/workshops/events – as a participant, a lecturer and an editor – while also contributing to film festivals as a writer, a moderator and a programmer (Brave Balkans, Belgrade Auteur Film Festival). In 2015, Seničić won the prestigious Mladi Dis prize for the unpublished manuscript, which led to her first poetry book “The Ocean” (Okean). Her second book, “As Occasional as a Vacation Home” (Povremena poput vikend-naselja) was published in 2019 (Treći Trg) and awarded the Dušan Vasiljev prize for best regional book. Her literary work has been published across the ex-Yugoslav region and Europe, in magazines (Poezija, Polja, Letopis Matice srpske, Zent, Prosvjeta, Buktinja, Dometi, Književne novine…), anthologies/collections (Rukopisi, Dostojno jest, Ovo nije dom, Čiji grad?, La Nouvelle poésie BCMS, Anthology of Young Serbian Poets, Logične pobune) and web magazines (Agon, Eckermann, Libela, Strane, Kritična masa…). As a freelance author/content creator Seničić is contributes to various publications, galleries, events. In her independent projects, she is interested in exploring spatial and material boundaries of printed and digital material/text.
Towards the end of her residency in Caernarfon in May 2022 as part of the Ulysses’ Shelter programme, Maša spoke about her experience of residencies and their benefits for writers.
Maša wrote and performed the following new poem at a public poetry event.
a meal of one’s own
in the beginning was the dining table
and the dining table was with family,
and the dining table was family.
then I grew older and recognized
that the cutlery has been inherited
and that the tablecloth has been flattened.
that someone had, surely, ironed it,
and that this someone is a woman
seated closest to the kitchen, her hands
must bake and serve, bring, and take.
then I grew older, and this woman became me
– the table decides where I should stand
and which conversations are not
to be opened.
still, I never learned how to bake.
I sway on the edge of the chair, halfway
into my role, my other leg inside this body
of text. on distant shores I learn that the smell of the sea
is the smell of death; what about the salt, I ask,
and my hand is stretching from the castle
over the muddy harbour, across all the dishes,
reaching for the seasoning.
the birds’ voices take over the sunset and the tower
is on fire shortly before becoming stone again,
a spectacular corpse, diet for visitors
who are food for the seagulls,
as is gulfweed abandoned at low tide.
sea salt is the bedrock for both landscapes I inhabit.
miles away from home it is finally hunger
who invites me to dinner: hot air
in the small kitchen appliance obeys
by moving particles of a precooked meal,
ding! I open its door and eat using a fork
familiar with countless strangers’ mouths.
what I’ve always known is that the smell of death
is the smell of the feast; of all concerns this one is crucial.
if I am not the one eating then I must be the one
being devoured. it is only through accurate verbs
that I can see clearly: at whichever waterfront I arrive
I remain reduced to my family’s silverware
in all the languages,
with all my tongues.