Mili Duels 2020 (8th season) had 739 entries from 52 countries. It is the largest and most popular online poetry contest in this area, which for the 8th year in a row brings together poets from the region, and lately from around the world. Mili Dueli is headquartered in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The purpose of the contest is to encourage intercultural dialogue among artists from the Balkans and the world. Being one of the most sensitive regions in the world with a turbulent past, the aim of the contest is to build bridges of culture and mutual respect between the once war-torn areas.
The contest is traditionally composed of 5 elimination rounds. In each round, the number of authors decreases, and in the last, Fifth round, the winner is decided by a voting system based on the Eurovision Song Contest scoring system. The main responsible person of the contest is Nermin Delić, the idea creator and organizer of the contest. For 8 years in a row, Mili Dueli have been gathering authors and spreading the influence of poetry in everyday life.
Briefly about the First Round: The selection of all received applications (739) was performed by Nermin Delić. The organizer selected 476 authors for presentation in the Second Round.
Briefly about the Second Round: After the selection in the First Round by the organizer of the contest, Nermin Delić, 476 authors were selected and presented in the Second Round. In the Second Round, the authors are classified in 12 duels, according to the countries they come from. Due to the number of participants, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 2 duels (DUEL 1, DUEL 2), and Serbia 3 (DUEL 3, DUEL 4, DUEL 5). Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bulgaria had one duel each (DUEL 6, DUEL 7, DUEL 8, DUEL 9). Due to the small number of participants, authors from Albania, Greece, Kosovo, Romania and Slovenia were presented in one duel (DUEL 10). Poets with Balkan roots, but with current residence outside the Balkans, are grouped together in one duel (DUEL 11). In the end, all authors coming from non-Balkan countries are grouped into one duel (DUEL 12).
The beginning of the presentation of the duel on the official Facebook profile of Mili Dueli was on July 12, 2020. Duels are presented in order, every 2-3 or 4 days according to the scope of the duel. For the first 15 days from the presentation of the duel, the followers of Mili Dueli were able to vote in the comments by entering the author’s number below the picture where her/his poem is presented. In addition to the readers, the members of the jury, composed of 12 renowned and important for Mili Duel artists from the Balkans, also voted. They selected 90% of the authors to pass to the Third Round. The other 10% is intended for the votes of the readers, for those who were not selected by the jury, and who have the great support of their friends and companions Mili Dueli.
Briefly about the Third Round: In the third round, the selection of the best authors continued and only the TOP 100 best authors had the opportunity to continue.
Briefly about the Fourth Round: The fourth round is brought by the TOP 50 best authors who pass to the final, fifth round. It is composed of a total of 16 duels.
You can see more about the Fourth Round (how it is voted, how it is organized) here:
FOURTH ROUND (SEMI-FINALS)
First of all, an important announcement … In the fourth round, we were looking for the 50 best authors according to the procedure established by the organization of the competition. Looking at the results, as the Organizer, I realized that in certain duels, the authors were much more dominant, and that surely many more authors deserved to pass, at least according to the presentation in the semifinals. For that purpose, I decided that the number of authors who go directly further should be 36, and that a total of 34 authors should fight for the remaining 14 places. All those authors who did not go directly further will equally send the poem for the finals, but only 14 of them will be presented, based on the quality of the submitted poem and the accompanying video material that traditionally adorns our Finals. More about everything, certainly below …
DUEL 6 – BULGARIA
WHAT’S NEXT? (PREPARATION FOR THE FINALS)
DARK BLUE. Authors who entered the TOP 50 directly! These authors are officially the finalists of this season, therefore, participants in the last round of Mili DuelI 2020/21. From this moment on, they need to contact their mentors and start preparing the poem for the Finals. All details related to the preparation and sending of the poem for the Finals will be received in a private message in the inbox. Please be patient!
LIGHT BLUE. – Authors who has chance to participate in the finals, the last round of Mili Duels 2020/21. These are authors who did not go directly to the final round, but due to the fantastic performance in the semifinals, the Organizer decided to give a new opportunity to promote their poetry. There are a total of 34 of them in such a situation, and 14 of them will be participants in the Finals. The decision will be made by the Organizer based on their application for the Finals. From this point on, they can also contact their mentors and start preparing a poem for the Finals.
TOP 100 – Authors who remained in the TOP 100 and did not make it to the Mili Dueli 2020 Finals. Their contribution to the spread of the project and poetry will be rewarded by receiving electronic recognition for their participation as they represented their countries in a bright light (TOP 100 from 739 registered !!!), and will accordingly receive recognition for the intercultural dialogue of the Balkan countries and the countries of the world in which they participated.
All the presented poems will be represented in a electronic collection which, apparently, will have its own printed edition (summer, 2021), when MILI DUELI BALKAN TOUR awaits us. More on that soon!
Also, all authors who are 2000 or younger will be presented at the MILI DUEL JUNIOR ONLINE POETRY CONTEST which will start a few days after the end of the eighth season of Mili Duels 2020 – Online Balkan Poetry Contest!
Organizer: NERMIN DELIĆ
First of all, thank you for showing the greatest sense of loyalty to the whole project this season. The Corona-year prolonged the contest itself, and at the same time some of my private achievements happened (I finished university and started working), so the time spent on the project was reduced to a certain extent. Either way, our play through poetry continued, and so in these wonderful summer days we had the opportunity to read the 100 most representative authors we had so carefully selected.
In this, the fourth and at the same time penultimate round, we had the opportunity to enjoy the poetry of all Balkan countries, but also many countries around the world. Somewhere it turned out to be good that there was longer voting time than in previous seasons. Looking at the number of views of all the semi-final poems, with 328,492 views on Facebook, my mission was already fulfilled. Looking at the countries that read us, I could not stop, if I started to list … Almost 330,000 times we entered the everyday life of people on social media with poetry… I noticed at the beginning that there were two camps among the authors; one who enthusiastically welcomed the publication of their poem and those who did not promote their poetry even to their friends. The former shared the same with their friends, because for the first time, somewhere in our region, people can vote for poetry; for the first time it was important to point out that you have passed the selection of 739 authors and you are one step closer to the end, exclusively with your poetry. Because this was not an invitation to like the conquest of handbags, irons, shelves, etc., this was an invitation to the world of poetry in which each of these 100 great authors lives!. But probably everyone had their reasons for being one and not the other, and from that point of view it certainly can’t be a complaint. I rewarded some of the poems, even though they had poor readability, because they are masterful in themselves!
Just led by a mass of people who wrote me every day who they were voting for, shared your poems so beautifully and decorated their Facebook walls, I didn’t want to conflict my opinion with the opinion of the masses. But points always say it all. So in this case. I started to comment and went in order, all in order to write as good and clear comments as possible, WHY such points. But then I finally realized that in most cases the same mistake, the same comment, was written only in different words.
Therefore, I decided to point out in general the following …
When submitting a poem, to any contest, anywhere, even where you are already sure that the poem will be published, awarded, or generally given some recognition, please take note of the following:
- LITERACY. There were so many mistakes that turned me away from some nice emotions I felt while reading your poems. If you’re a writer, that doesn’t mean you have to be computer-wise and orthographically perfect, but if you’re sending a poem somewhere, to someone, let it be viewed with other eyes as well; maybe someone who knows maybe less than you will know something more about certain things. It is this item that is crucial in depriving the spirit of amateurism that a writer can carry within himself. Four-dot in poems, spaces several times, unnecessary punctuation marks in the wrong places; all of which violates the RHYTHM and AESTHETIC VALUES and, ultimately, the GENERAL IMPRESSION of the poem. If you make me take a break in the wrong place with a comma, that thread that runs the poem will break, and I will remain confused. I have to admit that these mistakes were greatly reduced, as a team of mentors worked with the authors, but there were authors who submitted their poems without a mentor and where such mistakes were noticed.
- WORK WITH A MENTOR. This item may be crucial, as it involves collaboration on the selection and / or correction of a semi-final poem. It’s not just a conversation about a poem, it’s a conversation of two cultures, often two peoples, and you were representatives of your own. The basis of any peace is acquaintance, cooperation and compromise.
We did not take it as evil if an author, in the words of his mentor, still insisted on being “according to him”, but it is a completely wrong form not to respect the form of the contest that requires cooperation, therefore, not to contact his mentor at all, not to greet him.
My impression is certainly complemented by the opinion of my colleagues, members of the jury, and your mentors, and in this regard we are looking for a person who will be a part of us in the next season of the contest.
- OPINION OF READERS / YOUR FRIENDS. We should never primarily be guided by the number of likes and reviews that one author has achieved on the social network, because then the competition part would mean a struggle for numbers, and not for the quality of the poem. However, I am of the opinion that on this occasion as well, through the number of votes cast, you showed two things; first – how much you actually care about going through; the second – how much support you can actually collect for your poetry. I note that for the first time it is a vote for poetry, where free votes decide who will be the winner. In this regard, I rewarded all the authors who heartily presented their poem.
- POETIC VALUE OF THE TEXT. Many of the texts in the verse that are sent are often not clarified as poetry, so it was necessary to point out to the authors what is poetic and what is not in their poems. Judging subjectively, the original metaphors and comparisons are something I admired the most, because they impress the most. The most common example I give to everyone is this: if it was written IT WAS COLD it has less poetic value than IT WAS ICE, where in the same sense, a metaphor is introduced. If someone writes IT WAS WHITE LIKE SNOW, which is expected, clichéd and outdated, it will certainly be less impressive than IT WAS WHITE LIKE A NEEDLE HOUSE.
When it comes to rhyming poems, rhymes should not be surpassed and expected. Here, too, the use of new poetic words and their skillfully found rhymes was appreciated. Of course, no one should invent hot water, but every step out of everyday life was considered a success.
- AESTHETIC VALUE OF THE TEXT. Applications submitted for the semifinals were to be complete. Any answer to the questions related to the biography and the general impression of the author about the contest was evaluated. Also, the poem itself was supposed to be completely computer-correct. It is extremely unnecessary to point out grammatical / spelling mistakes to someone in this round of the competition, because every such mistake is a sign of the author’s lack of dedication to the text and work with a mentor.
- GENERAL IMPRESSION. The authors have sent poems in the previous three rounds, too. It is also, a significant factor that influenced the distribution of my points.
Opinions of the rest of Jury Members
Lela Zjajo said this:
“This is a duel of authors who certainly deserve attention. Young people think differently, more freely and do not hesitate to write about everything they think about. Many need attention, because quality exists, talent is praised and rewarded. Great Duel and all my congratulations to all the authors.
RUZHA VELCHEVA – A wonderful vision of freedom!
DIMITAR DZHENEV – They are poets, they are also people and they have questions. Unfortunately, they often go unanswered because others don’t even think like poets. Great poem.
GENO NEDYALKOV – Beautiful miniature and unusual thinking of the author.
VALENTIN POPOV – Also, a very beautiful miniature. A short, well thought out story. I walked through the author’s thoughts and liked it.
DONKO NAYDENOV – I love dreamers! They feel poetry most beautifully.
NINKO KIRILOV – Very beautiful miniature.
YANA RADILOVA – Short, clear! And unusual!
LYUBOMIR KYUCHUKOV – Sonata without melody. In addition to this sonata, much more was needed …
KALOYAN HRISTOV – Dedication to grandfather. Wonderful! Wonderful!
DENIS OLEGOV – I’m not a fan of “hard to digest” poetry. Life is beautiful and there are many ways to beautify it even more with words. He works for himself, and then for others. An effort has been made. The experience is recognizable, but the tastes are different.
GEORGI SLAVOV – Yes, it was really difficult to put a title to a poem like this. What was the goal of the author and what he wanted to say with this song, I don’t know … but the inspirations are different and I respect and accept everyone who dares to try to enter the Finals of this competition in this way. It is a virtue to believe in yourself, but sometimes a man is deceived.
ALEX ARANUDOV – I am simply sorry when someone so young writes poetry like this. Heavy, dark, incomprehensible. Where is the love, that bright bond of life and the joy of feeling that is remembered and the poetry that is read?
JOANA HRISTOVA – Dark theme. I read and writhe. My face probably received the same expression as when I bite a rotten fruit that I don’t want to swallow. THE BUILDING is a very difficult poem. Hardly deceptive and hardly anyone who reads it will like it, not because of the poor quality, but because of the wrongly chosen topic for the Semifinals.
Isn’t our goal, in fact, to make our poems appeal to a readership? To wish to read it again and again, to remember it by the beauty of the verse, melody, story…
Anđela Turukalo, theirs mentor said this:
“Bulgaria… As usual, one of the best groups, but the hardest one to grade. I couldn’t possibly find a bad poem here this time, so I have to look into the core of every single one. I already feel sad for having to choose between these poems. Well done.
Ruzha Velcheva… Not a bad poem, definitely, but it’s too simple. Too plain for this group. It didn’t bring any special energy that would make it stand out, though the message is loud and clear. I feel that the semi-final round deserved something more powerful and memorable.
Dimitar Dzhenev… I love this one. Using the simple subject as fog, the writer managed to create such depth and emotion… He brought to mind a lot of questions here. The expression is amazing. Aesthetically, the poem is exactly what I want to see. Well done.
Geno Nedyalkov… Perfect. This is one amazing miniature: meaningful, powerful but playful. I love the motives this writer gave us.
Valentin Popov… Like a fine wine. The longer he’s with us, the better he gets. As his mentor, I was amazed with the poems we were choosing between. This one is short, but powerful and memorable. It almost feels like some scene from an old French romantic movie or something… Enchanting. It seems that he needed a better subject of writing for a better grade: something stronger and more creative.
Donko Naydenov… This poem is very nice. It’s descriptive and it brings some peaceful, but lively feeling. I like it. Yet, the subject was apparently a bit pale for this round. It wasn’t as intrusive as it should be.
Ninko Kirilov… This is a very emotional poem with a couple of disturbing moments, which create a bit of contrast. I loved every single word of it. Well done. Yet, the semi-final round for Bulgaria… There’s a lot of good poems, powerful poems and the slightest details make a difference.
Yana Radilova… One awesome miniature. I don’t usually appreciate the repetitive verses, but here that verse creates an atmosphere which is absolutely necessary. I love the pictures here and the way they’re connected, the way the situation unwinds to the very end. Ending is simple, yet powerful.
Lyubomir Kyuchukov… It’s a good poem, but it seems to me that it lacks fluency. In some parts it seems a bit torn, all over the place. The motives are good and I can see the talent here, it just needs a bit more work to make it perfect.
Kaloyan Hristov… This is another very emotional and touching poem. It’s almost palpable, the sincerity in expression. Lovely work, indeed. Still, I’m shocked, but this poem needed more drama and contrast to get to another level. It needed a bit more strength.
Denis Olegov… This poem is beautifully brought out. It’s deep and wise, with an important message. Every sentence is a wholeness for itself. Loved it. The ending fits perfectly, which is always an important thing. I can’t say that there’s a single thing I don’t like about this poem, it’s just that some other poems made me feel more.
Georgi Slavov… Very vivid poem, with striking motives. It’s direct and clear, with a strong attitude. I feel the first and the third strophe are a bit soft. Those could be done better. Yet, the rest of the poem is making it up. I love the ending.
Alex Arnaudov… I wasn’t really expecting a poem like this. As Valentin, this writer also keeps getting better and better. This one is very effective, with striking imagery. It’s socially engaged, yet it owns a poetic melody.
Ioana Hristova… This poem is very original and impressionable. Yet, I’d say it needed a bit of polish and more focus. This way, it feels a bit messy and all over the place. I do like the style of expression and scenes displayed here.”
You can read poems by Bulgarian authors here:
Made in Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Nermin Delić
Europe / Balkan Peninsula
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central Bosnia Canton
Jajce Town 70202
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