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 7 – ALBANIA
Voting order: 1. NERMIN DELIĆ (Organizer) 2. SARAH ISUFI (Mentor) 3. DANJA GAŠPAR ĐOKIĆ (Additional Jury Member) 4. SIMO GOLUBOVIĆ (Additional Jury Member) 5. LELA ZJAJO (Additional Jury Member) 6. ANĐELA TURUKALO (Additional Jury Member) 7. ZDRAVKO ODORČIĆ (Additional Jury Member) 8. FACEBOOK VOTES (1st column – total likes author’s poem got; 2nd column – likes from our followers; 3rd column – No. of poem views) 9. INSTAGRAM VOTES (1st column – No. of poem views; 2nd column – No. of likes poem got)
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
Zdravko Odorčić said that he is pretty much impressed by Albanian authors. He greets you all from Croatia.
Lela Zjajo said this: “It’s nice to go back to reading the poetry of all the semifinalists. In this Duel, I would single out the poems of Isabela Tafili and Fyodor Qorri, but Flogerta Krypi is not far behind with her poem “I have decided to become God”.
Isabela Tafili’s poem MAN AND THE FOREST impressed me greatly. It’s a finely told story even though the consequent mood subsides after reading. It is true that man is born and it is natural that nature, in some way, affects the growth and development of every man. What hurts is that man, when he gets stronger, does not pay enough attention to nature except that he occasionally admires its beauty.
In this poem, a story is told which should be a lesson that it should not be so, that is, that man should not treat nature contrary to what nature has given him.
The impression of the poem made me wander with my thoughts into the forest where today, by chance, I was walking and seeing a similar picture as the author wrote in her poem. A cleared, drained, miserable forest left in its grief, without the rains it so desperately needs after this year’s droughts. Sad, sad … and, with the power of will and mechanization, a man could do a lot to save her. Thus, she can only wait for each tree and the last branch to break off without strength and continue to fight for life.
I would say, great song! Bravo!
HOPE, HANGED ON ROSES, Fyodora Quorri is very nicely meaningful and reveals to us the deep emotion of this author. Although a very sad topic in terms of content, this author evoked some surviving moments of despair and sadness, and it is good to share this emotion with people. It is easier for the heart, and songs like this leave deep traces in our souls and therefore last a long time. Bravo!
The poems of Mimoza Rexhvelaj, Mita Tabaku and Alban Tufa are also poorly translated and the punctuation set in the wrong places spoils the overall impression. Rhythm and melody are lost in the search for meaning. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the appropriate meaning of this kind of poetry even though I really tried…
Certainly, I wish all the authors good luck!”
Sarah Isufi, their mentor, said this:
Isabela, you have a lot of artistic motives in your poem. “The man and the forest” is such a captivating title, which intrigues the reader to continue. But the last strophe rips off the beauty of the whole it. I know this poem is too personal for you, but you don’t need to narrate word by word, exactly what happened. Sometimes all you have to do is grabbing those personal events, emotions and using them wisely, by adding flowers, colors, flavors, to make your poem great. And great poems produce great poets. You’re such a nice girl and I wish to read more from you.
Alban, I’ve been pointing out to you several times, your narrative style of writing. Your thoughts are wise, diverse and interesting, but I would like you to work more on the emotive side of your poem, same as you did in:
“you love me without noise,
without pathetic words”, my favourite verses in your poem.
Mimoza, I meet sequences of emotions among the simplicity of your poem, but you often tend to mix up elements that don’t belong to the same tablo. You’re an admirable woman and I wish you luck in your undertakings.
Flogerta, I admired your poetic discipline in the previous rounds, and as a jury member I did read and voted you, but as a mentor, at this phase of the contest, due to no communication at all with you as a participant, I can’t place myself in the position of reading your semifinal’s poem.
Good luck, dear!
Mite, I love your darkness, dear.
“I was born from the barren uterus of life,
fed by drained breasts of destiny,
dandled in the dried lap of hope”, you don’t just write, you yell, taking metaphors and placing them orderly, playing with meaning and dandling merism a bit. I only wish you explored more topics, instead of embracing stoically your favourite ones. With the strength that characterizes your personality, you can do everything.
Fjodor, I’m impressed with your will and humbleness for improvement and progress. I see a great poet in:
“Our traces on the waters,
gone without a sign,
we were some skinny, pale dragonflies,
like cities under mists, lost.
Our hopes as summer bangles,
on roses, hanged;
our eyes remained on the heavens,
our bodies on the paths”.
You’re a kind of mixture of romanticism and symbolism, and the more you work on greatening your topics and metaphors, the more awesome you’ll become.
I want to read more from you. Good luck!”
You can read poems by Albanian 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
Sva prava zadržana. // All rights reserved.