A poem by Jake Sheff inspired by a grotesque 200-year-old monument in Serbia.
Month: July 2017
by Melissa Johnson If you want to send a message to your enemy, a tower created with nearly 1,000 of their skulls is a powerful one. In the city of Niš in Serbia looms a fifteen-foot-tall stone tower embedded with human skulls. The Skull Tower, or Ćele kula, was built after the Battle of Čegar, which was fought to liberate Niš from the Ottomans, in 1809 during the First Serbian […]
PY: How did you first hear about the Skull Tower of Niš, and what about it inspired you to write this poem? JS: In all honesty, I went looking for it, but I didn’t know what it was. I wanted to find something worth knowing about with a lot of poetic potential. I began searching for landmarks in Serbia—I’m an avid National Geographic reader, so foreign places and customs are […]
One day, a random conversation with a friend named Joukje—pronounced “Yaaook”—led to a discussion about birth certificates. Joukje was born on February 17, 1947 in the Netherlands, exactly a day before the birth of Princess Christina of the Netherlands. To celebrate the birth of the princess, her mother, Queen Juliana, sent a congratulatory card to the parents of every girl-child born in the country that week. Joukje’s parents received one, too. […]