Early autumn grapes

They say, if your life

is too bitter then you crave sugar.

And I do remember the acerbity on my tongue

when my father told his diagnose: bladder cancer.

It was like someone filled my mouth with pile of old, rusty

coins and I couldn’t breathe, just in awe, with crucified

jaw I stared at the telephone.


My father soon got better,

yet my body had its own trouble digesting truth:

leaking gut poured all the bitterness of previous months’ uncertainty.

I began to grow sugars, tiny special sugars, cleverly hidden in the pores

of the synovial lakes and joint meanders.


These tiny special sugars, grow and mature

with each season, unharvested,

developing tear membranes,

disguised purple knots in my throat.


Involuntarily nerve-pulsating dreams remind me

how clumsy beginner I was.

Now, with years my skills improved:

I’ve learned with one hand to

keep my stomach intact,

with other to lift my neck

just enough to catch early autumn grapes

in my father’s vineyard,

to erase the bitterness from my head.

Maja S. Todorovic

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Hidden poetry gem: using power of language for improving persuasion skills


Have you ever wondered how some people have like magical power to persuade others in their point of view, that they somehow win every argument?

It’s not they always have all the knowledge or the wittiest and most cunning answer. They say the right words in right moment. Not too much, not too less, but right words. It’s like they are carrying around some sort of charisma that is attractive and appealing to people, which for sure is a first step of getting someone on your side – they first have to notice you and what it is that you have to say.

I also think that we often underestimate and neglect the power of language. Spoken language, written language, body language – they all tell a specific story and influence what kind of impact in any given situation we will make. Language is what connects us but also the tool we can use to emphasize our differences, values and reasons – using the tone and voice, language can also dictate ‘the tempo and intensity’ of conversation.

To improve our persuasive skills our language needs to be memorable, distinct, inspiring and supportive. I’ve already written how poetry attributes to leadership, but there are additional benefits that I want to draw your attention to.

I do believe that in some form of another we are all born poets – as we all use, make and create language. The key point here is how we use our language and in what purposes we are putting it in. And this is where poetry brings so much beauty and creativity.

Spending time reading and writing poetry is like training, having an exercise of your brain mussels where you sharpen your senses and you learn to pay closer attention; you slow down fast-paced thoughts and you are reshaping your mind for finding greater meanings as your ability for deep listening grows. You become more aware of weaknesses and virtues of human kind and with that understating, your language reflects that. Great influencers are known for their ability to connect with people on many different levels and poetry acts as a bridge across those barriers – it becomes easier for you to accentuate your message and value.

But most importantly you see yourself and value yourself differently. You start to recognize the areas of language you can express with greater clarity:

  • you find the meaning in having more alternatives;
  • you find ways to communicate your cause more effectively, creatively like using metaphors and similes to explain your point view.

In any given conversation poetry can act as an ice-breaker to lessen the tension and approach the subject with more ease:

  • Using poetic language can instill courage in conversation which is a catalyst for implementing change.
  • In brainstorming sessions can open the doors to hidden creativity, which is essential to innovation.
  • Poetry and art, in general, appeal to senses – which makes us more perceptive to risk taking, but also to strategically value situation.

Poetry, like language is ever-evolving and different, as each time we can perceive it differently. So are we, ever-adapting, by having trust in the change and confidence in the present moment able to reconcile any contrast within ourselves and our authenticity  spokes for us – everyone around is already convinced.

if you move carefully
through the forest

like the ones
in the old stories

who could cross
a shimmering bed of dry leaves
without a sound,

you come
to a place
whose only task

is to trouble you
with tiny
but frightening requests

conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.

Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,

to stop what you
are becoming
while you do it,

that can make
or unmake
a life,

that have patiently
waited for you,

that have no right
to go away.

David Whyte

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It starts with a spot.

One tiny spot.

Soft and gentle,

red, transparent and liquidly

like a drip from a freshly

pressed strawberry juice.


The skin unveils the doors,

releases pressure

and suddenly I’m on the boat

the boat slightly gliding, swaying and my

head tilts to enjoy crimson landscape.

For a minute I think there is

a sunset, reflecting blushing chicks in the water.

Warmth tingles my eyes.


Finally I am wearing that red dress:

red dress made of pleats cascading over the stairs.

The stairs, neatly arranged blocks for kids

to jump, run with their tiny feet,

to scatter red petals and

peals of spring radishes.


The dress grew with each waterfall

and the breath, the breath is a

variegated butterfly trapped in the glass jar.

Maja S. Todorovic

6 tips to make the most of your poetry practice


Do you remember your first time writing a poem? That feeling of possibility of written word acting like a bridge between your ordinary world and other limitless realities?…We can revive those moments each time we commit to writing or reading poetry, to have that freshness we are looking for in sometimes routine and monotones practice.

Here I will share few tips that I’ve found to work for me, each time I start to lose that feeling of connectedness and intimate conversation I need in order to make ‘poetry work for me’.

While writing:

  1. Always bring intention forward

This is one of the ways to shut down that judgmental part of mind and simply surrender yourself to words. Be open to whatever comes up – no matter how silly or unfocused it might sound. Instead of trying to control your thoughts, bring your intention to poem – let your poem take over and simply capture that true moment of your life. That kind of release can give you an emotional upheaval and leave you feel lighter and regenerated.

  1. Engage all your senses

You have your senses for a reason and use them to adequately express what ever you are experiencing in that moment. Your eyes, your mouth, your ears, your nose and your skin can tell the story – let them help you in your writing practice. The more details you put in describing that moment, the more authenticity your poem gets and portraits better experience to your reader. Poem takes a life on its own and reader  becomes the part of your world. In this way you are practicing also your objectivity, focus and ability to stay mindful.

  1. Entwine emotion in your writing

Often we fall into trap of writing about emotion, describing feelings and sensations instead of letting out words to translate our immersion into emotion. To have that internal satisfaction with your writing you need to write while reliving that particular feeling. It will make presented experience believable for your reader. Writing good poem is not always about using better technique, fancy words and adjectives. Sometimes is quite the opposite. Turning off that analytical side of mind and simply  diving deep into your subconsciousness is a creation of poem where you’ve just found that raw, unpolished diamond – valuable but one that needs right words to shine through.

  1. Proactively read poetry

It is well known fact that writers must read in order to  grow. But you can take some simple steps to make more of your reading time. One of the things I like to do is to rewrite in separate notebook poems I particularly like. Instead of having them in separate poetry collections or computer files in this way I can refer to them in one place whenever I like. Writing down poems by hand has another benefit for me as it allows me to more easily follow the rhythm of poem and simply feel it through my hand. It helps me also to remember phrases and words I would like to incorporate in my writing. As it is suggested in this article you can make lists of words you like, your own ‘poetry stacks’ that you can refer to as a resource for inspiration and writing prompts. I’ve been entertaining this idea for some time now and I think is worth a try.

5. Support poetry

in different creative ways by listening to it, reciting it, buying it and most importantly by sharing your own work. Submit and publish whenever opportunity presents itself – it’s a sure way towards impact and contribution we want to make. And as plus you improve your writing skills!

6.Find other interesting ways to incorporate more poetry in your life

That can be through studying, journaling, mindfulness practice…you can use it for brainstorming creative solutions to problems or simply to create an intimate and sincere gift for your loved one. Possibilities are endless, but the more you engage in this practice the more world around you will start to match your new found perspectives – don’t miss that beauty.

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A comprehensive guide to developing a lasting writing practice


We all in the beginning have a motivation to start a new habit: we are pumped up, ready to take on that challenge we set for us and stick to it – being that healthier eating, exercise regime or writing habit. And then, after couple of days/weeks our motivation starts to wane, something comes up that distracts us or it takes more of our investment than we anticipated and what happens next? We are back, indulging in social media and TV instead of working on ourselves.

Having a lasting writing habit is like any other habit. Once it becomes ingrained in your subconsciousness there are lesser chances for you to skip it.

Here are my favorite tips on  making writing a regular practice:

  1. First, make room for your writing.

It means that you have to mercilessly evaluate and edit your schedule and maybe lifestyle in order to see where is your time and probably energy leaking. Writing requires you to focus, to devote your whole being to it, to find that sacred creative moments. If you start writing while you are preoccupied with other things, probably it won’t work – and you’ll end up being even more stressed because you are unsatisfied with your writing.

  1. Always have clear mind: why do you write?

What’s the driving force behind that urge to sit and record your thoughts? Whenever I feel doubt I ask myself this question and it helps me recenter my initial intention. Once you have that clear goal you will have that important thought to cling on, each time you feel discouraged. I even think this the most important part of developing a lasting writing habit: it’s almost like brushing your teeth: you are doing it because you want your teeth to be healthy and it makes you more confident. Treat writing the same way – find your best reasons and you can even place them as a reminder on spots where you will frequently read them. It will always give you the boost you need.

  1. Don’t think about the product, it will come as a natural result of your enjoyment of the process.

What I mean by this, many times in writing and other forms of creative actions we might be driven by fear (of reaching a deadline, being rejected, ext.). But look at it from this angle: you are going to do it anyway, so why just simply don’t let yourself surrender to creativity and stop worrying? Some of you might not agree with me on this one, but let me share with you part of my writing and research journey. When I was writing my master’s degree thesis, at that moment I was employed at the faculty as a postgraduate researcher. At some point my one-year contract expired, it couldn’t be prolonged (the funds were cut off due to political situation in the country) and I was on my own – searching for another job. New opportunity presented itself very soon, at the Institute where I was performing research, but the colleague I was supposed to replace was to be retired very soon -which meant I needed to start working very soon. As it was a government institution, it required for me to already have a master’s degree. So in the next few months I was working 20 hours a day to get that research done, written, defended in order to secure that position for me. I did succeed, but I think I could’ve enjoyed my writing more, instead of worrying all the time. And who knows, my thesis would’ve come even better as a result of that. I remember, it was exactly 15 years ago, I pushed myself so hard to a point I got ill. And it didn’t have to be that way. My most honest advice I can give you is to celebrate and enjoy each page you write, that’s what counts – achievements and awards come and go. Experience is what lasts.

  1. Connect writing action to some other trigger – make a ritual.

I like to write while I drink my smoothie in the morning – having that big mug is like a sure sign -writing is due right after – if I skip that, chances I will skip writing all together. Many famous writers are known for having that action, telling him it’s time to write. For instance, Stephen King each time had breakfast or drank tea used this as reminder to sit and write.

  1. Make yourself accountable – find a writing buddy.

This can be fun and interesting way for you to enjoy writing more. You can join some online community, meetups face to face or make a pact with an old friend and develop some rules on how, what, how much you will write and then share and discuss your writings. Many writing schools, like Writer’s studio that I attended use this technique where each week there is a different writing topic and later we would discuss our writings and get feedback. It’s a proven method that seems to work.

I hope this will help you to develop your own writing habit, one that is enjoyable, fun and productive. Do you have any tips? Please share in the comments below.

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