A little poet in a girl's and a monk's dress.
The most famous Croatian poet and bohemian Tin Ujević was born in a Turkish tower in Vrgorac. The tower was a temporary monument to the Turkish conquests and was dilapidated and uncomfortable. A poor village teacher, his father Ivan Ujević, was forced to build his hearth there. His place of birth, like most of his future lodgings, was so dilapidated that in the autumn his father riveted the windows with boards to protect his home from the strong Dalmatian wind.
Tin was an unusual child. In his autobiography, he wrote that as a little boy he liked to dress in women's dresses because he felt more comfortable in them. He learned to read and write before starting school, where his father was the teacher. Tin described his father as a patriarchal man who, of all his teachers, beat him the most and was the strictest towards him. He was an extremely lively child. He climbed trees, walls, fell into pits, once even into a well. He later claimed that his skull had changed shape from all those falls.
Due to the force of circumstances, the family moved to Imotski and not long after to Makarska. There, Tin continued to attend school as a lonely and withdrawn child. However, the locals still remember the incident in which this calm and self-effacing boy got into a fight in front of the Kačić monument. The fight broke out for unknown reasons, and thin and long Tin was the winner.
After graduating from public school, Augustin entered the Split high school. After the entrance exam, he enrolled straight into the second grade. He went to the city under Marjan alone when he was only twelve years old. He lived with a friar and was extremely poor. Poverty was the leitmotif of his whole life. As a high school student, he didn't have his own books, so he borrowed them before class in order to learn in a short time what he needed to learn at home. He started writing more significant poems as a thirteen-year-old boy, but none of them have been preserved. He was an excellent student, and he loved mathematics very much. He was dissatisfied that the classical gymnasium he attended could not provide him with better knowledge in that subject. However, the course of his life was directed by his love for reading. As a high school student, he read everything he could get his hands on.
Although he lived in a seminary, he was an anti-clerical and, together with his colleagues, hatched conspiracies against the friars and wrote novels. In the seventh grade, the priests discovered the negatively intoned letters that the young men were exchanging and punished them with a harsh rebuke. His high school classmates remember him as quarrelsome and withdrawn, but also as a real little encyclopedia. Namely, Tin remembered everything - names, years, even poems that he would only read once. He finished high school as a native of Starčević and was intrigued by politics, like all young men of that time, and thought about enrolling in law. His parents wanted him to be a priest. Ujević did not respect their wish. Interested in getting to know himself and the world more deeply, he enrolled in the study of Croatian language and literature, classical philology and aesthetics at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb. With the beginning of his studies, he started writing poetry again. His first published poem was the sonnet Za novi vidicima in the magazine Mlada Hrvatska, in which he continues to publish his works later.