Tin Ujević

Jul 5, 1891 - Nov 12, 1955(64)

First day in Belgrade

Arriving in Belgrade, he went straight to the cafe "Moskva"...

Ujević earned his bohemian status precisely in Belgrade. According to testimonies at the time, he was more often drunk than sober. There he completely discarded all his former civil manners. Before, a promising young man, sharp and persistent in political action, grew into a genius artist. But that artist survived exclusively on other people's charity.

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Arriving in Belgrade, he went straight to the cafe "Moskva". The place where, as a young man, he gave fiery political speeches and gathered like-minded people eager to create Yugoslavia. He met Rade Drainac, a young Serbian poet, in a cafe and asked him if he could sit at his table. Drainc was delighted because he had already heard of the poetic genius. After sitting down, Tin began one of his legendary monologues that could go on for hours, during which, of course, it was up to the listener to buy a drink. After drinking well, he went to the famous cafe Triglav. Prominent politicians dined there. According to the story, he met a former political associate of Matošić there. The latter ordered lunch, and Tin asked: - What about me? - He said that he had no money and that he also needed an apartment. Matošić ensured that he would eat in the cafe for the whole month and placed him in the small hall on an old couch.

Over the next ten years, Tin would become known as a coffee house entertainer with words. He spent evenings with the cream of society and those less important in different inns, most often in the "Three Hats". He would talk to them and entertain them, usually in exchange for drinks, lunches, and sometimes some money. At that time, his two poetry collections "Lelek sebra" and "Kolajna" were published. Although he was offered a significant fee for printing, Ujević initially did not want to publish these collections, considering them to be "dirty laundry" that should not be made public. Nevertheless, the collections were published, and Tin then began to assert himself for the first time in Belgrade as a significant poet, and not as an unaccountable bohemian as he appeared to the world at first.

(Jasen Boko: Tin Ujević – biography: thirty years of travel, 2017)

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