Born in Gornji Milanovac in 1894, Momcilo Nastasijevic became a high school professor and spent most of his life in that capacity in Belgrade, where he died in 1938. Nastasijevic is perhaps the most enigmatic of Serbian poets. From the very beginning he endeavored to create his own idiom, to which he remained faithful all his unfortunately brief, creative life.
In his poetry and short stories he drew from the rich folklore and from the distant past, both of which he interpreted in his own way, as well as from his mystical outlook on life. He also attempted to formulate through his works a national and religious philosophy whose roots, again, he found in the dark recesses of the soul of his nation. As a poet, Nastasijevic remained a loner, understood and admired only by his closest friends. Lately, however, his work has begun to exert a noticeable influence on younger Serbian poets.
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During his lifetime Momcilo Nastasijevic was less well known than some of his contemporaries, such as Miloš Crnjanski and Rastko Petrovic. His literary output was not large, and it gained immediate appreciation only in a narrow circle of intimate friends. Although he published poems regularly in leading literary periodicals such as Misao (Thought) and Srpski knjizevni glasnik (Serbian Literary Herald), he remained relatively unnoticed. He privately published his one volume of poetry, Pet lirskih krugova (Five Lyrical Cycles, 1932). One reason for this lack of recognition was that--with his individual views of poetry and literature and the problems of the development of the Serbian literary language--he was outside the trends of expressionism and surrealist Marxism dominant in Belgrade at the time. Another reason was that his compression of style and his individual imagery make him an extraordinarily difficult poet, especially for those who seek a paraphrasable meaning in poetry. For this reason he has been accused of being hermetic by some critics.
Edward Goy (Fall/Spring 1986/7), The Cycle Vdenja from the Pet Lirskih Krugova of Momcilo Nastasijevic, Serbian Studies, North American Society for Serbian Studies, Vol. 4, Numbers 1/2