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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 95 | volume XVII | March-April, 2014



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 95March-April, 2014
Prose

The Afterlife of Vaska Pupinova

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Rumena Bužarovska

Vaska Pupinova was a Macedonian poetess with over forty poetry collections to her name. She began publishing after the age of fifty. Meanwhile she was unemployed. Vaska died in 2014 at the age of eighty. This means she published more than one volume of poetry every twelve months in the thirty years before her death. Not one of these collections received a single review or a single award. No one invited Vaska to poetry readings, though she would attend them all the same. No one knew she existed, only noticing her when she came to a women’s organization to promote her books or hand them out for free. Verses for Women, The Female Flower, If You Love Me Then Love Me As I Am, The Heart’s Flutter, In His Lover’s Bed are just a few titles in her grand opus—an output characterized by soapy metaphors and ornate clichés.

Her booklets are thin, the print large and uneven, with formatting errors and pages that stick to each other or fall out after the first thumbing through. The covers are cheap and ugly, with colors a centimeter outside the borders, inducing double-vision. The publishing house was called Pupin Press and was owned by Vaska’s husband. Except for Vaska’s books, as well as several epic poems and romances about Alexander the Great written by a member of the Macedonian diaspora in Australia, Pupin Press never published works by any other author.

When old Pupin died, he left Vaska his entire property: an enormous house in Debar Maalo; country houses in Matka and Mavrovo; and a three-bedroom apartment in the center of the city. Vaska only rented out the apartment, and used all the other property herself. Her daughter and son and their families lived in Skopje, but they rarely visited her. They were eager for her to die so that they could take over her property. And so they lived an untroubled life, taking summer and winter holidays even though they were unable to afford such luxuries themselves.

The moment Vaska died, her scavenging relatives assembled to open the will. For three days in a row—the time it took for the will to be opened after her death and burial on a separate plot beside her husband’s grave—each of Vaska’s children experienced a severe itching sensation in the palm of their left hands,  convincing themselves that they would inherit large sums of money and go on taking






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