A poet, writer and scholar, Zivancevic is most renowned for her poetry. Her first book of poems simply called ”Poems” won the Award for best first book in former Yugoslavia in 1982. Placing her right next to him in the realm of contemporary American poetry, Andrei Codrescu exclaims “Among us bilingual guerrilleros, she is the chief flame-maker.”
Allen Ginsberg, a major poet and the pivotal figure between the 50s Beat Generation and the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s, called Nina “his Eastern-European intellectual cousin”, and Ira Cohen, also a renowned American poet, has expressed the quintessential quality of her writing in the following: “and sometimes when she writes there leaks gold”.
Jacqueline Gens sums up both the poet and her work nicely as she says “Nina Zivancevic lives up to her international reputation as one of the foremost living poets of her native Yugoslavia from which she has won numerous prestigious awards since an early age.”
Jonathan Penton, the editor of “Unlikely Stories” magazine, wrote on Zivancevic: “Reading the poems of Nina Zivancevic, one is tempted to think that she was born a poet: her words and symbols flow so naturally that they seem to be an inherent part of her thought process, as if she always spoke in a flowing, perfect cadence.”
Poet, essayist, fiction writer and contributing editor to NY ARTS from Paris, Nina Zivancevic published her first book in 1982 for which she won the National Award for poetry in Yugoslavia. The author of eleven books of poetry, Zivancevic has also written four collections of short stories and two novels published in French, English and Serbo-Croatian. Her work is widely translated. She has written several plays and has given poetry performances in Europe and the United States. Besides having worked with the Living Theater in New York (1988-1992), she co-founded with Carlo Stephanos the “Odiyana Theater” in 1988.
The recipient of three literary awards (‘Brankova Poetry Award’, ‘Z Press Award’ and ‘Chester Jones Poetry Award’), Nina Zivancevic has edited and been included in numerous anthologies of contemporary world poetry and has appeared in the New York Arts Magazine, American Book Review, East Village Eye, Republique des Lettres. (See Bibliography).
Nina Zivancevic’s particular fields of interest have been Poetry and Linguistics.
From 1980 – 81 she worked as a Teaching Assistant and a secretary to Allen Ginsberg at the Naropa Institute in Colorado, USA. A 1982 recording at Naropa with Ginsberg and Naropa students reading their poems includes Nina reading her poem Roxy Music (46.50).
She obtained her MA in English and Comparative Literature from Temple University (Pennsylvania) in 1984. She also worked there as a Teaching Assistant for Dr Douglas Messerli and Assistant Editor of the Journal of Modern Literature whose editor was Maurice Beabe. During the 1980’s she worked as a Literary editor for East Village Eye and Theater X, and then as Assistant Editor at New Horizon Press in NY City.
Most of the 1990’s Zivancevic spent working as a Freelance journalist for Politika, El Pais, L’Unita, contributing Editor to Woman (Spain) and Nexus (University of Ohio).
In 2001 she earned her PhD in Comparative Literature and Slavic Studies from the University of Nancy II, France. Her doctoral thesis was Milos Crnjanski in France, a study in Theory of Reception. Her mentor was Dr. Dragoljub Dragan Nedeljkovic.
She has lectured at Naropa University, New York University, The Harriman Institute and St. John’s University, and other universities and colleges in Europe. She presently lives in Paris, teaches foreign languages and the history of the avangarde theatre at Paris University and occasionally curates shows of contemporary artists.
In 2006, the Sorbonne hosted a stage adaptation of Nina’s poetry, “Journaliste de Guerre, Journaliste du Cœur”, directed and produced by Sava Andjelkovic in Paris.
In 1999, Zivancevic’s poetry was adapted for the stage and produced by Naïma Taleb and Compagnie Résonances at the French National Poetry festival ,”Printemps des Poètes”.
Currently Zivancevic pursues her interest in journalism working as a correspondent to many magazines such as NY ARTS, Modern Painters, the Tribes, Dnevnik and Prestup, occasionally curating shows of contemporary artists.