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Musa Ćazim Ćatić

Musa Ćazim Ćatić (12 March 1878 – 6 April 1915) was a Bosnian poet of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Renaissance at the turn of the 20th century.[1]

Musa Ćazim Ćatić
Musa Ćazim Ćatić.jpg
Born(1878-03-12)12 March 1878
Odžak, Bosnia Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died6 April 1915(1915-04-06) (aged 37)
Tešanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary
EducationUniversity of Zagreb


Ćatić was born in the northern Bosnian town of Odžak where he attended the maktab and primary school. After his father's death and mother's remarriage, Ćatić relocated to Tešanj to study the barber's trade, also enrolling at the local madrasa to study the Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages as part of his curriculum. In 1898, upon leaving for Istanbul, Ćatić acquainted another Bosnian poet, Osman Đikić, before returning home the following year to serve in the Austro-Hungarian Army in Tuzla and Budapest over the next three years. Having completed military service, Ćatić once again found himself in Istanbul where he attended the Numune-i Terakki Mektebi madrasa before entering the gymnasium. Troubled by the lack of funds however, he returns to Bosnia by 1904 and commences studies at the Islamic school in Sarajevo. At this point, Ćatić contributes to a number of papers, mostly in The Bosniak and Behar, and would take over as editor-in-chief for the latter in 1908 after having been expelled from the boarding school due to a "bohemian living". He still graduates, and leaves for Zagreb where he enlists at the Faculty of Law, socializing with Croat poets Antun Gustav Matoš and Tin Ujević during this period. By 1910, Ćatić returns to Bosnia and goes on to work in several locations (Bijeljina, Tešanj, Sarajevo) until eventually taking the magazine Biser) in Mostar under his wings, fully dedicating himself to literary work: writing poems, essays, criticism, translations of numerous studies and books for the Muslim library of Muhamed Bekir Kalajdžić. Peace does however not stay with Ćatić for very long as he is once more mobilized by the Army in 1914, transferred to Tuzla and from there on to Örkény in Hungary. Shortly after arriving, Ćatić fell ill with tuberculosis, and after a brief treatment in Budapest returned to Tešanj in late March 1915. He died on the 6th of April that year and was buried in the Tešanj cemetery with the following words carved on his grave: "Here lies a poet of excellent gift, who did not seek honor nor profit but lived bohemian and sang grand, until death escorted him to this grave." Many schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina bear his name including the high school "Musa Ćazim Ćatić" in Tešanj.

He is currently featured on the 50 convertible mark banknote of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Poetic style and influenceEdit


Ćatić was a poet by vocation and emotional structure who poetically experienced and imaginatively sublimated everything he came into contact with. Ćatić's poetry was life, the meaning of existence, the atmosphere of reality, and the medium in which his spirit ranged.


The poetic theme of Ćatić is situated, mainly, between two poles: eroticism by instinct and mysticism by spiritual endeavor, respectively. The combination of these motives sometimes occurred with a certain sense of spiritual distress, while sometimes sublimated in the form of sin, life and repentance as visioned by Epicurus and Khayyám. Mysticism though never separates Ćatić from reality and life; his mysticism, which draws on that of Turkish and Persian poets, rejects the pessimistic escapism of the spirit, similar to Baudelaire on whom Ćatić likewise draws.


Ćatić began in the style of his predecessor Safvet-beg Bašagić, standardized, with conventional instruments of versification and metrics, and a limited fund of metaphors from female folk songs and Eastern poetic symbols. But he soon made ground in the limited and underdeveloped poetic heritage surrounding him, spurring a small school of literary followers who would represent the second phase in the development of modern Bosnian poetry.


  • Pjesme od godine 1900.-1908. (1914, compiled 1900-1908)
  • Izvorna poezija and Izvorna i prevedena proza (1962, as "Sabrana dijela")


External linksEdit