Divine insomnia

Catches up with my eating habits,

Is here to devour me again;

Fumes of Hell’s Kitchen on a cold February midnight

Breezing through my hands and paralyzed nostrils…

I am in love with a madman

Who tells fables about the ancient ruins of

City Bank halls and who claims he discovered

God in another galaxy, next to ours.

At home, at last, stars are very quiet tonight.

They watch me closely, condescending

As I bang at my typewriter this never ending story

About two cities which I’ve never visited in my tired spirit.

The cats I’ve never had, observe me from my armchairs

Which I sold in Paris whose postcards

I admired in Abijan, where I never lived , for a month.

Several lions have sniffed my bones

After the good supper they had at the poetry reading

In New York, one summer, and the man

I loved the best was cleaning their paws

Without humiliation because he believed

In my blurred vision saved by the lions

For his inquisitive mind.

Nina Zivancevic

Divine insomnia is part of the anthology DISEASE, organised by me, poet/doctor Rushika Wick and Serbian poet Ana Seferovic. Avaliable for sale on Carnaval Press‘ website.

Poet, essayist, fiction writer, playwright, art critic, translator and contributing editor to NY ARTS magazine from Paris, Serbian-born Nina Zivancevic published 15 books of poetry. She has also written three books of short stories, two novels and a book of essay on Milosh Crnjanski (her doctoral thesis) published in Paris, New York and Belgrade. The recipient of three literary awards, a former assistant and secretary to Allen Ginsberg, she has also edited and participated in numerous anthologies of contemporary world poetry.

As editor and correspondent she has contributed to New York Arts Magazine, Modern Painters, American Book Review, East Village Eye, Republique de lettres. She has lectured at Naropa University, New York University, the Harriman Institute and St.John’s University in the U.S., she has taught English language and literature at La Sorbonne ( Paris I and V) and the History of Avant-garde Theatre at Paris 8 University in France and at numerous universities and colleges in Europe. She has actively worked for theatre and radio: 4 of her plays were performed and emitted in the U.S. and Great Britain. In New York she had worked with the “Living Theatre” and the members of the “Wooster Group”. She lives and works in Paris.


DISEASE is a poetry anthology which I organised with poet and doctor Rushika Wick and Serbian poet Ana Seferovic. This collaborative project involves exciting contemporary poets and some visual artists, from the UK and abroad, writing and expressing their ideas on the subject on disease, be it from a physical, mental and/or social perspective. The interesting cover is an artwork by Anna Ruback, a fine artist and photographer based in London who explores her fascination with the human body.

This project was made possible thanks to our kind supporters on Kickstarter.


Ágnes Lehóczky | Alice Merry | Ana Seferovic | Andrea Christofidou| Anna Ruback | Astra Papachristodoulou | bonnie hancell | Brit Parks | Charles A. Perrone | Charlotte Lunn | Chris Kerr | Chris Blewitt | Chris Gutkind | Claire Cox | Dani Salvadori |Davi de Lacerda |Domenico Salas| Dubravka Đurić | Eduardo Jorge | Ellen Jenkins | Fernando Naporano | Fran Lock | Francis H. Powell | Golnoosh Nour | Hannah Copley | Ilias Tsagas | Ivana Maksić | Johny Brown | Julia Rose Lewis & Nathan Hyland Walker | Kate Simpson | Kirsty Allison | K. P. Kavafis | Manoella Valadares | Matt Bates | Matthew Haigh | Max Henninger | Michael Horovitz | Natalie Stypa | Nina Zivancevic | Oliver Zarandi | Peter J. King | Renan Iha | Rushika Wick | Sascha A. Akhtar | SJ Fowler | Slana Detox | Sitron Panopoulos | |Stuart McKenzie | Svetlana Rakočević | Sylee Gore | Tamara Šuškić | Tom Rosas | Tracey Pearson | Vanessa Vie | Virna Teixeira

The anthology is available to buy on Carnaval Press’s website and is currently with a 20% discount for UK delivery. Discount also available for international delivery + postage costs (in that case contact email carnavalpress@gmail.com

Poetry from the wards


Suite 136 is a prose-poetry documentary book that it was published last year by Carnaval Press. This book is the result of my experiences working as a locum doctor (and as a foreigner doctor) in psychiatric hospitals in London. ‘136 suite is a place of safety for those who have been detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act by the police following concerns that they are suffering from a mental disorder’. It is a short term section to warrant medical assessment, and the suite is seen as safer place for that purpose, instead of a police station. The poems in this book are untitled and therefore 136 Suite works as metaphoric title.

My intention was to listen and to register, anonymously, and in different ways, the patients’ perception of their detainment in hospital under the Mental Health Act and their own experiences with a mental health condition. Confidentiality is preserved and narratives are slightly blurred with fiction.

This work has also been a result of my parallel activities as a doctor and a poet for many years, and of a degree I obtained in Medical Humanities at King’s College London, which allowed me to work more consciously in that direction – although medical marks can be traced along even my early writings. I presented this project in a Medical Humanities Conference in Ulm, Germany in December 2018.

The book is bilingual (English/ Portuguese), and can be ordered with Carnaval Press by carnavalpress@gmail.com




If you told me you were an angel, I wouldn’t judge you. An angel is a sort of innocent.

I’m an individual, I’m not a typical person so the dose of medication shouldn’t be typical.

It is affecting my angel’s rights. My naivety is being abused. In reality I was diagnosed with demoralisation and uselessness. The illness is no longer there. 

Unlike this induced state, I am blissful.

Thinking has helped my mental state, and I believe that talking is the way to solve things.


Se você me dissesse que você era um anjo, eu não julgaria você. Um anjo é uma espécie de inocente.  

 Eu sou um indivíduo, eu não sou uma pessoa típica, então a dose da medicação não devia ser típica.  

Está afetando meus direitos de anjo. Minha inocência está sendo abusada. Na realidade eu fui diagnosticado com desmoralização e inutilidade. A doença já era. 

Diferentemente deste estado induzido, eu sou uma pessoa bem-aventurada.

 Pensar tem ajudado o meu estado mental, e eu acredito que falar é a forma de resolver as coisas.  




I am afraid of world war syndrome. I am afraid of vampires. I am afraid of death. I can hear the vampires. They talk like people. Their faces frighten me. I can hear angels, demons, vampires and wolves. They are talking about me. They came to save me. The windows are closed, and angels can’t come in. She thinks I am vampire, and she follows me with a stake in her hand.


Tenho medo de síndrome da guerra mundial. Tenho medo de vampiros. Tenho medo da morte. Eu posso ouvir os vampiros. Eles falam como gente. As faces deles me assustam. Eu posso ouvir anjos, demônios, vampiros e lobos. Eles estão falando sobre mim. Eles vieram me salvar. As janelas estão fechadas, e os anjos não podem entrar. Ela pensa que sou um vampiro, e me persegue com uma estaca na mão.




My mind is mathematical
My body is electronic

Your body language tells me
you’re from SãoPaulo

Doctor you look like a patient

I’ve never been to Brazil
I’ve been to Suriname
My father was from Burma
My mother was Anglo-Indian

I fell in love only once in 1984
He is on the phone directory
He thought I was going out
with a ginger haired man

Now you can interview me

I can pretend I am Brazilian
I can be Gisele Bunchen
I failed as a model once

I can’t remember running naked
It was the first time that
policemen were nasty to me
That never happened before

How come I am so tall
and you’re so small

I am elated I told you
I am allergic to lithium


Minha mente é matemática
Meu corpo é eletrônico

Sua linguagem corporal me diz
que você é de SãoPaulo

Doutora você parece uma paciente

Eu nunca fui ao Brasil
Eu fui ao Suriname
Meu pai era de Burma
Minha mãe era anglo-indiana

Só me apaixonei uma vez em 1984
Ele está na lista telefônica
Ele pensou que eu estava saindo
com o homem de cabelo gengibre

Agora você pode me entrevistar
Eu posso fingir que sou brasileira
Eu posso ser Gisele Bunchen
Eu fracassei como modelo uma vez

Não me lembro de correr pelada
Foi a primeira vez que
os policiais foram malvados comigo
Isso nunca aconteceu antes

Por quê eu sou tão alta
e você é tão baixa

Eu estou exaltada eu avisei
que era alérgica a lítio

Virna Teixeira