Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.


Here is a glimpse into my enduring odyssey along the eternal spiral of life--an endless quest for beauty, knowledge, and wisdom. The adventures along the way are the wellspring of creativity for the prose and poetry I write. They inspire my photography.
My journey begins along the amber-speckled shores of the Baltic seaside village Grossenbrode, in post-World War II Germany. I am the first-born of Serbian parents. They are political refugees from Communism in their homeland, the former Yugoslavia.
I grow up in the 12th Century town of Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in a close knit family of five. Making ends meet is tough. Throughout these formative years, Serbian cultural traditions and unconditional love dominate our lives. My childhood memories echo with laughter, music, and the magic of my first light catching device--a 35mm film camera.
Idyllic landscapes of rolling glacial moraines, beech and pine forests, thatch-roofed farms, and numerous lakes are my playgrounds. Heroes in Germanic and Serbian epic poetry and legends of the American West fuel my imagination. During my school years in Eutin I develop an appreciation of the arts, natural world, and language studies. I read voraciously. Teachers encourage my penchant to draw and paint. They also embolden contemplation and examination of nature with first-hand experiences on field trips. My parents instill a sense of integrity and strong moral compass.
Our family immigrates to the United States in 1961. I achieve citizenship in 1966 and after four years of college enlist in the US Air Force. My chosen career path is the Fire Service. I live and breathe our motto of "Desire To Serve, Ability To Perform, And Courage To Act." Numerous worldwide assignments, additional college degrees, a fair share of hard knocks, and a rewarding thirty years of service to my country conclude in what seems the blink of an eye. I retire as Command Fire Chief twenty seven days before the end of the last millennium.
I have a special place in my heart for two daughters and their families; and, the steadfast wind beneath my wings--my wife.
I am a husband, father, grandfather, writer, teacher, history buff, poet, photographer, artist, outdoorsman (hiking, riding, skiing, cycling), and dog man. I am a dreamer. I am a fire dawg. I am a cowboy. I am El Llanero Viejo. I am a svetski putnik, a globe trekker, to include 45 US states, Canada, Mexico, 15 European countries, the Caribbean, and South America. I am Tȟašúŋke Witkó. I am Miloš Obilić. I am the first rain drop upon a parched prairie. I am the hawk soaring on thermals against an azure sky. I am the wind in the Winter pines.


  1. So beautifully written.
    Pat in Uk.

  2. Congratulations!!!!!! I love to see your photos. Wonderful photos! Hugs from Rio de janeiro/Brasil.
    Iracema Hochman

  3. Honored to have found your beautiful poetry and photos.
    Ginger in Texas

  4. knueppel@math.uni-kiel.deDecember 23, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    In 1984 I made a retrospective view on the years of our childhood in Eutin. After so many years this is a retrospective view on a retrospective view. At that time I was very busy producing films
    using Kodak-super-8, weaving stories from imagination and reality and simultaneously
    recorded my family. Some years ago I transferred my films into digital (technical quality
    of course much worse than present high-definition-recording) and would like to send you the digital version via filemail.com (the seize exceeds an e-mail appendix). If you want me to send this film
    to you I need your e-mail address. Frieder in Kiel.

  5. knueppel@math.uni-kiel.deDecember 23, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Dear Iliya, it's great delight to watch your beautiful photos and read your literature. What a difference
    the cowboy hat makes. This lonely house in the prairie on top of your page, is it your home? I use my new freedom (from teaching and research) for playing violin and ballroom dancing.
    Let's have a good time in 2015. Yours Frieder.