Nine Alexandrias by Semezdin Mehmedinovic
New Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series)

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Translated from the Bosnian with an introduction by Ammiel Alcalay

Following his depiction of Bosnia under siege in the much celebrated Sarajevo Blues, Semezdin Mehmedinovic´ now explores the vast space of his new continent. Mostly written in response to a cross-country journey by train in post 9-11 America, Mehmedinovic´’s Nine Alexandrias provides a poetry of witness and testimony of a very different order. In this nightmarish and exhilarating odyssey, Mehmedinovic´’s political acuity is displayed everywhere but barely pronounced. In Washington, D.C., his new home, the graphic and tactile affirmation of life amidst horror depicted so masterfully in Sarajevo Blues, turns into an eerie silence that permeates both the expanse of the land and the heart of the American empire.

Praise for Semezdin Mehmedinovic´’s Sarajevo Blues:

"A memorable literary achievement."—Library Journal

"Sarajevo Blues is widely considered here to be the best piece of writing to emerge from the besieged capital since Bosnia’s war erupted in April 1992."—The Washington Post

"In poems, micro-essays, and prose vignettes, Semezdin Mehmedinovic´ charts the collapse of a world with clear-eyed passion for the truth that one finds in the young Hemingway, the Hemingway of In Our Time."—Paul Auster

Semezdin Mehmedinovic´ was born in Tuzla, Bosnia in 1960 and is the author of five books. Mehmedinovic´ -arrived in the U.S. as a political refugee in 1996, and he is currently living in Alexandria, Virginia.


About Semezdin Mehmedinovic

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Ammiel Alcalay is poet, translator, critic, and scholar who teaches at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of, among other books, After Jews and Arabs (1993); the cairo notebooks (1993); Memories of Our Future (1999); from the warring factions (2002); and Scrapmetal (2007). A new book of essays, A Little History, is due out in 2010. He was one of the initiators of the Poetry Is News Coalition, and helped to organize the Olson Now project. He has recently launched Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, a publishing venture whose mission is to retrieve and make available key texts falling widely under the rubric of the New American Poetry. Semezdin Mehmedinovic was born in Tuzla, Bosnia in 1960 and is the author of four books. In 1993 he was cowriter and codirector, with Benjamin Filipovic, of Mizaldo, one of the first Bosnian films shot during the war. The film was presented at the Berlin Film Festival in 1994, and won the first prize at the Mediterranean Festival in Rome the following year. He, his wife, and their child left Bosnia and came to the U.S. as polical refugees in 1996.
Published September 1, 2003 by City Lights Publishers. 98 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Alcalay's English never feels forced or rushed, and his very acute introduction articulates the book's underlying conceit perfectly: "Mehmedinovic's narrator holds the pulse to the real by protecting us from what he has seen and known in another life....

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