Inspired by tombstones and their inscriptions, Mak Dizdar's rich and haunting poems in Stone Sleeper, his most famous work, are a journey into the mysterious heart of medieval Bosnia. The poems form a three-way dialogue between the modern poet, the Christian heretics awaiting Judgement Day beneath their enigmatically-carved tombstones, and the heretic-hunters. Beneath the local and temporal, Dizdar explores universal issues: the value of resistance, though it might be futi≤ of faith, though it might be illusory; and of life, though it ends in death.
Francis R Jones's inventive and beautiful translations convey his deep understanding of Dizdar's purpose. In addition a penetrating analysis of Stone Sleeper's historical, religious and spiritual background is given by the distinguished scholar Rusmir Mahmutcehajic, whose book Across the Water: On the Poetry of Mak Dizdar is published by Fordham University Press.
Mehmed Alija Mak' Dizdar (1917-1971), considered one of the greatest Yugoslav writers, was born in Stolac, southern Bosnia. After the war, in which he was a partisan in Tito's army, he became a prominent figure in Bosnian cultural life, working as newspaper editor, as book publisher and, finally, as President of the Writers' Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He died in Sarajevo.