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February 7, 2007

Bosnian Poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic to Read at Smith

Editor’s note:  To request a digital image of Semezdin Mehmedinovi?, contact Marti Hobbes at (413) 585-2190.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Smith College will present a reading by Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovi? at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Neilson Library Browsing Room. The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.

One of Bosnia’s most prominent poets and writers, Mehmedinovi? is the author of four books and has worked as an editor, journalist and filmmaker. With Benjamin Filipovi?, he co-wrote and co-directed “Mizaldo,” one of the first Bosnian films made during the recent war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Presented at the Berlin Film Festival in 1994, the film won first prize at the Mediterranean Festival in Rome the following year. After the war, Mehmedinovi? and his family came to the United States as political refugees, settling in Alexandria, Virginia.

Ammiel Alcalay’s English translation of Mehmedinovi?’s spare and haunting “Sarajevo Blues,” which was written under the horrific circumstances of the war, was praised by The Washington Post as one of the best literary documents of the conflict. In 2004, the Oakland-based band Charming Hostess released a CD version of “Sarajevo Blues” scored for voices, beatbox and string trio.

Mehmedinovi?’s most recent volume of poems, “Nine Alexandrias,” also translated by Alcalay, was written in response to a cross-country journey by train in post 9/11 America. The book received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, which called it “as good as anything published in English this year.”

Mehmedinovi?’s visit to Smith is presented by the American Studies Program, the Department of Comparative Literature, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. The reading will be followed by a book sale, signing and reception. For further information, contact Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director, at (413) 585-3368.

Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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