York prof guest edits new issue of Descant

photo of Amila Buturovic

The cities and towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina have always fascinated residents and visitors with their eclectic architectural styles and cultural heritages.

The region’s heritage, heartache and promise are at the heart of a new edition of the quarterly literary journal Descant that is set to be released March 26. Titled, “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Between Loss and Recovery”, features York humanities Professor Amila Buturovic as the publication’s guest editor.

To mark the issue’s publication, Buturovic will deliver a special lecture on Bosnia’s certain losses and uncertain recoveries on Tuesday, April 10 at the Annex Live, 296 Brunswick Avenue in Toronto. Buturovic’s lecture is a keynote event that is part of a larger celebration of the publication’s launch. Festivities begin at 6:30pm and will continue until 10:30pm.

Amila ButurovicAmila Buturovic

Buturovic will be joined at the launch by several contributors to the special issue, including York English Professor and poet Priscila Uppal; playwright Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail ’s first fiction reviewer and author of Drina Bridge (Raincoast, 2006); York PhD student Gorcin Dizdar (MA ’10); and Amela Marin, author of The First Sea (Quatro Books, 2010). Montreal photographer Velibor Bozovic will present a slideshow of his photographs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There will also be a raffle and numerous prizes awarded, ranging from vouchers for various Toronto venues to a selection of newly published books. The recipient of the Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem will also be announced.

Why should the region be the focus of a special issue of a literary journal? The selection of writings and photographs in “Bosnia and Herzegovina: Between Loss and Recovery” speaks to the continuing fascination the small Balkan country exerts over the international community at large and over the local literary community in particular.

The Nobel Prize-winning Yugoslav author, Ivo Andric, wrote his ode to Visegrad in The Bridge on the Drina, while the famed poetry of Aleksa Santic is steeped in the imagery of Mostar. Both of these urban centres are visited in the special issue of Descant, with University of Sarajevo Professor Edina Becirevic ’s “Memories of Rape” and poet E. A. Carpentier’s “Mostar” contemplating the recent scarring of Visegrad and Mostar’s physical and psychical landscapes.

The capital city Sarajevo garners the most attention with poetry by Uppal, spoken word artist Kathy Ashby and Irish-Canadian writer Colin Carberry conveying the intense impressions the city makes on its many visitors. Photographer Andreea Muscurel ’s “Sanitizing Memories” offers a narrative and visual journey through the post-war streets, with stunning photographs of Sarajevo.

For more information, contact Vera DeWaard, the publication’s managing editor, at managingeditor@descant.ca.