17 October 1917
Stolac, Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austro-Hungarian Empire
|Died||14 July 1971
Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Mehmedalija Dizdar was born in 1917, during World War I, to a Bosniak family in Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Bosnia was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the son of Muharem Dizdar and Nezira (née Babović). He had a sister named Refika and an older brother named Hamid.
In 1936, Dizdar relocated to Sarajevo where he attended and graduated from the Gymnasium. He started working for the magazine Gajret, which his brother Hamid regulated and which was founded by Safvet beg Bašagić.
After the war, Dizdar was a prominent figure in the cultural life of Bosnia and Herzegovina, working as the editor-in-chief of the daily Oslobođenje (Liberation). He served as head of a few state-sponsored publishing houses and eventually became a professional writer and the President of the Writers' Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a post he held until his death.
Dizdar's two poetry collections and series of longer poems, Kameni spavač (Stone Sleeper) (1966–71) and Modra rijeka (Blue River, 1971), fused seemingly disparate elements. He drew inspiration from pre-Ottoman Bosnian Christian culture, from the sayings of heterodox Islamic visionary mystics, and from the 15th century Bosnian vernacular linguistic idiom. His poetry referenced medieval Bosnian tombstones ("stećci" or "mramorovi" - marbles) and their gnomic inscriptions on the ephemerality of life. It articulated a distinctive vision of life and death, drawing on Christian and Muslim Gnostic sensibilities of life as a passage between "tomb and stars", expressing both the Gnostic horror of corporeality and a sense of the blessedness of the universe.
Mak Dizdar also fought against the forced influence of the Serbian language on the Bosnian language, in his 1970 article "Marginalije o jeziku i oko njega".
After the collapse of Communism and following the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dizdar's poetic magnum opus has remained the cornerstone of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina literature.
- "Godišnjica smrti velikog pjesnika: Šta je Maku značio stećak?". RadioSarajevo. 14 July 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Jones, Francis R. (2004). "Ethics, Aesthetics and Décision: Literary Translating in the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession". Meta: Translators' Journal 49 (4): 711–728.
- Shatzmiller, Maya (2002). Islam and Bosnia: Conflict Resolution and Foreign Policy in Multi-Ethnic States. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 35. ISBN 0-7735-2413-4.
- "Stolac – duboko podijeljen grad". dw.de. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- "Mak Dizdar: The Poet". SpiritofBosnia. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Award-winning translated by Francis R. Jones.
- "CHRONICLE". NYTimes. 3 December 1993. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Mak Dizdar Foundation
- Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, "On the Poetry of Mak Dizdar: The Poet, the Road, and the Word", Telos 156 (Fall 2011): 131-52.