“All We Have Left,” a 2012 memoir of mine about Bosnia-Herzegovina — a photo and travel essay, featuring art by Samir Biščević and music by Merima Ključo and Miroslav Tadić — has just been published in the online Canadian literary magazine Numéro Cinq, along with new poems about Bosnia by the masterful Goran Simić and Sydney Lea, Vermont’s Poet Laureate.
**My essay “All We Have Left” is here.
**Goran Simić’s “Wind in the Straitjacket” is here.
**And Sydney Lea’s “No Consequence,” dedicated to Goran, is here.
The editor of Numéro Cinq, the brilliant Canadian novelist Douglas Glover, captured the spirit of our unlikely, border-crossing collaborations in his preview for the October issue:
Long story: in 2010 we published a gorgeous sequence of poems by the Bosnian-Canadian poet Goran Simić. Flash forward to this summer: I got in touch with Goran in Bosnia and he said sure but he needed some translation help. Contributing Editor Sydney Lea put me in touch with Tom Simpson at Phillips Exeter Academy who knows Goran and has a personal stake in Bosnia. Tom flies to Sarajevo and he and Goran have what I can only say must have been a wonderful time together, sitting in Bosnian bars and coffee houses, mulling over the poems. The result: We have in this issue a brand new, freshly translated (by Goran and Tom) sheaf of Goran Simić poems, plus a terribly moving, passionate memoir of Thomas Simpson’s travels in Bosnia, his friendships and epiphanies.You will have to read the poems and the essay; words fail, and the story of pain, loss and human will embodied in the word Bosnia can only be re-experienced in their art.
But wait, there’s more (ah, the endless adventure of editing NC): A week and a half ago, Tom wrote to say he’d gone to a Sydney Lea reading (they had never met before), and Syd had read a poem about and for Goran Simić that nearly brought Tom to tears. So I wrote to Syd and got the poem for NC. Much gratitude to Tom and Goran and Syd for combining on two continents to bring this to pass.
Profound gratitude to Goran, Sydney, Douglas, and all my dear Bosnian friends.