The book begins with one of the greatest modern poets of the Balkans, Mak Dizdar (1917-1971), and ends with a selection of younger poets whose work emerged powerfully during the siege of Sarajevo. The result is a Janus-faced volume of rare breadth: one which evokes both the hidden peacetime Bosnia of Yugoslav Communism and the land ravaged by the worst war crimes on European soil since the Second World War. In a compelling introduction, editor Chris Agee relates literature to history, setting Scar on the Stone in the context of the rich, complex polyphony that is Bosnia.
The translators are themselves leading poets from Britain, Ireland and America, including Harry Clifton, David Constantine, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Ted Hughes, Kathleen Jamie, Ruth Padel, Charles Simic, Ken Smith and John Hartley Williams. Mak Dizdar and some of the younger poets are translated by Francis R. Jones, whose translations of Ivan V. Lalic and Vasko Popa have been widely acclaimed.