About the Author
In Susko’s second book of poems in English, a dizzying, exhilarating, unnerving meditation on war, survival, history and self, the act of poetry turns nightmare into reality and history into dream…. He has brought personal and public suffering and terror to that very edge where we can hardly bear them any longer and turns them and his verse into something beautiful and terrifying at the same moment.
Robert Karmon, Professor, Nassau Community College
There is a steady and relentless power in Versus Exsul. We are slowly pulled through a Universe of Pain all the more vivid than Rilke’s for being firmly here on earth, in the present, in the senses of People Like Us, “as if pigeons could be the earthly spies of eagles.” Above all, it is the experience of thinking, ceaseless as a bodily function, that links Versus Exsul in all its disparate parts, its lands distant and close, its stages of memory–thinking as the condition of breathing.
Born in Sarajevo, Mario Susko is a witness and survivor of the war in Bosnia. Wounded during a mortar attack, he left the city in March of 1993 and came to the US that November. He graduated in English from the University of Sarajevo and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from SUNY at Stony Brook in the 70s. Between 1970 and 1990 he edited and translated poetry by Theodore Roethke, e. e. cummings, fiction by Donald Barthelme and Saul Bellow; also, he translated fiction by Bernard Malamud, James Baldwin, E. L. Doctorow, James Dickey, William Styron, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others. He has published nineteen books of poems, two of them in the US, Mothers, Shoes and Other Mortal Songs and Versus Exsul, where he has lived half of his past thirty years. He has also edited and translated into Croatian Black on White, an anthology of 20th century African-American poetry, as well as the integral edition/translation of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, both released by Meandar in Zagreb (2000 & 2002). He is the recipient of several awards, including the Nassau Review Poetry Award, the “Nuove Lettere” International Prize for Poetry and Literature for Mothers, Shoes and Other Mortal Songs (I. C. I. in Napoli, Italy, published the Italian edition of the book in 2001), and the Tin Ujevic Award (Croatia) for Versus Exsul.