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Rozafa's Milk
Diane Durant

Rozafa's Milk
A poetry anthology

ISBN-13: 978-0-939378-16-6

Edited and with an introduction by
Diane Durant
The University of Texas at Dallas
Ohio University
Mundus Artium Press
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© Ohio University | Athens, Ohio 45701 | Tel.: 740-593-1000 |

    The legend of Rozafa lays the foundation for this new anthology of poems from members of The Society of
    Albanian–American Writers. Edited and with an introduction by Texas native Diane Durant, this thoughtful
    collection addresses such universal themes as love, sacrifice, determination, hope, and triumph. Appearing
    for the first time in English, the words within these pages create vivid and compelling poetic pictures for new

           Teuta Osmani
           Adnan Mehmeti
           Yllka Filipi  
           Raimonda Moisiu
           Merita McCormack  
           Kostaq Duka  
           Luigj Kola Cekaj    
           Idriz Çelaj   
           Mehill Velaj  
           Keze Kozeta Zylo   
           Gjekë Marinaj   
           Veneta Çallpani   
           Elko Qeparoi   
           Dalan Luzaj   
           Iliriana Sulkuqi        
           Fation Pajo  
           Rozi Theohari  
           Petraq Risto
           Albana Melyshi Lifschin

    The Anthology

    The poets represented in this collection are all members of The Society of Albanian-American Writers,
    which was founded in 2001, just up the road from the University of Texas at Dallas where I would meet
    Gjekë Marinaj a few years later. Both pursuing graduate degrees, he was a poet and translator, and I was
    the incoming editor of the university’s literary journal, Sojourn. Some twelve years later, he approached me
    about a prospective project, and Rozafa’s Milk was born.

    Given loose translations of the poems in English, I endeavored to do three things as an editor: prioritize the
    poet’s narrative intent; maintain the overall form, line breaks, and rhythm of the original as closely as
    possible; and ultimately compile a series of poems that moves an English-speaking audience just as
    passionately as it surely does an Albanian one—just as passionately as it moved me. Throughout the
    selection process, universal themes emerged, themes that undoubtedly transcend oceans. As a native
    Texan, I jumped at the chance to celebrate snow and swallows; as a writer myself, to mourn lost love and
    death in the beautifully brutal and delicate way that only poetry can.

    But coming of age in the 90s, I admittedly had a singular understanding of Albania—a limited, albeit
    Western, view of the region and certainly the war in Kosovo which shaped so much of Albania’s recent
    history. In order to connect with a deeper, intrinsic meaning in the works and edit each poem with the
    aesthetic grace it deserved, I needed a greater appreciation for the role of both cultural history and
    mythology; I needed wider eyes to see the struggle, hardship, joy, and hope—for each poet’s sincere
    experiences as Albanian-Americans—that invariably flowers from each verse. As I researched the various
    tellings of the Rozafa legend and other immurement narratives from the Balkan region, I recognized a
    journey mired with sadness and sacrifice overcome by love and determination reminiscent of Albania’s own
    epic history, and thus Rozafa became the inspiration, and her metaphorical milk the essence, of this

    It is my hope that Rozafa’s Milk not only contributes to our understanding of the poetic experience, but that
    this small collection of poems also opens our collective minds to a greater human experience by amplifying
    both the words and the lives of these nineteen poets into a voice we can all hear, if we just listen.

                                                                                                                                             Diane Durant, PhD

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Rozafa's Milk