Archives

April, 2011

PEN World Voices 2011: The Launch of Carlos Franz’s “The Absent Sea”

A book launch at the Americas Society, on Park Avenue, has a sort of Old World gravitas to it. With its ornate cornices, vaulted ceilings and sparkling chandeliers, the space exerts an Oz-like pull on authors from across the Spanish-speaking world. Or at least that’s what Carlos Franz, the Chilean…...

The City and the Writer: In Copenhagen with Niels Hav

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If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.                               —Italo…...

The Poetry Forum: International Women Poets

April brings both Poetry Month and the first anniversary of the publication of our Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. In his introduction to the anthology, editor Ilya Kaminsky lamented the shortage of translations of international women poets and pledged to address the issue in WWB. In addition,…...

Of Books and Roses: Sant Jordi’s Day in Catalunya

The bustling, cosmopolitan port city of Barcelona, favored by travelers the world over for its Mediterranean climate, innovative architecture, and avant-garde cuisine, also happens to be the publishing capital for the Spanish-speaking world of some 500 million people. It is home to the big players in…...

On Reviewing Translations: Scott Esposito

To my mind, the problem is simple: reviewing literary translations is full of thorny issues and difficult questions, and I am as suspicious of anyone who claims to have answered them as I am of someone who tells me they know what art is. But! Which reader of Words Without Borders would say that right…...

New MLA Guidelines on Evaluating Translations

The Modern Language Association has posted new guidelines for evaluating translations as scholarship for tenure review.  Building on previous publications by ALTA and PEN, and drawing on the report of the academic working group at the Salzburg Global Seminar 461, the document offers guidelines for…...

From the London Book Fair, Day 3

In a morning session at today’s London Book Fair, Daniel Hahn asked a group of translators and translation advocates what it is exactly that makes a good translator. An “open-ended and impossible” question, he hastened to add, but one that at least needed to be considered by the panel,…...

From the London Book Fair: Myths and Myth-busting

Some welcome myth-busting about translation today at day two of the Literary Translation Center.  During the opening session, called “Translation Intelligence: Surveys, Reports, Statistics—What’s the Story Behind Them?,” Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN, plugged…...

From the London Book Fair—Translations and Liquidity: Crises and Capital

The first day of the Literary Translation Center at the London Book Fair has first and foremost been about asking questions.  This is because one of the organizing themes of the day—and a refrain among the handful of panels held—has turned on one of the biggest issues facing literature…...

2011: Year of Milosz!

Over the past few weeks, New York has begun to celebrate the centenary of one of Poland’s—and maybe the world’s—greatest poets, Czeslaw Milosz,as the “Year of Milosz” kicks off. With nationwide and worldwidereadings, remembrances, and exhibits, the year is meant…...

On Reviewing Translations: Suzanne Jill Levine tells us what the “Subversive Scribe” might add:

Throwing one’s hat into this ring can be a two-edged plume, mark my mixed-up metaphor.  If we, wearing our translator hats (though not many of us can afford hats), tell reviewers that any adjective, from “brilliant” to “clunky,” unjustified by examples, just won’t…...

On Reviewing Translations: Confessions of a Book Reviewer (of works in translation)

There is an anecdote about translation—which, fittingly, I´ve only come across second-hand—that involves an enthusiastic Ernest Hemingway gushing to a friend that finally, with a new translation of War and Peace, he can get through the whole novel.  His friend then says, of the…...

From Saigon to Quebec: Kim Thuy

Kim Thuy was born into privilege in Saigon in 1968 and fled ten years later with her family. After a harrowing crossing in the hold of a fishing boat and a miserable stay in a Malaysian refugee camp, the family settled in Quebec. Thuy's Ru, from our May 2010 issue, recounts these experiences in poetic,…...

This

This poem is dedicated to my friend and colleague Juliano Mer Khamis, born in Nazareth in 1958 and Artistic Director of the Jenin Freedom Theater. He was tragically shot by unknown assailants in Jenin yesterday as he was leaving the theater. His two-year-old son was in the car with him. Juliano was the…...

On Reviewing Translations: Rigoberto González

With so few titles getting translated into English, it seems ludicrous to impose too many conditions in terms of matching a book reviewer to a translated project, or even in terms of determining whether a translated project is worth reviewing. The sad fact is that those of us reviewing books already…...

The Explosion of the Radiator Hose by Jean Rolin

Image of The Explosion of the Radiator Hose by Jean Rolin
The connection that a reader forges with a first-person narrator varies tremendously from book to book, depending on the degree of intimacy or detachment elicited, on how convincing or charming or grating we find the voice, on how seduced, manipulated, or outraged we find ourselves. Sometimes, all too…...

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