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From “English Craft”
By Graciela Speranza
We need a beer, he said, to recover from the shock.
Translated from Spanish by Amanda Hopkinson
Brief Stories
By Ricardo Piglia
She understood that the key to building herself a future was to decipher, not to decide.
Translated from Spanish by Sergio Waisman
From “Before the End”
By Ernesto Sábato
Out of that incurable sorrow was born the strange melody called the tango.
Translated from Spanish by Marina Harss
The Bride from Odessa
By Edgardo Cozarinsky
The noise of the city was reduced to a murmur, and in the distance they could glimpse the sea and ships, a nebulous promise each of them interpreted as they saw fit.
Translated from Spanish by Nick Caistor
From “The Boundless River”
By Juan José Saer
“Literary fanaticism, in any of its forms, whether from the point of view of master or disciple, has always been incompatible with the intelligence and free spirit of Saer.”—José Saramago
Translated from Spanish by Marina Harss
Irreversible Landscapes
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
Irreversible is the riveron whose backdead leaves swirl.Irreversible are words-the dust of roadsmingled with breath, warm breaththat sticks to our trembling lipslike fog to a boat.Irreversible is this…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
The Island You and I
living on an islandfar from cities with traffic lights and people.Outside we hear the rustlingsof a bed of reedswhere the wind with its toothless mouth blowsluring in tides.A boat is moored on the shorea…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
February Sky
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
Large, gray, sprawledlike an old elephant.Winter is ending.Low, sloping roofs are overturned boatsslumbering along the shores of drowsiness.Twenty years of an oak tree’s lifeis burned instantly…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
The Postman
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
He comes to me every day with a cruel bounce in his stepwith eyes darting like little green flames—the town postman in a heavy, damp coatjovially announcing he has nothing for me.I see his blue uniform…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
The Cinema
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
Without failSundays at the cinemawere always rainy daysbig black umbrellasclashing against the ticket booth.The doorman among the torn stubslooked like a watercolorhung crookedly on a kitchen wall.We…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
It’s Not Time For . . .
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
It’s not time for a change.As long as I can rememberit’s never been time for a change.Like cars that screech to a halthouses standpoised in their old breeding groundof rotten acacia leaves.From…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
From “Étoile Errante”
By J. M. G. Le Clézio
Set first in the village of Saint-Martin in southeast France, then in the refugee camp of Nour Chams, Étoile Errante (Wandering Star) tells the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath…
Translated from French by Justin Goldberg
By Faraj Bayraqdar
1Here I am you aloneIn this mad, gapingHellHere I am you alone and death altogetherWith its predators and its seers and the informersPerhaps I am arriving atThe limit of my possibilitiesFor you to arrive…
Translated from Arabic by Shareah Taleghani
By Miljenko Jergovic
They just disappeared one day without fuss or explanation.
Translated from Bosnian by Stela Tomasevic
Games on the Banks of the Danube
By Ivan Ivanji
My parents, who had been so inept as to be Jews, were already under arrest by then.
Translated from German by John K. Cox
By Fatos Lubonja
Stand up! The greatest man of the nation is being buried!
Translated from Albanian by John Hodgson
From “The Banquet in Blitva”
By Miroslav Krleza
Croatian writer Miroslav Krleza portrays a distinctly Balkan Everywhere of blended places and events in this surreal novel excerpt.
Translated from Croatian by Edward Dennis Goy & Jasna Levinger
By Miljenko Jergovic
She carefully opened her backpack and even more carefully pulled out a box displaying the logo of a well-known brand of cognac.
Translated from Bosnian by Stela Tomasevic
The Villa in Acibadem
By Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar
The villa in Acibadem left a clear mark on every stage of my life. It isn’t just that it touched my tender years like all those miracles of childhood are bound to do. It influenced my way of thinking,…
Translated from Turkish by Fatih Özgüven
Shadows on the Snow
By Luljeta Lleshanaku
The snow comes late this year. Violet shadowsdoze like shepherds rounda white fire.The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman’s clavicle—a woman who dreams of her lover’s snowy journey…
Translated from Albanian by Shpresa Qatipi & Henry Israeli
From “Silence Has Its Sound: Travels through Bosnia”
By Juli Zeh
Crossing the Serbian Republic’s BorderMost of the Republika Srpska border is made of garbage—it seems the whole town of Stolac brings its trash here. I meet three oncoming cars in fifty kilometers.…
Translated from German by Gerald Chapple
An Alphabetical Formation
By Faraj Bayraqdar
Alif You’re not beginning . . .It’s an eternity, you know . . .I mean, the ever-after, you knowNo matter, then.Raise your cavalryBut don’t set out for the horizon,Or the sea . .…
Translated from Arabic by Shareah Taleghani
[It is not fated that, in this world]
By Marina Tsvetaeva
It is not fated that, in this world,The strong join the strong.Thus, Siegfried parted from Brunhild,A sword stroke instead of a marriage.In the allied brotherly hatred–Like buffalos!–rock…
Translated from Russian by Nina Kossman
Again: In the Intervals of Sleep
By Gennady Aygi
what is watchingalways comes to an end: and the day! and the world! . . it is the uniquethe unceasing – is it over its featuresthat the soul glides: like dust! – and…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
Consolation: Roses
By Gennady Aygi
to N. your presence even the toesare as if they remembered! and the mind more stronglypierces our headin your presence! and together perhaps you are thatwhenceseparatingthey drew out: of…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
Third Grasshopper
By Gennady Aygi
(after the “Grasshoppers” of VelimirKhlebnikov and e.e. cummings) to my son Andreygrasshopper-sign flickersover field under heaven! – (sign to Reason – be on guard!be…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
And: Like a White Page
By Gennady Aygi
in dust is no vowel. . . death is a sound: a shout – to God?he – in the surface of dust: is what then – a gleam?oh not treasures of sacrifice: nor representation! . .…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
Field – All Year – Out of the Window
By Gennady Aygi
to W. Woroczylskibehind my back – it seemed – were islands: of the terror-idea! – as if a certain chillwas spread – for a year of this life: were they places –…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
Place: A Beer-Stall
By Gennady Aygi
oh clearlywith gathered forceeverywhere it shows itself: skyglow of the yearlike features of the land: drawing:from everywhere: any: fire: for incandescence! – and this is no shout!but…
Translated from Russian by Peter France
Work: Morning: Papers
By Gennady Aygi
to V. S. but you are not the surrounding of such a onebut a stair in yourself where poverty is like skyglow: oh ice-holes of illness! as if by someonethey were always directed: with meaning!…
Translated from Russian