My favorite piece of the week is a conversation between Michael Silverblatt, Álvaro Uribe and Cristina Rivera-Garza on KCRW's Bookworm program [link to podcast]. Uribe is the editor of the recent – highly recommended – anthology Best of Mexican Contemporary Fiction and Rivera-Garza is an author included in the anthology.
Also, read Okla Elliott's piece “The Art of Failure: Poetry in Translation” at the Absinth blog where you'll always find interesting things to read…
“Slavitt says, íI didn't take a Hippocratic Oath when I signed on to be a writer. I feel no obligation to the literal meaning of the text whatsoever.ë It's the pleasure of the original he is after. Does that mean Twinkies show up in Ovid? Well, fine, let it be so. Or so Slavitt says. But the business of translation is a highly contentious one, and one where opinions are unusually strong and criticisms often bitter.”
Robert Vilain, co-edited the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Rilke and Rilke translator, writes about Rilke in the Times Literary Supplement:
“While the third section of The Book of Hours (entitled íThe Book of Poverty and Deathë) was also inspired by Paris and similarly begins to define life from the perspective of death, Rilke soon turned away definitively from the ecstatic subjectivity of the Hours. As a consequence, the completed novel of 1910 and the radically depersonalized two volumes of New Poems (Neue Gedichte, 1907 and 1908) all succeed in the ímakingë and íformingë processes that Rilke longed to perfect.”
One of my favorite topics is how different arts inform one another. In the Los Angeles Times, Mark Swed talks about Ana Cervantes' commission of “a number of composers from five countries to 'finish' Rulfo”:
Juan Rulfo was — Susan Sontag notes in her introduction to hisnovel íPedro Páramoë — a man of many silences. The great Mexican writer and seminal influence on Latin American literature in the second half of the 20th century produced little (the slim novel in 1955 and, before that, short stories), and what Rulfo produced says little. Yet he wrote magnificently between the lines in a prose magical and musical even in translation.
And finally, of course, you know that the latest issue of Words Without Borders is “Foreign Correspondents: International Reporting”