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June 2011

The Queer Issue II

This month WWB presents its second annual queer issue. We're delighted to again give voice to a literary tradition that examines the world through an unaccustomed lens and with uncommon clarity and vigor. The writers in this issue present a broad and complex perspective on identity, gender, politics and sexuality.

Moroccan writer in exile and 2010 Prix de Flore winner Abdellah Taïa recounts the surge and ebb of power in a lost relationship. Italian writer Marco Di Marco describes a professor's chance encounter with a memory of days gone by, and Palestinian poet and playwright Raji Bathish sees bad news at the doctor's office collide with relentless consumerism. Tamil poet Prema Revathi speaks of love under the cover of night, Brazilian writer Caio Fernando Abreu sketches an interlude between an idealistic youth and a military recruiter, German graphic novelist Elke Steiner recounts the story of Catharina Margaretha Linck, executed for having sex with a woman, and Austrian writer Clemens Setz sketches a portrait of a man caught between two worlds. Chinese writer Liao Yiwu rounds out our company with an interview with Ni Dongxue. We hope you'll enjoy these vibrant examples of an international queer sensibility.             

The Algerian and the Moroccan
By Abdellah Taïa
I opened my body to this crazy story, to this great love, the greatest and strongest that I’ve ever known.
Translated from French by Lydia Beyoud
Moving Like Geckos
By Marco Di Marco
That was me once, soaking wet in the rain, one fall long ago; that was me taking a beating from some fat, greasy, gray-haired guy,
Translated from Italian by Elizabeth Harris
Life without Me
By Raji Bathish
What hurts me in all this is that my parents will be forced to bury me before themselves.
Translated from Arabic by Suneela Mubayi
The single kiss That made the worlds freeze With bated breath, tasting of a tear’s salt Is all hers.   Love sowed its blue stars On our private night Covered by a phallic sky. The blood-river…
Translated from Tamil
Sergeant Garcia
By Caio Fernando Abreu
The men stirred, restless. Romans, they wanted blood. The whip, the boot, the snap.
Translated from Portuguese by Kim M. Hastings
The Story of a Homosexual: An Interview with Ni Dongxue
By Liao Yiwu
Just hold my hands tightly. I won’t force you to kiss me or do anything.
Translated from Chinese by Wenguang Huang
The World of Men and the World of Women
By Clemens Setz
What type did he prefer, Orlando Bloom or Benicio del Toro?
Translated from German by Ross Benjamin
Performing Language: An Interview with Abdellah Taia
In late April, Abdellah Taïa arrives in New York City for the seventh annual PEN World Voices Festival. Two days before he is to sit down in conversation with Dale Peck for an interview hosted by…
The Night Sucks
By Blanca Riestra
The girl with a ponytail says: “Look at the sky,” and the other says, “The sky sucks.”
Translated from Spanish by Jonathan Blitzer
A Tiny Repeated Gesture: An Interview with Blanca Riestra
By Jonathan Blitzer
Jonathan Blitzer:  In this issue of the magazine, we’ve published your story “The Night Sucks (La noche sucks),” which later became the novel of the same name.  You have never considered yourself…
Translated from Spanish by the author
I am I
I know who I am Now I am here I might disappear at any moment But even if I do I am still I The truth is that not being I would be fine too I am to some extent a blade of grass Perhaps to some extent…
Translated from Japanese
Passing Through Seongeup Village
Whenever I gaze into a horse’s virtuous eyes, it seems to know nothing but the indigent evening in the direction the wind is blowing from. Translation of   “Seongeup maeureul jinamyeo.…
Translated from Korean
Writing Poems without Meaning
Sham-seeming life gauze-mask-like thoughts is there no removing the mask from consciouness? Disposing words without meaning Writing poems without meaning Writing poems like scraps of debris scraps of…
Translated from Korean by Elvira Vigna
A Couple’s Old Sutra
She is old breasts sagging like bags of flour River runs from their hometown people on two banks change batch after batch like summer fireflies that glow and dim But the river won’t change in its…
Translated from Chinese by Noura Bensaad
Narratives of 1960
Grandmother’s last clothing is a reed mat her coffin a small fishing boat The year was 1960 She stole a kilo of yellow beans Those who ordered her to kneel on snail shells are mostly dead Those…
Translated from Chinese