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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
I study him while he smokes, lying back, arm behind his head. I watch him release the smoke, breathe it back in and out, thinner now. He’s focused on something in the room but I can’t tell…
Translated from Italian
Life without Me
By Raji Bathish
What hurts me in all this is that my parents will be forced to bury me before themselves.I feel guilt gnawing at me.I do not know who vomited out this hypothesis, in between the cheap maxims and philosophies…
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
In memory of Luiza Felpuda I “Hermes!” The whip cracked against the worn wood of the table. Louder, almost shouting, almost angrily, he repeated: “I called Hermes! Which of you numbnuts…
Translated from Portuguese
The Story of a Homosexual: An Interview with Ni Dongxue
By Liao Yiwu
I met Ni Dongxue in 2006, in a quiet and nicely decorated gay bar through two musician friends who played in a band there. The bar is located in the city’s Moziqiao region, a popular nightlife spot. A…
Translated from Chinese by Wenguang Huang
The World of Men and the World of Women
By Nataša Milas
Walter had no luck with women. He had tried to write monologues and essays on this subject, and had even pulled off a noteworthy sentence here and there, but on the whole he came up with only commonplaces,…
Translated from German
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
Jerry Luján, a boy in a visor, is walking in a ditch alongside Menaul Street today.  It’s Tuesday, five o’clock in the afternoon, and night is already upon him.  In Albuquerque…
Translated from Spanish by Emna Belhaj Yahia
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