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Language

A game of hopscotch on asphalt
FranHogan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via WikiMedia Commons
Writing in Mother Tongue and an Other Tongue
By Pratishtha Pandya
Pratishtha Pandya considers how different languages and translation have influenced her writing and the way she thinks about language.
Several books lined up in a row
Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash
Roll Call of Abandoned Languages
By J. R. Ramakrishnan
Empire made English my mother tongue—and the only one I have any real dominion over.
Sketch of Infernal Landscape by Hieronymus Bosch
Rik Klein Gotink and Robert G. Erdmann, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Seeking Shelter in Language
By Saudamini Deo
In English, Hindi, and Bangla—the languages I use daily—we spoke only of death and distress.
Portrait of Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk
Photo copyright © Karpati&Zarewicz/ZAiKS
Ognosia
By Olga Tokarczuk
We will need new maps as well as the courage and humor of travelers who won’t hesitate to stick their heads outside the sphere of the world-up-to-this-point, beyond the horizon of existing dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft
Transcending the Human Viewpoint
By Madeleine Feeny
I allowed myself to be very playful and unafraid, and to try everything.
Nuestra Ciudad: Writing the City in Spanish
By Ulises Gonzales
Today, a young writer working in Spanish arrives in New York City to find no shortage of role models.
War of the Species
By Michel Nieva
Completely unaware that this was the kind of sacred moment when you pledge your undying allegiance to a team, through thick and thin, I stated my choice.
Translated from Spanish by Rahul Bery
Statistics
By Álvaro Baquero-Pecino
On a bad night, a train car on the red line takes more than half an hour to appear, and no fewer than twenty-one minutes to traverse the eleven stations to the southern tip of Manhattan.
Translated from Spanish by Sarah Pollack
Multilingual
Spanish-language Writing in New York, Then and Now: An Interview with Esther Allen & Ulises Gonzales
By Words Without Borders Editors
While many Latinx writers work in English, there is a longstanding tradition of writers born or raised in this country who work in Spanish.
No One Really Knows Why People Shout
By Mario Michelena
His lips are moist, as though he were stewing on more insults.
Translated from Spanish by Lindsay Griffiths & Adrián Izquierdo
The Common Good
By Sara Cordón
All she can think about is why it ever occurred to her to dress like this in public.
Translated from Spanish by Robin Myers
Plans and Commitments
By Naief Yehya
He checked Mel’s Instagram and Twitter accounts again, waiting anxiously for her to post something, anything.
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Ortega
This Language Called Kaaps: An Introduction
By Olivia M. Coetzee
Language is more than just a method of communication. It is about the ability to lay down roots, to settle into an identity, to have a place in history, in the present, and in the future. Language is…
Children of the Xam
By Khadija Tracey Heeger
Watch Khadija Tracey Heeger read her poem “Children of the Xam” in the original Kaaps.Poet Khadija Tracey Heeger honors a rich and complex heritage.Between the vertebrae of the Langeberg…
Translated from Kaaps by Olivia M. Coetzee & Khadija Tracey Heeger
Multilingual
Affirm
By Martin SIEP Muller
Watch the music video for “Affirm” performed by SIEP, in the original Kaaps.This rap performance by SIEP uplifts and speaks truth.I affirm the soul in each personI affirm the soul in each…
Translated from Kaaps by Andre Trantraal
Multilingual
The Wind Blows Where It Wishes and You Hear Its Sound
By Andre Trantraal
It should be patently obvious to anyone but the most resolutely blind that he is not aching with impatience to go to the house of the Lord.
Translated from Kaaps by the author
I Lift My Eyes Up
By Nashville Blaauw
Where moving out is mostly in a coffin
Translated from Kaaps by Andre Trantraal
scratch cards
By Shirmoney Rhode
and that which has no use will be discarded
Translated from Kaaps by Andre Trantraal
Multilingual
Snake’s Hill
By Olivia M. Coetzee
JB was the one to start that fire inside my head.
Translated from Kaaps by the author
MultimediaMultilingual
The Voices of Contact Languages in Asia: An Introduction
By Stefanie Shamila Pillai
For multilingual writers, choosing to write in their heritage languages can be seen as an expression of agency, an active choice to communicate in a nondominant language.
[0]
By Lauri García Dueñas
to the rain looming over mexico city open your jaws for us make kids laugh dogs bark
Translated from Spanish by Olivia Lott
MultimediaMultilingual
“A Scream That Can No Longer Be Held In”: Translating Rahma Nur’s “Linguistic Threads”
By Candice Whitney, Alta L. Price & Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
Linguistic threads. IV lines and blood cells. Oppressive silencing. There is a viscerality that emerges when sitting with Rahma Nur’s poem “Fili Linguistici.” In describing her experience as…
Linguistic Threads, translated by Alta L. Price
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.As you make headwaybetween…
Translated from Italian by Alta L. Price
MultimediaMultilingual
Linguistic Threads, translated by Candice Whitney
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.In the step that you takeBetween…
Translated from Italian by Candice Whitney
MultimediaMultilingual
Linguistic Threads, translated by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
By Rahma Nur
Afro-Italian poet Rahma Nur describes her experience as a member of a diaspora living in Italy, noting how language marks the body and how it shapes one’s sense of loss.In that step you takebetween…
Translated from Italian by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
MultimediaMultilingual
Afro-Italian Women in Translation: An Introduction
By Candice Whitney, Barbara Ofosu-Somuah, Aaron Robertson, Hope Campbell Gustafson
What is national literature and how is it defined? Often, when one thinks of a particular nation or language, they imagine a specific phenotype tied to a historical narrative. A cursory Google search…
An empty playground with a merry go round
Photo by Loegunn Lai on Unsplash
My Home Is Where I Am
By Igiaba Scego
Somali-Italian writer Igiaba Scego recalls her childhood experiences in the Italian educational system in this memoir.
Translated from Italian by Aaron Robertson
Soumaila Sacko: Story of the Good Life
By Djarah Kan
But if you drink and breathe and sweat and love in a country that is no longer yours, then you are not a migrant. You are a man.
Translated from Italian by Candice Whitney
Bambi
By Ubah Cristina Ali Farah
In your opinion, why'd he do it?
Translated from Italian by Hope Campbell Gustafson
We Cried a River of Laughter
By Marie Moïse
Writer Marie Moïse describes her search for her roots and traces her family’s history of cross-Atlantic displacement.I spent my youth seeking to recover my roots, which were severed by migration…
Translated from Italian by Barbara Ofosu-Somuah
Movement and Stasis
By July Blalack
Mauritanian literature foregrounds characters on the move.
Outsider Mode
By Ahmed Isselmou
“The central server is under attack and receiving commands to self-destruct.”
Translated from Arabic by Katharine Halls
The Forsaken
By Aichetou
Listen, all of you, to what will later be said of the Forsaken by one of their descendants.
Translated from French by Edward Gauvin
Adabai
By Cheikh Nouh
Their nayffara is a flutelike instrument heavy with history, deeply immersed in sorrow.
Translated from Arabic by Sawad Hussain
You Will Tell Them
By Mariem Mint Derwich
You will say to them that she sleeps in the calabash of worlds
Translated from French by Emma Ramadan
Multilingual
Say to the Tomb
By Bios Diallo
Here the poem ends
Translated from French by Emma Ramadan
Multilingual
Barzakh
By Moussa Ould Ebnou
What you are witnessing is the last face of the Earth.
Translated from Arabic by July Blalack
On the Periphery
By Larissa Kyzer
The scope of the topics explored in this issue is, therefore, necessarily broad without being comprehensive.
Alberte Merlo’s Horse
By Álvaro Cunqueiro
So began many long months of conversation between Alberte and his horse.
Translated from Galician by Scott Shanahan
Young Russophonia: New Literature in Russian
By Hilah Kohen & Josephine von Zitzewitz
These writings spark immediate conversations through rapid-fire literary texts rather than typical online commentary.
Trial Run
By Yau Ching
nothing is certain but and taxes
Translated from Chinese by Chenxin Jiang
MultimediaMultilingual
A Note from Contest Judge David Tomas Martinez
It was an Hunahpúan effort to choose only four poems from this extraordinarily strong pool of poems.
A Slice of Writing by Nikkei and Tusán Peruvian Writers
By Jennifer Shyue
Some of them have often called upon their Chinese or Japanese roots; others have alighted upon the topic only a few times, if at all.
The Red Rooster and Inevitable Saint
By Julia Wong Kcomt
“She was hot, your aunt Carmen, / she didn’t look Chinese.”
Translated from Spanish by Jennifer Shyue
Multilingual
Ñe’ ẽ: An Introduction to Contemporary Guaraní Poetry
By Elisa Taber
A real work of Amerindian literature makes perceptible another way of ordering and being in the world.
Xirú
By Damián Cabrera
Silvio wanted to escape, race across the sown fields with his long rhea legs until he reached some place where no one could see him.
Translated from Portunhol Selvagem by Elisa Taber
MultimediaMultilingual
Peripatetics: The Essays of Jazmina Barrera, Karen Villeda, and Mariana Oliver
By Charlotte Whittle
These are essays with a roving gaze whose authors travel through geographic and intellectual spaces with the same ease with which we used to walk around in New York.
Özdamar’s Tongue
By Mariana Oliver
Özdamar knew that arriving in a country with no return ticket meant voluntarily surrendering to an indeterminate foreignness.
Translated from Spanish by Julia Sanches
Visegrád
By Karen Villeda
Women were confined to reading prayer books and religious hymns. And they wrote in the margins. Centuries went by. Those marginalia are, in fact, the books I need to read.
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Whittle
Yaquina Head
By Jazmina Barrera
Robert Louis Stevenson says that to tour lighthouses is “to visit past centuries.”
Translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
Urdu Feminist Writing: New Approaches
By Asad Alvi, Amna Chaudhry, Mehak Faisal Khan, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb, Geeta Patel & Haider Shahbaz
A dispiriting narrowness has defined canons of Urdu feminist writing from previous decades.
Sappho’s Ephemera
By Miraji
Her sagacity immortalized even her scattered, sporadic axioms.
Translated from Urdu by Geeta Patel
Reimagined Communities: An Introduction to Welsh Writing
By Casi Dylan
In a world reimagining its cultural and political axes, Welsh-language literature gives voice to an experience more necessary and valuable now than ever.
Dolores Morgan’s Letters from the Far East
By Llŷr Gwyn Lewis
I have become Japanese and I am no longer a Welshwoman.
Translated from Welsh by Katie Gramich
MultimediaMultilingual
The Blue Book of Nebo
By Manon Steffan Ros
It happened so quickly. The End.
Translated from Welsh by the author
The Root
By Caryl Lewis
Yes, there was a shadow there.
Translated from Welsh by George Jones
The Library Suicides
By Fflur Dafydd
Dan believed it had all started going wrong when they took away his keys.
Translated from Welsh by the author
2026: In the Beginning
By Llwyd Owen
Food banks are one of the country’s main industries now; having replaced actual banks, who fled the island like rats from a sinking ship.
Translated from Welsh by the author
Multilingual
Recalculating the Hexagon: The New French Literature
By Susan Harris
These writers have migrated geographically and, in some cases, linguistically.
from “The Eagle”
By Aziz Chouaki
Boulevard Barbès, Rochechouart, like a film clip, Arabs, blacks, half-whites.
Translated from French by Lulu Norman