28 March 11 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments

Erica Mena and special co-host Mike Schorsch talk with translator and poet Martha Collins about translation as political action, and translation of Vietnamese poetry

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28 February 11 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments

In this Reading the World podcast, Erica Mena talks to translator Mark Schafer about his two latest translations, Before Saying Any of the Great Words by David Huerta (Copper Canyon, 2009) and The Scale of Maps by Bélen Gopegui (City Lights, 2011).

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12 January 11 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments

This episode of the Reading the World Podcast features a conversation with Fady Joudah, Palestinian-American poet, physician, and translator. He won the Yale Younger Poets Competition in 2007 for his collection The Earth in the Attic (Yale) and was just awarded the 2010 PEN USA Literary Award for Translation for his rendition of Mahmoud Darwish’s If I Were Another (FSG).

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3 September 10 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments [1]

This month we talk with poet and translator Forrest Gander about approaches to translating poetry and his forthcoming translation “Watchword” by Pura López Colomé.

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20 July 10 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Over the past few years, Amazon.com has been awarding grants to a number of interesting projects, including a lot of ones related to literature in translation. Their list of grantees includes Open Letter (for The Wall in My Head,), PEN America (for the Translation Fund), Words Without Borders, Copper Canyon, Milkweed, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Poets & Writers, Small Press Distribution, etc., etc.

The latest addition to the list is the extremely worthy Archipelago Books:

Archipelago Books is delighted to announce today that it is among a diverse group of nonprofit organizations to receive a $25,000 grant from Amazon.com. Archipelago Books is a Brooklyn, NY-based not-for-profit press dedicated to publishing world literature in translation. The generous grant from Amazon.com will be used to support the forthcoming publication of the novel Stone Upon Stone, written by Nike Prize-winning author Wiesaw Myliwski and translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston. The novel will be released in December of 2010.

Myliwski’s novels and plays, among them Widnokrag [Horizon] (1996) and Traktat o uskaniu fasoli [A Treatise on Shelling Beans] (2006) focus on life in the Polish countryside. Although he has twice received the Nike Award (the Polish equivalent of the Booker Prize), Stone Upon Stone will be Myliwski’s first work published in English translation. Stone Upon Stone has already received much praise in the Polish press. Anna Tatarkiewicz called the novel “the first masterpiece in Slavic literature, perhaps even in European literature, in which the fate of the peasant attains the standing of human fate in all its tragic vastness.” Meanwhile, Krystyna Dabrowska hailed the novel as “A hymn in praise of life. . . . A paean to speech and the art of storytelling.”

So great to see Amazon.com continue this program and their support of very interesting projects and presses.

And since everything’s connected, here’s a link to the most recent episode of the Reading the World podcast which features Bill Johnston talking about the process of translating Stone Upon Stone.

30 June 10 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments [2]

This month we talk with translator Bill Johnston about Polish translations, dialects, and his forthcoming translation “Stone upon Stone” by Wieslaw Mysliwski.

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13 May 10 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments [1]

This month features a discussion between Esther Allen, Erica Mena, and Chad Post on all sorts of translation things, mainly related to Esther’s translation of Jose Manuel Prieto’s Rex.

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2 April 10 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments [2]

This month we talk with Suzanne Jill Levine, famed translator and author of The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction.

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8 March 10 | Chad W. Post | Comments

This month’s episode features Susan Harris of Words Without Borders, who came on to talk about WWB’s educational programs and the Ecco Anthology of International Poetry that she edited along with Ilya Kaminsky.

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5 February 10 | Chad W. Post | Comments [1]

When we were launching the Reading the World podcast the other day, iTunes was all jacked and couldn’t accept our feed, etc., etc. (It just works! Sometimes. I suspect Apple IT employees were too busy watching TV on their souped-up iPads to bother with something so low-tech like iTunes.) Anyway, it’s up there now, so you can subscribe by clicking here.

There’s a logo and everything!

3 February 10 | E.J. Van Lanen | Comments [1]

Recorded in Philadelphia at the recent Modern Language Association convention, Chad Post and Erica Mena meet Lawrence Venuti and discuss his translation of the Catalan poet Ernest Farres’s Edward Hopper: Poems.

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31 December 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments [1]

Sorry that things have been a bit quiet around here. A couple days after Christmas I drove down to Philadelphia for this year’s Modern Language Association Convention, which had a special focus on Translation. (Jen Howard wrote a great summary piece about this for the Chronicle of Higher Education that’s worth checking out.)

There were a lot of interesting people attending this year (translators make all conferences more exciting—they’re just such passionate people), and a lot of great panels, events, etc., etc. One personal highlight was having the Open Letter/Univ. of Rochester annual party basically shut down by the security at the Ritz-Carlton. Yes, we rocked it that hard. I’m sure there are stories out there of parties from years past (feel free to flood the comments section), but in my short time of going to MLA, I’ve never heard of anything quite like that . . .

But on a less drunken and more orderly note, the real highlight was the series of interviews Erica Mena and I did for the forthcoming Reading the World podcast series. We still have a few things to record, and all the editing has to be done, but the goal is to start releasing these at the end of January/beginning of February. I’ll post more information as it becomes available, but damn, based on our conversations with Suzanne Jill Levine, Larry Venuti, Bill Johnston, and Susan Harris, I think these are going to be incredible. (Yes, I know I’m biased.) Each episode (with an exception or two) has a short reading and a long discussion on practical and theoretical translation issues. If you’re a fan of this blog, I can guarantee that you’ll love these conversations . . .

Anyway, next week we’ll be back full time. In addition to general posts and more entries in the Making the Translator Visible series, we’ll be running a review of Unai Elorriaga’s Plants Don’t Drink Coffee on Monday, and on Tuesday we’ll be announcing the 25-title fiction longlist for the 2010 Best Translated Book Award . . .

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The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

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Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

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Tristana
Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .

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The History of Silence
The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

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Flesh-Coloured Dominoes
Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .

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Iraqi Nights
Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .

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Three-Light Years
Three-Light Years by Andrea Canobbio
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .

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