Archives

March, 2012

Celebrating World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day, and in celebration we invite you to explore our rich archives. Start with Ilya Kaminsky's brilliant manifesto on poetry in translation, "Correspondences in the Air," from our Ecco Anthology of International Poetry, and then turn to the nearly six hundred...

From the Translator: On Translating Fabrizio Mejía Madrid

It’s funny the paths one is led down by what one gets to translate. After having translated Juan Pablo Villalobos’s stunning debut, Down the Rabbit Hole, last year, I now seem, somewhat bewilderingly to me at least, to be considered by some as practically an expert on Mexico...

Teaching in Translation: Poet as Translator

Editor's note: This essay was delivered at the panel "Teaching Translation in the Workshop," organized by Douglas Unger and with presentations by Jason Grunebaum, Becka McKay, Malena Morling, and Douglas Unger, at the Associated Writing Programs conference, March 2, 2012. Other...

Japan, One Year Later

On March 11, 2011, the Tōhoku region of northeastern Japan was rocked by a violent earthquake and tsunami that triggered an accident at a nuclear power plant. We mark the anniversary with poems by two Japanese writers, both translated by Jeffrey Angles. In "Do Not...

Literary Journeys Through Catalonia: Through Josep Pla’s Empordà

"Landscape elucidates literature, because literature                                                                 is the...

Best Translated Book Award Fiction Longlist Announced

Three Percent, the resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester, has announced the fiction longlist for the 2012 Best Translated Book Awards. The twenty-five nominees include books by WWB authors David Albahari, Sergio Chejfec, Johan Harstad, Dany...

February, 2012

Celebrating International Mother Language Day

On February 2, 1952, during a peaceful demonstration to demand national status in East Pakistan for the Bengali language, four students were shot dead in the street. A postcolonial trauma that would lead to war and the creation of the nation of Bangladesh. In 1999 the General...

Tahrir Square, One Year Ago

As the events of the Arab Spring unfolded last year, WWB published a number of dispatches from and about the affected countries.  One of our favorites came from Egyptian graphic novelist Magdy El Shafee. With his fellow artists, Magdy was creating and distributing a graphic journal...

The City and the Writer: In Minsk with Valzhyna Mort

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Minsk as you feel/see it? Minsk...

Günter does India

The prolific Günter Grass has produced poems, plays, novels, novellas, memoirs, essays, and speeches, but Show Your Tongue is (at least so far) his only work that could be described as a travel book. Published in 1988 as Ein Tagebuch in Zeichnungen (A Diary in Drawings) and...

Walser’s Berlin Stories: Primer for a Singular Landscape

In 1933, the posthumously acclaimed Swiss writer Robert Walser was living at the sanatorium he had entered four years earlier with severe depression, hallucinations, and writers’ block. Then in his early fifties, Walser had published several novels and many essays, stories, and...

Festival Neue Literatur This Week in New York

The Festival Neue Literatur has been around since 2010.  This festival of new writing from the German-speaking countries (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) is put on in New York every year, in February, by a consortium of cultural institutes.  It takes place over a long...

January, 2012

A New Series: Literary Journeys Through Catalonia

Throughout history writers have, again and again, undertaken journeys—journeys of the mind and actual journeys, traveling across their respective homelands as well as exploring more distant, foreign territories. They have traveled, one could argue, to feel captivated and...

From the Translator: The Eternonaut

I discovered El Eternauta while translating a poem. Until recently I considered myself to be primarily a translator of poetry. I’d made a few forays into prose, but poetry is always where I’ve situated myself as a writer, and following the conventional wisdom that one must be...

Homeless Rats: A Parable for Postrevolution Libya

Libyan writer and diplomat Ahmed Ibrahim Fagih’s Homeless Rats is a quasi-fantastic historical novel that offers considerable insight into Libyan culture and geography, in particular that of the Western Jebel Nafusa, which played a key role in Gaddafi’s ouster. The plot...

December, 2011

The City and the Writer: In London with Esther Freud

Special City Series/London If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains....

MuXin, 1927–2011

Chinese writer and painter MuXin died December 21. MuXin was born in 1927 in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, to an wealthy, aristocratic family. Like most intellectuals in the late 1940s, he rallied around Mao Zedong’s vision for a new China, but he quickly became disillusioned. Between...

On North Korea: Leaders Great and Dear, and Literature

The opacity that his obituaries attribute to Kim Jong-il extends to North Korean literary culture. WWB has published a fair amount of writing from the country, starting with our second issue in September 2003, Writing from North Korea, and continuing with our anthology Literature from...

The Thing We Mean is Love

According to his own account, David Bellos’s recent book, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything, began as a diatribe in response to a comment made by a parent of a student at Princeton University, where he teaches. When Bellos said he was a...

Crime Scene: The Festival of New Literature from Europe

Scene: Wednesday, November 16 A hard, cold rain. Trenchcoats. New York’s diamond district. Interior: The Center for Fiction, one of several hosts to New Literature from Europe, an annual festival brought together by eight European cultural organizations in New York that focuses...

Illustrating Conflict: Perspectives from FIBDA

Under the heading "Algiers, Bubbles without Frontiers," this year's International Comics Festival of Algiers (Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Alger, or FIBDA) provides an important space for discussions and works around history, war, and conflict. I...

The City and the Writer: In Kabul with Bashir Sakharwaz

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities   Can you describe the mood of Kabul as...

November, 2011

From the Translator: Nancy Naomi Carlson on Translating Suzanne Dracius’s \“Women’s Fantasies\”

Translating Suzanne Dracius’s “Women’s Fantasies,” my first translation of her work, opened a portal to an exotic Caribbean culture surviving . . . no, living in the shadow of Mount Pelée, one of the deadliest volcanoes on Earth, located in Martinique, in...

From the Translator: David Iaconangelo on Translating Johan Moya Ramis

Early on in “The Other Day After the Rain,” in describing the decaying building in which he lives, the narrator identifies it as being in the “residual phase”, a phrase which puts the structure’s decline in unusual terms: not that of an arc which would...

From the Translator: David Homel on Translating Dany Laferrière’s \\\“Tout bouge autour de moi\\\”

Toward the end of his chronicle of the January 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake and its aftermath, called Tout bouge autour de moi, Dany Laferrière entitles one of his sections “La notion de l’utilité”—the idea of being useful. That’s the dilemma...

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