Climb to a wonderfully atmospheric Corsican graveyard with the late literary philosopher-king W.G. Sebald in "Campo Santo." Wander Argentina with an opinionated Pole (dismissive of Borges!) as Witold Gombrowicz compares "urban" South Americans and "rustic" Europeans in "Peregrinations in Argentina."
Take a dip in lyric pools in the first English translations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore's kabitika, or brief poems, and a stroll in the darker glade of Paul Celan's "Poem for Marianne's Shadow."
Thus refreshed, you might return to the suburbia where a passion for translation was born in Gregory Rabassa, as he relates in "Me and My Circumstance." Then prepare for an intense April, which will feature writers from the first PEN World Voices International Literary Festival in New York. Watch this space for complete listings and links to streaming audio/video of selected events.
Translator's Note: Campo Santo, from which this chapter is taken, is a collection of prose pieces and essays never before published in book form, though most have appeared in journals.
from Peregrinations in Argentina
Journey to Argentina's Far North At six in the morning in Buenos Aires I board the long-distance train called El Tucumano—glittering, with an electric locomotive. I look around
Spring, it is time to tell The flowers to open. The leaves are whispering now With expectation. The spirit of life is oblivious Of where earth is, or the sky. That is why Flowers seek
Poem for Marianne’s Shadow
Love's mint has grown like an angel's finger. To believe: out of the earth an arm twisted by silence still rises, a shoulder burned by torrid extinguished lights, a face, the
Me and My Circumstance
Ortega y Gasset famously defined the individual by saying "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" (I am I and what's around me). Although I may have said that I sort of backed into translation