Author Archives: smilkova

Notes from the “Empire of Stupidity”: Dubravka Ugrešić’s “The Age of Skin,” translated from Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursać

By Ena Selimović On a recent bike ride in East Bay, northern California, I hear a voice from the direction of a foldout chair and turn to see a maskless woman waving a clipboard. She tells her masked audience of two that she is trying to get something added to a local ballot. She repeats, […]

“Reflecting Back”: Eric Sellin’s “The Magic Mirror of Literary Translation”

By Katherine Hedeen For those of us who translate poetry, any book that mentions the endeavor—and in the title no less—immediately sparks our interest. Poetry in translation is often lost (to play on Frost’s famous quip) in the shuffle of an exciting and well-deserved moment of recognition for literary translation. (Consider the recently revamped International […]

Translation as Testimony: On Makenzy Orcel’s “The Immortals,” Translated from French by Nathan Dize

By Jennifer Boum Make You immortalize all the whores of Grand Rue, taken away by this thing. Makenzy Orcel, The Immortals Makenzy Orcel. Nathan Dize. Two writers who have tasked themselves to transform the stories of others as they create language that allows the rendering and relaying of the voices of those who are too […]

Translation as Nourishment: Translator Zsuzsa Koltay in Conversation with Béla Szegedi-Szabó

This is an excerpt from an interview with Zsuzsa Koltay whose translation from Hungarian of Nándor Gion’s Soldier with Flower came out in 2020. The interview was originally published in Hungarian and subsequently translated in English by Owen Good for Hungarian Literature Online. Many thanks to Owen for allowing us to run this excerpt. Reading […]

In Pursuit of Happiness in Nándor Gion’s “Soldier with Flower,” Translated from Hungarian by Zsuzsa Koltay

by Jozefina Komporaly Translation projects come about for various reasons, and these can include affinities with certain authors, artistic agendas or historical periods to name but a few. Wanting to raise the profile of a particular literary tradition is also a major motivator, and when this is coupled with the translator’s genuine passion for a […]

B-Sides and Rarities: “Fifty-Two Stories by Anton Chekhov,” Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

In short, this is not the “greatest hits” compilation we have come to expect from translated collections of short prose. The question becomes, then, what is it?

Art and Politics: María Negroni’s “The Annunciation,” translated by Michelle Gil-Montero

In this deeply philosophical, semi-autobiographical novel, acclaimed Argentine poet Negroni explores a question that has figured in her writing for decades: the relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical, the poetic and the political.

Writing Through Memory and Digging Through Secrets of the Past: Mykola Bazhan’s “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul,” edited by Oksana Rosenblum, Lev Fridman, and Anzhelika Khyzhnia

The poems included in Quiet Spiders precede a tragedy in Ukrainian history, the Holodomor, or famine of 1932-1933, and the period known as the Executed Renaissance when a generation of Soviet writers and artists were wiped out by Stalin’s regime.

Marina and Me: Nina Kossman’s “Other Shepherds: Poems with Translations from Marina Tsvetaeva”

If you know Tsvetaeva well, it’s hard not to reconstruct the original mentally while reading the translation.

Nostalgia as Oblivion in Nelson Simòn’s “Itinerary of Forgetting,” Translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel

By Cal Paule It’s funny, but I forgot where I left my copy of this book. It’s lost for now, but luckily I have a pdf version. If, though, it were the memory of the exact color of my mother’s hair, or the angles of a roofline above my hometown, I might not be as […]

Translators and Their Ghosts: Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s “Fantastic Tales,” Translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti

Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales (Archipelago Books, 2020) is a reprint of the 1992 original Mercury House edition translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti, one of the most influential scholars of translation today.

Translating Silence: Giuseppe Ungaretti’s “Allegria,” translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock

By Elena Borelli When translating Giuseppe Ungaretti’s first volume of poetry, originally published in 1919 and subsequently reissued in various editions, Geoffrey Brock has chosen to leave the title in the original Italian. The  translation of the word allegria as “merriment” or “mirth” would be misleading for the reader, especially because in the very first […]

Translation is a Performance of Language: An Interview with Translator and Poet Will Schutt

I’m not sure there’s an Italian word for microaggression. If there is, it is probably lifted from americano.

GETTING INSIDE THE OUTSIDE: ANDRÉ DU BOUCHET’S “OUTSIDE,” TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY ERIC FISHMAN AND HOYT ROGERS

By John Taylor Following upon Hoyt Rogers and Paul Auster’s translation of André du Bouchet’s Openwork (Yale University Press, 2014), this fascinating new translation, Outside—by Rogers and Eric Fishman—draws attention once again to a seminal figure in postwar French poetry. Thematically and philosophically, if not from a stylistic perspective, du Bouchet (1924-2001) can be associated […]

Unlived Lives in Natalia Ginzburg’s “Valentino” and “Sagittarius,” Translated from Italian by Avril Bardoni

By Eric Gudas One refers, as a commonplace, to “the unlived life”; but fiction excels at dramatizing people’s myriad unlived lives. Natalia Ginzburg’s fiction links stifled hopes and ambitions with suppressed speech. The narrators of Ginzburg’s Valentino and Sagittarius: Two Novellas (1957), which New York Review Books Classics has just reissued in Avril Bardoni’s decades-old […]