Zero Is a Lens to See: Karla Suárez’s “Havana Year Zero,” translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
By Dorothy Potter Snyder I have learned that the lines we draw to contain the infinite end up excluding more than they enfold. I have learned that most things in life are better and more beautiful not linear but fractal. Love especially. – Maria Popova What’s the sum total of anything – food, gasoline, hope, or […]
By Jeannine Marie Pitas “And time ah time that disjunctive / factor that almost runs out here / and therefore impedes us / from reaching the great why / and the superhow of this thing / almost holy / so tam tam almost holy / so almost almost / almost so holy,” states Argentine poet […]
Parallel Lines Can Converge: Víctor Rodríguez Núñez’s “from a red barn,” Translated from Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen
By Conor Bracken Although from a red barn by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and translated by Katherine M. Hedeen (co•im•press, 2020) was originally published in Spanish in 2014, it comes to an Anglophone public at an opportune time. Consisting of 77 sonnets, it immediately invites itself to the table that Terrance Hayes’s American Sonnets for My […]
By Robin Munby “Maybe some of that night’s fear and fleeing had been passed on to the part of her that once gave her life” (274), the ex-guerrilla at the heart of Slash and Burn reflects, towards the end of the novel. She has returned to the place she fled to many years ago, when […]
Growing Pains in Tough Times: María José Ferrada’s “How to Order the Universe,” Translated from Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer
By Emma Jones This past year was a year of disappointment for many of us, but especially for children and adolescents who had their life plans dashed before their eyes. For some, higher education has been postponed, employment has proved difficult to find or keep, and the world seems like an altogether darker and unfriendlier […]
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.
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 […]
Foreign Bodies: Margarita García Robayo’s “Holiday Heart,” translated from Spanish by Charlotte Coombe
The uncomfortable, ailing human body is foregrounded in this thematically dense novel, a fable about problematic motherhood and the hard labor of forging epistemological change in the 21st century.
Anna Karenina, Recomposed: Carmen Boullosa’s “The Book of Anna,” translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
The Book of Anna hinges on a paradoxical fantasy: rescuing Anna Karenina from Tolstoy.
On Sex and Death: Vicente Huidobro’s “Skyquake: Tremor of Heaven,” co-translated from Spanish by Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong
Composed as twin originals in Spanish and French between 1928 and 1931, this roving long prose poem witnesses the perpetual, agonized yearning of separated lovers seeking one another across eternity and infinity, where they collide—gloriously—on occasion, before scattering through the universe once again.
Foreign to Literature: Humor, Allusion, and Exophony in Aleksandra Lun’s “The Palimpsests,” Translated by Elizabeth Bryer
By Patrick Powers When I first read Elizabeth Bryer’s translation of Aleksandra Lun’s debut novel, The Palimpsests, back in January, I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t know what to say about it, so I didn’t write anything. After a few months, having left for and returned home from Russia after the onset of the global pandemic, […]
A Terrible Beauty is Born: Fernanda Melchor’s “Hurricane Season,” Translated from Spanish by Sophie Hughes
By Emma B. B. Doyle The title of Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season (La temporada de huracanes), translated by Sophie Hughes, takes its name from the many months in Mexico when you can look up at the sky and expect it to explode at any moment. This reliable forecast of disaster carries a similar tension to […]
By Kelsi Vanada My favorite books of translated poetry to hold in my hands are no ordinary paperbacks: they are made of cardboard and screen-printed cardstock and hand-sewn signatures, crafted by independent publisher Cardboard House Press (CHP)’s Cartonera Collective in Phoenix, Arizona. I delight in handling them, rotating them to read the poems placed horizontally […]