from Polish by Bill Johnston
ISBN 978-0-9832970-4-8 (paper) $18
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7 x 9
264 pages [Bilingual Polish/English]
Tomasz Różycki’s Twelve Stations became an instant literary sensation when it was published in Poland in 2004. Everyone read it and talked about it; it won the prestigious Kościelski Prize. Within only a couple of years, the book found its way onto school reading lists; stage versions were created in various theaters around the country, as well as an acclaimed radio adaptation. Critical and popular reception were equally enthusiastic.
In terms of genre, Twelve Stations manages to be all things to all people. It has the look of an epic—its scope, its exalted language, its central quest, and its larger-than-lifeness. Even its long, measured lines recall the Homeric hexameter. At the same time the book has elements of that other large-scale genre, the romance—its story seems perpetually unresolved, and propels its questing hero to ever more extraordinary adventures. Yet in contrast to the exotic settings of many epics and romances, Twelve Stations takes place in a Poland that is entirely recognizable, and its exoticism draws on hidden regional peculiarities rather than the lure of the distant. In other words, if it is an epic, it is an intimate, local one, in the spirit of that other Polish pseudo-epic Pan Tadeusz.
Like all epic poetry since Homer, Twelve Stations has one foot in the oral tradition and is meant to be read aloud, and listened to, as much as to be read quietly to oneself (hence the proliferation of theatrical and radio renderings). Różycki’s long lines, with their sentence breaks carefully counterpointed with the line endings, sweep the reader along. Though the form doesn’t draw attention to itself quite the way that, for example, rhymed verse does, a large part of the poem’s pleasure resides in its irrepressible torrent of words. Its comedy inheres as much in the exaggerations, excesses, and playful absurdities of the language itself as in those of the story and the characters. —from the Translator’s Introduction by Bill Johnston
Tomasz Różycki (b. 1970) is a poet, critic, and translator who lives in the Silesian city of Opole, in southwestern Poland. He has published nine books since the mid-1990s, including the Koscielski Prize-winning epic poem Dwanascie Stacji (Twelve Stations, 2004) and the sonnet cycle Kolonie (Colonies, Zephyr Press, 2006), both of which were nominated for Poland's most prestigious literary award, the NIKE. His many other awards include the Josif Brodski Prize, the Kamień Prize (Czechowicz Poetry Prize), the Rainer Maria Rilke Prize, and the 3 Quarks Daily 2010 Prize in Arts and Literature (USA). His work has been translated into English, French, German, Italian, Serbian, and Slovak. The Forgotten Keys, a selection from his first five books translated into English by Mira Rosenthal, was published by Zephyr Press in 2007. He lives in his native city Opole with his wife and two children. He is a member of jury Koscielski Prize (Lausanne) and Prix du Jeune Ecrivain en France.
Bill Johnston’s translations include Wiesław Myśliwski’s Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books, 2010), winner of the PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award; Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki’s Peregrinary (Zephyr Press, 2008), shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award-Poetry; and translations of the work of Magdalena Tulli, Andrzej Stasiuk, Jerzy Pilch, Witold Gombrowicz, Tadeusz Różewicz, and numerous other authors. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is currently working on a new translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s 1834 epic poem Pan Tadeusz, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches literary translation at Indiana University.
THE BURDEN OF BEING BURMESE
Ko Ko Thett
ISBN 978-1-938890-16-1 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
“The road to Mandalay / is paved with good intentions.” One suspected this, perhaps, but other poems in Ko Ko Thett’s brilliantly off-kilter book, The Burden of Being Burmese, home in more closely on just what is wrong: “a few simple rules here / you may bite the hand that feeds you, / just don’t feast on it.” Thett is a brilliant, probably reliable, guide to a virtually unknown kingdom.
how do you write history
in a language that has
no past tense?
This is the question that haunts Ko Ko Thett’s remarkable new collection of poems. Casting a cold eye on the political and cultural landscapes of his native land, he dissects the hypocrisies and contradictions everywhere before him. In the newly urban landscapes of Myanmar, only laughter can compensate for despair: “now a carrot, now a cane.… upper house and lower house male bonding / ladies and gentlemen, distinguished white elephants / eminent hierophants and esteemed sycophants.…” The Burden of Being Burmese displays an extraordinary fertile and febrile imagination—one that will both delight and disturb American readers.
As the author says of himself, he is a poet by choice and a Burmese by chance. This is a powerful collection of Burmese poems in English, poems that were conceived in Burmese but first written down in English: thus not exactly translations. Burmese idioms and images abound throughout the poems, alongside English expressions and international concepts. The book deals with the anxieties and uncertainties of change, both political and personal, written during the author’s prolonged (self-imposed?) exile from Burma and against a background of ever more disastrous news from his country under its military rulers.
A renowned editor and translator of contemporary Burmese writing, this volume by Ko Ko Thett is the first major single-volume collection to appear in English by a contemporary Burmese poet. His poetry explores the possibility of the translatability of experience between the personal and the political, and the possibility of the mutual transferabilities between languages as disparate as Burmese and English.
Ko Ko Thett is a poet by choice and a Burmese by chance. The poems in this collection, many of which have appeared in English-language literary magazines worldwide, range from “faddish sugar crystals,” written in Burmese for his 1996 illegal campus chapbook at the Yangon Institute of Technology, to his autumn 2014 “anxiety attack” at the University of Leuven. Apart from his own work as a writer and translator, he is the co-editor and translator of the seminal volume Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets, (ARC, 2012; Northern Illinois University Press 2013).
from Albanian by Anastas Kapurani and Wayne Miller Poetry
ISBN 978-1-938890-10-9 (paper) $15
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5.5 x 8
168 pages [Bilingual Albanian/English]
The poems in Moikom Zeqo’s Zodiac tumble down the page in ways that are at once intimate and prophetic, ecstatic and terrified. Always enormous-minded, Zeqo meditates here on the way human history—literary, political, social—exists simultaneously in our consciousness, alongside the certainty of our eventual submergence within it, our own mortality. “I destroy myself,” he asserts at one point, “with the longings of history”—but it is a beautiful, transcendent, and harrowing sort of destruction. This is a marvelous book, brought to life for readers of English by Wayne Miller’s and Anastas Kapurani’s muscular translations.
It is rare these days to find a poet who isn’t just interesting, or good at particular aspects of craft, or funny, or wild, but a poet who is truly large and complex, creating not just a human portrait, or a community or a reflection, but a whole cosmology; the way Comedia Divina was, first and foremost, a cosmology—like Rilke’s Duino Elegies or Eliot’s Four Quartets or, in our time, perhaps Ernesto Cardinal’s Canto Cosmico. And then—by a sheer stroke of luck—one comes across such a book as Zodiac and realizes there are still poets who aim for greatness.
I love Moikom Zeqo’s voice in this book—especially when various references blend to produce a wild new mix—but most of all I become convinced we are in the presence of unmistakably real and large poetic talent when the book builds a new cosmology all its own. Out of various mythologies and traditions and incantations a new voice arises that is true and beautiful and strange. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Wayne Miller for introducing us to this powerful work and for enlarging the English tradition with his own, very gifted, music.
Zodiac is a book-length, bilingual sequence of poems loosely organized around the signs of the zodiac, which considers the turn of the millennium, the history of Albania and the Adriatic region, and the author’s place in the universe as he confronts his own mortality and his decision to remain in his homeland after the fall of communism.
Moikom Zeqo, born in Durrës, Albania, in 1949, is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and fiction, as well as numerous monographs on Albanian history, literature, and culture. His book Meduza (published in English as I Don’t Believe in Ghosts, BOA, 2007) was suppressed in Albania from 1975–1995 and only appeared in print after the Communist collapse. In the mid 1990s, Zeqo served briefly as Albania’s Minister of Culture, and for many years he directed the National Historical Museum in Tirana. An archeologist by training, Zeqo lives in Tirana and works as a writer and journalist.
Anastas Kapurani is the author of The Myth of Lasgush (Upfront [UK], 2004), a critical study of the Albanian poet Lasgush Poradeci. Kapurani lives in Athens, where he teaches for the London Institute City and Guilds program.
Wayne Miller is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The City, Our City (Milkweed, 2011) and Post-, which is forthcoming in 2016. He has coedited New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008), Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master (Unsung Masters, 2011) and Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Milkweed, 2015), and translated Moikom Zeqo’s I Don’t Believe in Ghosts (BOA, 2007). He teaches at the University of Colorado Denver, where he edits Copper Nickel.
from Slovene by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg
ISBN 978-1-938890-13-0 (paper) $17
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6 x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Slovene/English]
I congratulate you on Hippodrome. A magnificent book! I am thrilled. Such keenness, such power and range. I bought it just before leaving for Civitella Ranieri, popped by Sansepolcro, and then read Hippodrome on a park bench … I am utterly thrilled that such a magnificent book has come out.…
—Tomaž Šalamun, from a letter to the author
“I picture the world as sutures,” the Slovenian poet Miklavž Komelj writes, “as wounds knitting.” In his first collection of poems in English translation, Hippodrome, he knits together an astonishing range of historical facts and ideas, ways of being and formal strategies, conscious at every turn of his obligations to the past, the present, and future. Everything is thrillingly alive in these poems, gracefully rendered by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg. A buzzard circling over a deserted quarry inspires Komelj to declare that he "was sent to this world for her ecstatic cry/ and after that, for the longest time, for no other sound." But what amazing sounds he has recorded in Hippodrome—sounds that tune and mend our ears.
—Christopher Merrill, author of Necessities
Slovenians are heirs to culture and influences from both Western and Eastern Europe, and they are among the most multilingual people in Europe. A long history of being engulfed in a larger political system has left Slovenia with a singular appreciation for its poets. Komelj is a bit of a chimera: his book includes imagistic lyrics, pastiches of quotes, persona poems, political polemics, and a reasonably faithful translation of Seneca. He references Futurist operas, NATO military action, personal friends, and literary and artistic heroes. His view is wide and deep, but throughout this book, and despite all these shifts in attention and approach, he builds a stable, unique vision.
Miklavž Komelj (1973) is one of Slovenia’s most outstanding living poets. His Hipodrom first appeared in 2006, and his other books of poetry are Luč delfina (Light of the Dolphin, 1991), Jantar Časa (The Amber of Time, 1995), Rosa (Dew, 2002), Zverinice (Little Beasts, 2006), Nenaslovljiva imena (Unaddressable Names, 2008), Modra obleka (Blue Dress, 2011), Roke v dežju (Hands in the Rain, 2011), Noč je abstraktnejša kot n (The Night is More Abstract than n, 2014). Among his other publications are a collection of essays on poetry, Nujnost poezije (Necessity of Poetry, 2010), and a prose work, Sovjetska knjiga (A Soviet Book, 2011). Komelj has received several of the most important Slovenian literary awards, and he translates work into Slovene from several languages (Gérard de Nerval, Fernando Pessoa, César Vallejo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Djuna Barnes, Jack Hirschman). His most recent research is dedicated to the literary opus of Djuna Barnes.
Dan Rosenberg earned a BA from Tufts University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD from the University of Georgia. He is the author of two collections of poems: The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press 2012, winner of the 2011 American Poetry Journal book prize) and cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He has also written two chapbooks: A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, forthcoming, winner of the Omnidawn 2014 Poetry Chapbook Contest). Rosenberg co-edits the independent online poetry journal Transom, and he currently teaches creative writing and literature at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
A bilingual Croatian-American author of short stories, essays and criticism; translator; visual artist; and illustrator; Boris Gregoric grew up as a military brat. He participated in the International Writing Program in Iowa City in 1991 and was a recipient of the Hammett/Hellman Foundation grant. He has published six books of short fiction and writes regularly for Croatian national radio. He has won several literary awards, including the prestigious Goran national award for young poets in 1988. His first novel, Kapor i Konj (Kapor & Horse), is to be published by Meander publishing house, Zagreb, in 2015. His blog is: iantbrill.blogspot.com.
from Chinese by John Balcom
ISBN 978-1-938890-07-9 (paper) $15
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6 x 8½
Rural Taiwan and its landscape are present in many of Xiang Yang’s poems. Landscape and rural poems have a long history in China, generally depicting the court or city as decadent places exercising a corrupting influence. In many contemporary poems from Taiwan, the sense of alienation one associates with modern life is viewed as a largely urban phenomenon, whereas all healthy values reside in the countryside. But this dichotomy, which is also seen as a shortcoming of such contemporary poetry, is itself a significant part of the local literary tradition of Nativism, which emerged during the Japanese occupation (1895–1945) as writers and artists sought to articulate a sense of Taiwan identity.
The so-called “third generation poets,” such as Xiang Yang, Du Ye, and Lo Qing, wanted to see a resurgence of Chinese national and local culture after years of foreign domination. In Taiwan, this revival was complex and multifaceted: the trend toward Westernization in the cultural sphere was subverted by a resurgence of interest in traditional Chinese culture, and political domination by the Kuomintang from the Mainland was opposed by promotion of Taiwanese language and culture. Xiang Yang himself eventually decided to explore two avenues: to write poetry in his native southern Min dialect and to experiment with formalist verse. “I asked myself what made classical poems so enduring,” he says. “It seemed to me that the strict compositional rules and forms of classical poetry contributed greatly to poetic quality.” He began experimenting with forms and rhyme, finally settling on a ten-line poem broken into two quintets as the form most suited to his temperament. It can be said that form made a poet out of him: formal limitations helped to channel and structure the poetic impulse.
—from the translator’s introduction
Xiang Yang’s poetry stands as elegant testimony to the Taiwan experience. The author of seven volumes of poetry in his younger years, he has, since the publication of The Four Seasons (1986), published but a single collection titled Chaos, in 2005. In the intervening years, he earned a PhD in journalism and moved into academia. He is also an established woodblock artist.
John Balcom is a translator of Chinese literature. Recent publications include Frontier Taiwan: An Anthology of Modern Chinese Poetry (contributor), Wintry Night by Li Qiao (co-translator), The City Trilogy by Chang His-kuo and Taiwan’s Indigenous Writers: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems, which received the 2006 Northern California Book Award. He translated Driftwood and Stone Cell, both by Lo Fu, which were published by Zephyr Press.
SOMETHING CROSSES MY MIND
from Chinese by Eleanor Goodman
ISBN 978-1-938890-06-2 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
128 pages [Bilingual Chinese/English]
From one of China’s most important poets after 1980, this is a stunning book of poetry, a poetry that is characterized by electric honesty and acute observation. In these pages, we hear Wang Xiaoni’s candid and penetrating voice about contemporary China—all through her quiet but powerful verse. The translator Eleanor Goodman, herself a wonderful poet, should be congratulated for her brilliant translation.
—Kang-i Sun Chang, Malcolm G. Chace ’56 Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University
Wang Xiaoni is a revered Chinese poet who has been writing since her teens. Over the decades, her poetry has grown more resonant, marked with striking images and extraordinary associations, and characterized by a quiet personal voice. The poems in this volume embody a distinct sensibility and a major achievement. Eleanor Goodman’s exacting translation makes them a pure pleasure to read and reread.
Wang Xiaoni has published five books of poetry and been honored with numerous awards, including the Ann Gao Poetry Prize in 1999, and the Chinese Literature Media Award in 2004. Her work is known for its keen detail and explication of everyday life. Something Crosses My Mind, published in China in 2008, spans twenty years of her writing.
Perhaps it is poets most of the world who require the most protection from it. Wang Xiaoni is nothing if not grounded in China—its people, its fauna and flora, its politics. Yet to have that world look in on her is a nightmare. Even more, it is a betrayal of the compact the poet has made with the world: to live in it as a stranger, but to give it full life on the page. This agreement at times infuses Wang’s work with an almost mystical sense of estrangement.
That is not to say that Wang Xiaoni is a poet with her head in the stars. Rather, she is grounded in the earth: she writes of potatoes and peanuts, scarecrows and corn. The animals in her poems are water buffalo, pigs and sheep. What interests her most is people and how they relate to their natural and unnatural environment. The unnatural environment is the one created by man: politics, economics, social hierarchies, inequalities. These issues are addressed, but subtly. They appear in her poems about the countryside and the implied social inequities therein, in her observations of severe environmental degradation, in her metaphors of wounds and bones, in her abandoned fields and defiled mountains.
—from the translator’s introduction
A key figure of the post-70s Chinese poets, Wang Xiaoni was born in Changchun, Jilin in 1955, and spent seven years as a laborer in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. In 1977, she was accepted into the Chinese Department at Jilin University, and in 1985 she moved to Shenzhen. She has worked as a film script editor and college professor. Her publications include more than twenty-five books of poetry, essays, and novels.
Eleanor Goodman is a writer and a translator from Chinese. She is a Research Associate at the Fairbank Center at Harvard University, and spent a year at Peking University on a Fulbright Fellowship. Something Crosses My Mind was the recipient of a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund.
CANYON IN THE BODY
from Chinese by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
ISBN 978-1-938890-01-7 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Chinese/English]
The tenderness of Lan Lan’s poetry is steely and perfectly judged. She shows us a world of subtle adjustments and intelligent beauty—although the stakes she deals in could not be higher. As its title suggests, Canyon in the Body uncovers both existential and domestic meanings, writ both large and small in the human environment. Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s limpid, unforced translations do the poet, and her Anglophone readers, a great service.
—Fiona Sampson, Editor of Poem and Professor of Poetry, Roehampton University
Lan Lan is discussing happiness with us. She cuts time, our faces, our dreams, our crystal gaze. So how does this happen: when we leave her, washed, new, mellow, happy that she conducted us, drowned us, left us hovering in this … what? nothing? Blessed be the day I discovered her writing.
Considered one of today’s most influential Chinese lyrical writers, Lan Lan emerged as a representative woman poet during the early nineties. A consistent presence in the mainland literary scene, her writing renews the need to address lyricism when the dominant cultural discourse favors phallocentrism and the privilege of human over non-human. Presented in five thematic sections, this bilingual collection compiles Lan Lan’s most characteristic work as it showcases her lyricism, austerity, luminosity, and moral sensibilities. Many of these poems have been anthologized in China and abroad. However, other than two translations in Push Open the Window (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) and a sampling in Another Kind of Nation: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman House, 2007), none of her poetry exists in English in a coherent entirety.
—from the Preface by Fiona Sze-Lorrain)
Born in 1967 in Yantai, Shandong province, Lan Lan is considered one of today’s most influential Chinese lyrical poets. She is the bestselling author of several poetry titles including Life with a Smile (1990), Inner Life (1997), Dream, Dream (2003) and From Here, to Here (2010). Also a prolific prose and children’s fiction writer, her work has been translated into ten languages. Awarded the Liu Li’an Poetry Prize in 1996, she was voted the top writer of the “Best Ten Women Poets” in China. In 2009, she received four of China’s highest literary honors: the “Poetry & People” Award, the Yulong Poetry Prize, the “Best Ten Poets in China” Award, and the Bing Xin Children’s Literature New Work Award. A regular guest at international poetry festivals, she lives in Beijing. Canyon in the Body is her first poetry collection in English.
Author of two books of poetry, My Funeral Gondola (Mānoa Books/El León, 2013) and Water the Moon (Marick, 2010), as well as several volumes of translation of contemporary Chinese, American and French poets, Fiona Sze-Lorrain co-edited the Mānoa anthologies, Sky Lanterns (2012) and On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State (2013), both from the University of Hawai’i Press. She lives in France where she is an editor at Vif Éditions and Cerise Press.
from Russian by Ainsley Morse and Peter Golub
ISBN 978-0-983297-02-4 (paper) $16
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6 x 8
208 pages [Bilingual Russian/English]
Sen-Senkov’s poetry has no hero in the obvious sense; although uttered in a voice that clearly has timbre and personal shading, we don’t know whose it is or where it is coming from. When you read deeply into this poetry, however, you realize that there is indeed a person behind this voice: one who perceives any and all cultural symbols as fractures in the universe, as ciphers and “sore spots” at the same time, which demand a vital reciprocal effort in order to overcome various historical traumas. Nothing gets the benefit of the doubt, but as soon as you begin to live out these symbols and myths, to fill them out through personal involvement, then everything begins to come together: the death of Heath Ledger, the story of how the constellations acquired meaning, reminiscences of childhood. One thing begins to resound with another, and it turns out that our hero is a person who doesn’t want to live in a fragmented reality. It’s fragmented, of course, but he strives again and again to see it as whole. This effort cannot be called heroic. That would be a profanation and a vulgarization; but this is an effort to make sense of the world, one that takes us beyond the heroic and non-heroic.
The omnivorous quality of Sen-Senkov’s roving eye is especially interesting in its relationship to history. Here is a poet constantly delving into human history; his engagement ranges as far back as prehistoric times, but circles back again and again to a few points of particular interest—in this collection, most notably the harrowed lives of early Christian martyrs and the endless upheaval of twentieth-century Europe. It is perhaps in this cyclical interrogation of the past, and ruminations on the consequences of inevitably repeated mistakes, that Sen-Senkov is most thoroughly a poet in the Russian tradition. Though his orientation is often markedly international, he could never reflect the legendary American forgetfulness of history: he gives us a Kraftwerk concert through the lens of the Soviet occupation of Nazi Germany, and a pack of Gitanes is enough to evoke a century of persecution by various peoples and governmental structures. At the same time, Sen-Senkov is not a political poet; he is a poet of description, and politics and history come to his attention as do Barbie dolls and soccer balls.
—from the Translator Introduction
Andrei Sen-Senkov is the author of more than ten books of poetry and prose, as well as solo and collaborative publications/performances involving visual poetry and experimental music. He has also published translations of poetry and a children’s book of original fairy tales, A Cat Named Mouse. He is a regular participant in literary festivals in Russia and abroad. In 1998 he was an award-winner at the Turgenev Festival for Short Prose, and in 2006, 2008 and 2012 he was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize. In the U.S., his work has been published in journals such as Aufgabe, Interim, Jacket, and Zoland Poetry, and anthologized in Crossing Centuries (Talisman).
Ainsley Morse has been translating 20th- and 21st-century Russian and (former-) Yugoslav literature since 2006. A longtime student of both literatures, she is currently writing a dissertation on unofficial Soviet-era literature at Harvard University. In addition to Anatomical Theater, she is the co-translator (with Bela Shayevich) of I Live I See: the Collected Poems of Vsevolod Nekrasov (UDP, 2013). Current translation projects include an anthology of Lianozovo poets and a collection of contemporary Russian experimental prose, as well as ongoing work with twentieth-century Yugoslav authors.
Peter Golub is a writer and translator living in San Francisco. He has published in Circumference, PEN America, and Playboy. He is a translator of contemporary Russian poetry and has worked on several anthologies, including the large online project The New Russian Poetry (Jacket 2). He has one book of poems, My Imagined Funeral (Argo Risk Press, 2007). He is the recipient of a PEN Translation Grant, and is an editor with St. Petersburg Review. The translation of this book was supported by a BILTC Translation Fellowship.
3 CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN WOMEN POETS
Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova and Maria Stepanova
Edited by Catherine Ciepiela
from Russian by Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Khasin and Sibelan Forrester
ISBN 978-0-9832970-8-6 (paper) $18
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6 x 9
200 pages [Bilingual Russian/English]
Relocations is a highly enjoyable collection of poetry introducing the English-language world to three incredibly diverse and talented women poets writing in Russian that could be as meaningful to a casual fan of poetry as to a comparative literature scholar. [full review]
—Will Evans, Three Percent
In distinct ways all three poets featured in Relocations are engaged in the project of renovating Russia’s great modernist tradition for a radically different historical situation. They write poems of imaginative daring, pushing recognizable scenarios into the fantastic, the surreal or the speculative, bending form and language to the task.
Polina Barskova began publishing her poetry at age nine and is the author of eight books of poems; her latest, Ariel’s Dispatch (Soobshchenie Ariela, NLO, 2011), was nominated for an Andrey Bely award. Two collections of her poetry in English translation appeared recently: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press, 2010) and The Zoo in Winter (Melville House Press, 2010). She is a published scholar with degrees in classical literature (from St. Petersburg University) and Slavic languages and literatures (UC Berkeley). Her research has focused on cultural life during the siege of Leningrad, about which she has numerous publications and two forthcoming books. She currently teaches Russian literature at Hampshire College and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Anna Glazova is a poet, translator and scholar of German and Comparative Literature with a PhD from Northwestern University. She is the author of three books of poems, the most recent, For a Shrew (Dlia zemleroiki, NLO, 2013), being honored with the Russian Prize for Poetry. She has translated into Russian books by Robert Walser, Unica Zürn and Ladislav Klima; her translations of Paul Celan’s poetry recently appeared under the title Speak you, too (Govori i ty, Ailuros, 2012). A volume of her poems in translations by Anna Khasin, Twice under the Sun, appeared with Shearsman Books in 2008. Her scholarship has focused on the work of Paul Celan and Osip Mandelstam. She teaches and resides in Hamburg, Germany and the United States.
Maria Stepanova is the author of nine books of poems and the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the Andrei Bely award (2005) and a Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship (2010). Among her most notable works are a book of post-modern ballads, Songs of the Northern Southerners (Pesni severnykh iuzhan, ARGO-RISK, 2001) and a book-length narrative poem, John Doe’s Prose (Proza Ivana Sidorova, NLO, 2008). Relocations presents the first extensive selection of her poems in English translation. Her activities as an essayist and journalist make her a visible cultural figure. Since 2007 she has worked as editor of the independent online journal OpenSpace.ru, now reconfigured as the crowd-sourced journal Colta.ru. She is a lifelong resident of Moscow.* * *
Catherine Ciepiela is a scholar and translator of modern Russian poetry. She is the author of a book on Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak (The Same Solitude, Cornell UP, 2006) and co-editor with Honor Moore of The Stray Dog Cabaret (NYRB 2006), a book of Paul Schmidt’s translations of the Russian modernists. Her translations have appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Pequod and The Common. She teaches Russian literature and poetic translation at Amherst College.
Anna Khasin is an independent translator and poet living in Boston. Her earlier translations of Anna Glazova were published by Shearsman Books under the title Twice Under the Sun (2008).
Sibelan Forrester is Professor of Russian at Swarthmore College with a scholarly focus on Russian modernist poetry, particularly the work of Marina Tsvetaeva. She writes her own poetry and has published poetic and scholarly translations from Croatian (Dubravka Oraić-Tolić’s American Scream and Palindrome Apocalypse, Ooligan Press, 2004), Russian (Elena Ignatova’s Diving Bell, Zephyr Press, 2006; Vladimir Propp’s Russian Folktale, Wayne State University Press, 2012), and Serbian (stories by Milica Mićić-Dimovska and an excerpt from Miroljub Todovorić’s verbal-visual novel Apeiron).
from Polish by Piotr Gwiazda
ISBN 978-1-938890-00-0 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
176 pages [Bilingual Polish/English]
“Grim, glancingly beautiful, always necessary.”
“One of the most important books of our time: these are at once unsettling and comforting, timely and wryly moving poems about the laughable annoyances, limited joys, and the never fully present sorrows of cosmopolitanism, the life of the citizens of the world.”
“Wróblewski is the true poetic chronicler of our 21st century diaspora in all its absurdities and anxieties … Kopenhaga is a journey to the end of the night that always makes a U-turn in the middle, to take in the latest folly—and also self-rescue mission—of the transplant. Read it and weep—and then laugh!”
Kopenhaga is the first comprehensive collection of prose poetry by Grzegorz Wróblewski, one of Poland’s leading contemporary writers. The book offers a series of vignettes from the crossroads of politics and culture, technology and ethics, consumerism and spirituality. It combines two tropes: the emigrant’s double identity and the ethnographer’s search for patterns. While ostensibly focused on Denmark, it functions as an investigation of alterity in the post-cold war era of ethnic strife and global capitalism. Whether he writes about refugees in Copenhagen (one of Europe’s major transnational cities), or the homeless, or the mentally ill, or any other marginalized group, Wróblewski points to the moral contradictions of a world supposedly without borders.
Grzegorz Wróblewski, born in 1962 in Gdańsk and raised in Warsaw, has been living in Copenhagen since 1985. He has published ten volumes of poetry and three collections of short prose pieces in Poland; three books of poetry, a book of poetic prose and an experimental novel in Denmark; a book of selected poems in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and a selection of plays. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. His poems in English translation appear in many journals, anthologies, and chapbooks, as well as in two collections Our Flying Objects (Equipage Press, 2007) and A Marzipan Factory (Otoliths, 2010).
Piotr Gwiazda has published two books of poetry, Messages (Pond Road Press, 2012) and Gagarin Street (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2005). He is also the author of James Merrill and W.H. Auden: Homosexuality and Poetic Influence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). He is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).