DARKNESS SPOKEN: COLLECTED POEMS OF INGEBORG BACHMANN
from German by Peter Filkins
ISBN 0-939010-84-4 (paper) $24.95
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5½ x 8¼
688 pages [bilingual German/English]
Darkness Spoken gathers together Bachmann's two celebrated books of poetry, as well as the early and late poems not collected in book form. This new, expanded edition contains 129 poems recently released from Bachmann's archives and which have never before been translated. Twenty-five of these also appear in German in this bilingual edition for the first time anywhere. The addition of these new poems will help expand awareness of Bachmann's development as a writer, as well as the fact that she continued to write poetry throughout her career, even while developing the ideas for her groundbreaking novels. Just as Bachmann's Malina sought to expand the possibilities of the novel, Darkness Spoken contains the bedrock of a vision as far reaching as it is indelible, and as uncompromising as it is bound to hope. Through translation of the poems, scholarly notes, and a critical introduction, this volume will supply the foundation necessary to draw attention to Bachmann's achievement on the part of readers and critics alike.
Ingeborg Bachmann was born in 1926 in Klagenfurt, Austria. She studied philosophy at the universities of Innsbruck, Graz, and Vienna, where she wrote her dissertation on the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In 1953 she received the poetry prize from Gruppe 47 for her first volume, Borrowed Time (Die gestundete Zeit), after which there followed her second collection, Invocation of the Great Bear (Anrufung des großen Bären), in 1956. Bachmann also went on to write short stories, essays, opera libretti, and novels, including The Thirtieth Year, Malina, and The Book of Franza. At the time of her death in a fire in Rome in 1973, Bachmann was at work on a cycle of novels titled Todesarten (Ways of Dying), of which Malina was the first published volume.
Along with her close friend Paul Celan, Bachmann was considered the premiere German language poet of her generation. Her various awards include the Georg Büchner Prize, the Berlin Critics Prize, the Bremen Award, and the Austrian State Prize for literature. Her work remains highly influential to this day, and she is now regarded as a pioneer of European feminism and postwar literature. Influencing numerous writers from Thomas Bernhard to Christa Wolf, Bachmann's poetic investigation into the nature and limits of language in the face of history remains unmatched in its ability to combine philosophical insight with haunting lyricism.
Peter Filkins has published two volumes of poetry, What She Knew (1998) and After Homer (2002), and has translated Bachmann's The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldmann. He is the recipient of an Outstanding Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association, and the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. He teaches at Simon's Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
from Polish by Mira Rosenthal
ISBN 0-9832970-3-1 (paper) $15
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6 x 8
180 pages [Bilingual Polish/English]
Tomasz Różycki’s Colonies is one of the most remarkable sonnet sequences of our time: the work of a wandering, restless, and moral mind, here rendered with clarity and vividness by the translations of Mira Rosenthal.
In Tomasz Różycki’s lyric profusion, I hear the sharp blasts of a mordant intellect, but not without the human notes of an infinite melancholy playing in the background. This is the soundtrack of a valiant mind, a layered imagination that nonchalantly apprehends and formally measures the tarnished world in demotic language such that it enchantingly restores simplicity and bewilderment to our existence.
Tomasz Różycki walks to work every day through the city of Opole, in the Polish region of Silesia, where he has lived since his birth in 1970. The fact that he is walking is important: the rhythm of feet on concrete and cobblestone, the familiar view across the Odra River, the regular length of time it takes him to reach his destination. Poetry has a long friendship with walking, good for pacing the flow of thought and establishing a strong rhythm. We are familiar with the idea in the Anglophone tradition from the late eighteenth century, when the Romantic poets transformed walking into a cultural and aesthetic act of taking pleasure in a landscape. For William Wordsworth, almost daily excursions on foot as well as longer walking tours functioned as a way to compose and revise poems that sprung from his meditations on the countryside. But what is important in Różycki’s daily walking is not so much any pastoral awareness it brings about but the fact that such rambling often leads to more sustained interest in the history of a place. Wordsworth’s pedestrian experience of the Lake District moved him to write a guidebook that traced the history of the region; so, too, Różycki’s paced knowledge of his part of Silesia roots him in a historical curiosity. In Colonies, his sixth collection, this curiosity blooms into an outright aesthetic obsession.
—from the Translator’s Introduction
Tomasz Różycki is a poet, critic, and translator. Over the last ten years, he has garnered almost every prize Poland has to offer, as well as widespread critical and popular acclaim in translation in numerous languages. Różycki is the author of seven volumes of poetry, most recently Kolonie (Colonies) and Księga obrotów (The Book of Rotations). Over the course of his career, he has developed an extraordinarily distinctive, personal poetic voice that combines highly concrete imagery with evocative references to the historical legacy of his family and his time. He has lived his whole life in Opole, a previously German city that was repopulated by Poles relocated from the Ukrainian area of eastern Poland taken over by the Soviets after World War II. He is considered to be an inheritor of the tradition of Czesław Miłosz and Adam Zagajewski, and his highly formal work deals with questions of both literary and ancestral tradition. His awards include the Krzysztof Kamiel Baczyński Prize (1997), the Czas Kultury Prize (1997), The Rainer Maria Rilke Award (1998), the Kościelski Foundation Prize (2004), and the Joseph Brodski Prize from Zeszyty Literackie (2006). He has been nominated twice for the Nike Prize (Poland’s top literary honor) and once for the Paszport Polityki (2004). He lives in his hometown of Opole with his wife and two children and teaches at Opole University. Zephyr Press has also published his The Forgotten Keys.
While on a Fulbright Fellowship to Poland, Mira Rosenthal discovered her passion for translating contemporary Polish poetry. Her translations and scholarship on Polish literature have received numerous awards, including fellowships from the PEN Translation Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Her own poetry has been published widely, and her collection The Local World, winner of the Wick Poetry Prize, came out from Kent State in 2011. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Indiana University. She is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Inspired by Xu Bing
from Chinese by Austin Woerner
ISBN 978-1-938890-04-8 (paper) $15
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9 x 7
64 pages [Bilingual Chinese/English]
With over 20 full-color photos of Xu Bing’s “Phoenix”
Ouyang Jianghe has produced a masterpiece equaling Xu Bing’s magnificent “Phoenix” in scale and political acuity. I can think of no parallel for this poem in the writing of my country, where ekphrastic poetry is a rather pale medium. What verve and penetrating wit! He mixes phenomenology, mystical appetite and jeremiad to produce an unforgettable critique of the entrepreneurial titanism of the new China.
Ouyang Jianghe belongs to the generation of Chinese poets known as the “post-Misty” school, the second wave of poets to emerge in the 1980s in the warming political climate after the end of the Cultural Revolution. The first wave, whose representative poets included Duo Duo, Gu Cheng, and most prominently, Bei Dao, transmuted the surrealism of French and Latin American poetry into a vehicle for political allegory. “Phoenix,” a mini-epic ekphrastic poem written as a companion piece to Xu Bing’s sculpture of the same name, multiplies the complexity of his earlier poems by an order of magnitude. It is, by his own account, his magnum opus. Synthesizing his earlier concerns of the materiality of language, the Chinese literary legacy, and the role of art in society into a sustained meditation on the theme of flight, it reflects two and a half decades of work refining the “difficult” language of Misty poetry into a vessel for sophisticated philosophical inquiry.
Known as one of the “Five Masters from Sichuan,” Ouyang Jianghe is one of China’s most influential avant-garde poets. His intricate, fugue-like poems are concerned with dissecting the layers of meaning that underlie everyday objects and notions such as “doubled shadows.” He is also a prominent art critic and calligrapher; he lives in Beijing.
A Chinese-English literary translator, Austin Woerner has translated a collection of poetry by Ouyang Jianghe (Doubled Shadows), a novel by Su Wei, and edited the English edition of the Chinese literary magazine Chutzpah!. A graduate of Yale and of the New School's creative writing MFA program, he joined Ouyang in 2009 as the first author-translator pair to participate in the Literature in Translation Program at the Vermont Studio Center.
TAKE ME OUT
Illustrations by Stephen Coren
ISBN 978-1-938890-09-3 (paper) $12
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5½ x 8
What is it about rhyme? Whatever it is, we fall in love with it (if ever) early in life: as soon as we learn to talk, or probably sooner. The same can be said about love for sports. By bringing together these two forms of attachment, the clever Littlefield reminds us that poetry and sports, at a level deeper than their different kinds of grandiosity, both have roots in childhood pleasures.
—Robert Pinsky, Former U.S. Poet Laureate
Poetry in sport?
If there’s a Little field
Where’s the big court?
So next time out
And take in
Take Me Out.
—Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, NPR & Real Sports
Bill keeps pace with a variety of sports through the rhythm of his verse and prose. Always entertaining.
—Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic Gold Medalist
Bill Littlefield, first and foremost a writer, plays games even as he writes about them. He unabashedly versifies not for profit, cosmic meaning, or a championship cup, but for fun. He makes no bones about it: these verses are doggerel, defined in the OED as “comic or burlesque verse, usually of irregular rhythm … mean, trivial, or undignified verse.” And while there is nothing mean or trivial in the lines that follow here, much is exuberantly undignified. The rhythms, too, are sharper than they might look at first glance—Read them aloud. Doggerel rhythms and rhymes have an honorable place in grown-up English letters, at least since Chaucer’s day, both unself-consciously, as in the touching and ludicrous verse of William McGonagall; or self-consciously, as in the urbane lyrics of Ogden Nash. And radio, which has long been Littlefield’s primary medium, proves an encouraging breeding-ground for light verse of various kinds.
—from the Publisher’s Introduction
50th Anniversary Edition of
Letters from Mississippi
LETTERS FROM MISSISSIPPI: Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers
and Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer
Edited by Elizabeth Martínez
ISBN: 978-1-938890-02-4 (paper), $18.95
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5½ x 8¼
I am so grateful readers have been given this new opportunity to hear the story of Freedom Summer told directly by some of the young people who helped make that extraordinary moment happen. Letters from Mississippi gives us a deeply personal look at one of the Civil Rights Movement's key moments—and reminds us that change happens because regular people have decided they were willing to fight for it.
—Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund
These letters in perceptiveness, freshness of detail and description, variety of events and situations, and range of experience are unlike anything I've since encountered in civil rights literature. Collectively, they constitute an irreplaceable record of an extraordinary movement in American social and cultural history at midcentury.
—Ekwueme Michael Thelwell
These letters bring to life, sometimes with tears, always with pride, that extraordinary summer when young people from all over the country joined black people in Mississippi in their determined quest for equal rights. Elizabeth Martínez, with this volume, makes an invaluable and unique contribution to the history of social struggle in America.
During the summer of 1964, a presidential election year, SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) sent volunteers into Mississippi to expand Black voter registration in the state, to organize a legally constituted "Freedom Democratic Party" that would challenge the whites-only Mississippi Democratic party, to establish "freedom schools" which taught reading and math to Black children, and to open community centers where individuals could obtain legal and medical assistance.
This 50th anniversary edition of Letters from Mississippi retains the introduction by Julian Bond, and updates the explanatory background notes and biographies of volunteers from that summer. The 50th anniversary edition also includes over 40 pages of poetry that was written by students in the Freedom Schools, with a prefatory note by Langston Hughes.
Elizabeth Martínez is a Chicana writer, activist and teacher. She speaks on racism, multiculturalism, women's struggles and today's new movements. In the 1960s and 70s, she worked in the Black civil rights movement and the Chicano movement. She co-founded and currently chairs the Institute for MultiRacial Justice to help build alliances between communities of color. Martínez is the author of six books and numerous articles.
FIRST COMPLETE ENGLISH TRANSLATION of
CELEBRATED HSIA YÜ COLLECTION
from Chinese by Steve Bradbury
ISBN 978-1-938890-05-5 (paper), $18.00
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7 x 10
Originally published in Chinese in 1999, Salsa has been Hsia Yü’s most successful collection of poetry, selling thousands of copies in Taiwan and Hong Kong alone. Zephyr’s 2001 edition Fusion Kitsch includes a generous selection of material from Salsa, but this marks the first time that an entire Hsia Yü volume has been translated into English.
“Inclining Ever Closer to Existence”
Everyone is endlessly distracted by the thought of being
“lost without a trace”
My head covered in a black cloth sack
I am taken to a remote basement corner
Where I hear someone say
“Okay, now I’ll let you see where you are.”
The sack is lifted and I see the one who brought me
And nearby a window backlit in the window
Another person looking at me his expression
Lets me know at once that I am merely passing through
We can never look upon each other in the same light
Again like the lazy fellow in the story who brought home flowers
And began to tidy up in comparison to that light
Whose horizon of vision is enlarging with infinite
Precision how do we “incline ever closer to existence”?
I mull the idea the three of us making love right here and now
I am determined to be the first to acknowledge my mistakes
The ones I always make in the end
I go off key
And it’s a key I’ll never go off quite this way again
Hsia Yü (sometimes spelled Xia Yu) is the author and designer of six volumes of groundbreaking verse, among them a bilingual collection of English-language poems and computer-generated Chinese translations printed on crystal clear vinyl, entitled Pink Noise, as well as several hundred song lyrics, many of which are enormously popular in the Chinese-speaking world, and a Chinese translation of Henri-Pierre Roché’s Jules et Jim.
She currently lives in Taipei, where she co-edits the avant-garde journal and poetry initiative Xianzai Shi [Poetry Now], but she lived for many years in France, where the poems in the Salsa collection were composed. Originally published in 1999 and now in its tenth printing, Salsa is Hsia Yü’s most successful collection of poetry to date. This bilingual version contains the first and only complete translation of her poetry in any language other than Chinese.
Steve Bradbury lives in Taipei and teaches British and American poetry and fiction at National Central University, where he formerly edited Full Tilt: a journal of East-Asian poetry, translation and the arts. This bilingual edition of Salsa is his fifth book of translations from Chinese.
Marianne Langner Zeitlin
ISBN 978-0-9832970-5-5 $17
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5½ x 8¼
For anyone interested in classical music, Motherless Child is a novel to be savored. [full review]
—Roberta Silman, Artsfuse.org
One gets wrapped up in the ruse Elizabeth has woven, and becomes as determined as she is to learn the truth.
—Joy Parks, Quill & Quire (Canada)
Motherless Child is a superbly wrought romantic page-turner that has elements in it of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, with more than a touch of the latter’s gothic essence. [full review]
—Bill Gladstone, Canadian Jewish News
Set in the world of classical music, Marianne Langner Zeitlin’s third novel is a suspenseful page-turner that takes us on a young woman's quest to understand her family’s difficult past. Under an assumed name, Elizabeth Guaranga takes a job with the famed music manager Alfred Rossiter, who was once her late mother's lover. Rossiter’s name was synonymous with evil in Elizabeth’s home: he had lured her mother away from the family, and then used his power to squelch her father’s career as a concert pianist. After Elizabeth meets the writer George Wentworth, who is writing a biography of Rossiter, she begins to learn that the truth she is seeking is far different from what she had been led to believe.
Zeitlin has spent her entire adult life in the world of classical music—as the wife of acclaimed violinist Zvi Zeitlin, as one of the first women to manage an orchestra herself, and, in her young adulthood, as an employee at one of the largest music management firms in the United States. She brings her wealth of knowledge about the music world to this riveting tale of loss, love, power, and the immutability of one’s past.
Motherless Child contains a Book Group Discussion Guide.
Marianne Langner Zeitlin is the author of numerous short stories, essays, articles and dramatic works. She has published two other novels, Mira’s Passage (Dell) and Next of Kin (Zephyr Press), which won a City of Toronto Book Award, and her stories have been anthologized in two collections. Recent stories have been published in FictionFix.net, Passager, Aethlon, Scribblers on the Roof, and Jewishfiction.net. She lives in Rochester, New York.
MLB (Milosz Biedrzycki)
from Polish by Frank L. Vigoda
ISBN 978-0-939010-99-8 (trade paper) $16.00
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6 x 8
208 pages [bilingual Polish/English
If you’re going to purchase one book of poetry this year, make it [MLB’s] latest collection, 69.
—Shaun Randol, The Mantle
MLB's extraordinary linguistic awareness and amused wonderment with language lurk beneath all his poetry. One of the principal authors of the "bruLion" generation, which has been influenced by American poets such as Frank O'Hara, Allen Ginsberg, and John Ashbery, MLB has published six volumes of poetry and received numerous prestigious literary prizes. Three of his volumes were inspired by the avant-garde and surrealist traditions, and presented the reader with riddle-poems to solve. The work in this bilingual edition is from his 2006 volume, 69, which encompasses his poetic output from the fall of Communism to the present, allowing the reader to trace the process of personal and artistic development during the rapidly changing post-Communist years.
MLB was born in 1967 in Slovenia, graduated with a degree in Geophysics at Krakow’s Academy of Mining and Metallurgy, and now divides his time between Krakow and the Middle East. In addition to his work as a geophysical engineer, he works on the editorial board of the quarterly, bruLion. English translations of his work have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Trafika, Chicago Review, Fence, Zoland Poetry, and the Zephyr Press anthology Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird. (photo by Marta Eloy Cichocka)
Frank L. Vigoda’s translations, primarily from Polish, have appeared in a variety of publications, including Modern Poetry in Translation, Polin, Studies in Polish Jewry, Lyric Poetry Review, Chicago Review, Absinthe: New European Writing, Circumference, and Fence. Long-time translation projects include the work of Aleksander Wat, Rafal Wojaczek, Urke Nachalnik, and two young Polish poets, Marcin Jagodzinski and Kamil Zajac.
ANXIETY OF WORDS: CONTEMPORARY POETRY
BY KOREAN WOMEN
Ch'oe Sung-ja, Kim Hyesoon, Yi Yon-ju
from Korean by Don Mee Choi
ISBN 0-939010-87-9 (paper) $16.00
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6 x 9
200 pages [Bilingual Korean/English]
Don Mee Choi, a fine poet herself, has translated both the spirit and words of these outsiders and experimenters into poetry that is just as striking to English-speakers as it was to Koreans under the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee when it was first written. Anxiety of Words has widened the conversation of Korean poetry to include the voice of Korean women—a voice that needs to be heard.
—American Poet, Spring 2007
Anxiety of Words is the first anthology of Korean women's poetry that challenges one of Korea's most enduring literary traditions: that “yoryu” (female) poetry must be gentle and subservient. By using innovative language, and vividly depicting women's lives and struggles within an often repressive society, these three contemporary poets defiantly insist that poetry can be part of social change—indeed, that it must be. Ch'oe Sung-ja, Kim Hyesoon, and Yi Yon-ju have written unforgettable poems that now, thanks to Don Mee Choi's translations, are available to English-speaking readers for the first time. With a lengthy introduction on the history of women's poetry in Korea, and biographical notes on the three poets, this volume is an eye-opening exploration for any reader interested in Korea, poetry, and contemporary women's literature.
These are pioneering translations of three women who are themselves pioneers in a patriarchal literary culture. In bringing these remarkable poems to life in English, Don Mee Choi is breaking down lingering barriers to writing women in Korea. This poetry has long cried out for an audience within and without Korea, and now it will finally receive the hearing it deserves.
—Bruce Fulton, Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation, University of British Columbia
In Anxiety of Words Don Mee Choi shatters the barrier between West and East to bring us the defiant, vulnerable and intellectually fierce collective voice of Korean women poets. In this historic anthology of work heretofore unavailable in English, Choi gives us access to dynamic and unforgettable poems. This book is a must-read for lovers of literature and for anyone who wants to hear complex truths from women in struggle with their globalizing world.
—Minnie Bruce Pratt
Ch'oe Sung-ja (b. 1952) is one of the most highly regarded contemporary women poets of South Korea. Ch'oe studied German literature at Korea University at a time when there were only two hundred women enrolled in the entire university. She began writing poetry while in college and became the first woman editor of Korea University's literary journal. In 1979, Ch'oe became the first woman poet to be published in a literary journal, Literature and Intellect. Ch'oe's poetry, which violated the criteria of decorum that had been long imposed on women poets, caused a stir in South Korea's predominantly male literary establishment. Ch'oe is part of the new wave of feminist poets of Korea to merge after the early pioneering women poets of the 1920s and 30s, who explored and gave voice to women's lives under the oppressive patriarchy. Ch'oe published four collections of poetry between 1981 and 1993. In 1994, she participated in the Iowa International Writers' Program. She now works as a literary translator in Seoul, and is translating a collection of short stories by J.D. Salinger.
Kim Hyesoon's (b. 1955) poetry first appeared in Literature and Intellect, the same journal in which Ch'oe's work also made its debut. Kim majored in Korean literature for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She is a member of Another Culture, an organization which emerged in the 1980s and has played a critical role in feminist literary research and publication, including the development of women's studies in South Korea. Kim teaches creative writing and Korean poetry at Seoul College of Arts. In 2001, Kim received the So-wol Poetry Award. Her book of poetry, Seoul, My Upanishad (Munhak kwa jisongsa, 1994) was awarded the Kim Su-yong Contemporary Poetry Award in 2000. Kim is the first woman to receive this coveted award. In her work she explores women's multiple and simultaneous existence as grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and lovers. Kim Hyesoon has published seven collections of poetry; her most recent publication is a collection of critical essays about women and writing.
Yi Yon-ju made her literary debut in a journal called World of Writers (1991). The same year, Yi's first book of poetry, A Night Market Where There Are Prostitutes, was published by Sekyesa, a well-known literary press in South Korea. Yi's second collection of poems was published in 1993 after her death. According to the renowned feminist critic Kim Chong-nan, Yi's poetry has a critical place in the poetry of the 1980s. Yi depicts in her poetry women who live on the fringes of South Korean society, marginalized by the rapid industrialization of the 1970s and 80s, which, in part, was made possible by the exploitation of young women from poor rural areas. Not much is known about Yi's life. According to her brother, Yi Yong-ju, the night Yi committed suicide she had asked him not to reveal anything about her life except for her date and place of birth.
Don Mee Choi is a translator and scholar of Korean literature. Her literary focus is on the exploration of the cultural, historical, and political roles of contemporary Korean women's poetry and the critical examination of literary translation in the context of South Korea's post-coloniality. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY POLISH POETRY
CARNIVOROUS BOY CARNIVOROUS BIRD
Selected by Marcin Baran
Edited by Anna Skucińska and Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese
ISBN 0-939010-72-0 (paper) $19.95
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6 x 9
336 pages [bilingual Polish/English]
Since the lyric beginnings of Polish poetry, writers have been burdened with duties typically delegated to politicians, soldiers, priests or journalists. The political, social and cultural changes of the last decade have allowed Polish poets to cast off these burdens, and focus instead on individual expression and varied aesthetic movements. Carnivorous Boy Carnivorous Bird focuses on the core group of this movement—poets born between 1958-1969.
…in a constant confusion of mystification and authenticity, distance and directness, representational skepticism and mimetic euphoria, game-playing and honesty, the poets presented here perform their informal, singular duties towards language and the human condition.
—from the introduction by Marcin Baran