As everyone probably already knows, concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have cancelled most public events this season. While the Crnjanski and London panel discussion went on as scheduled at the British Library (see below and also this write-up in the British press), the London Book Festival was cancelled, as was the New Orleans Poetry Festival.
Miloš Crnjanski’s A Novel of London will be the subject of a panel at the London Book Fair, March 9, 2020, at the British Library. The panel will feature the novel’s translator Will Firth, Servian literary and cultural studies professor Dr. David Norris, Christina Pribicevic-Zoric, and Vesna Stanojevic. For those of you who will be at the LBF, here is the flyer with details for the event. Diálogos will, hopefully, be participating via Skype…
Poetry International, in collaboration with 3:AM Magazine, is showcasing a group of amazing young European poets, including our own Zvonko Karanović, author of Sleepwalkers on a Picnic. Steven Fowler, the Editor of the Maintenant Interview Series, interviewed Zvonko recently, saying:
Perhaps with some validation it is often suggested we currently inhabit an onanistic poetic culture. Mere decades ago there are innumerate examples of poets and their work changing the political landscape of their time, their words serving as a vital and indelible representation of protest, change and rebellion. It is unlikely that this phenomenon has become obsolete. Rather the poets creating this unforgettable work, which aims at the very heart of what they must suffer and observe, that they will not let pass unanswered, are off the radar of the zeitgeist. Yet in Serbia, in counter-cultural circles, Zvonko Karanović is a near legend. Working in the rebellious, revelatory manner of the Beats and the German new-wave, postwar poets, Karanović has been a relentless critic of Serbia and its actions over the last two decades. A Beat poet, in the most stringent and expansive manner, and an accomplished novelist, his work is resonant, dashing and singular. In an extraordinary interview, Karanovic speaks of his influences, the context of the Balkan wars and his experience of how Serbia, and Serbian poetry has altered in the countries tempestuous recent history. We are honoured to introduce Zvonko Karanović as the 27th edition of the Maintenant series.
Sleepwalkers on a Picnic introduces poet Zvonko Karanović to English-speaking readers, and in the genre of the prose poem, which is extremely rare in the Serbian poetics. Poems in prose were historically written in the age of symbolism, expressionism and surrealism, however Karanović’s poetics formed during the 80s, in the poetic culture of socialist Yugoslavia.
We announce with pride the release of Perishable Poems (Poèmes Périssables) by Abdellatif Laâbi in a new translation by Peter Thompson, continuing our focus on post-colonial literatures of northern Africa. English speakers can now join Africans and Africa scholars in recognizing Abdellatif Laâbi as Morocco’s preeminent living poet.
Diálogos is pleased to announce the publication of a new translation of French visionary poet Olivier Cadiot. Anna Fitzgerald‘s translation of his remarkable A Mage in Summer(Un mage en été, original published by POL in 2010), with an introduction by Cole Swensen, is releasing January 1, 2020, with pre-release pricing until then. The book features a cover photo—which is discussed at length in the text—by the great Nan Goldin, used with her generous permission.
Seasons greetings from Lavender Ink / Diálogos. If Black Friday left you feeling gray, consider some gift or personal buying from an organization committed not to profiting off of quasi-religious holidays but to reinstating the sacred into the everyday. These new and recent releases are currently offered at sale prices. See what you like below or check out all our new and upcoming releases, currently on sale.
“A dream is a poem disguised as a story,” says Rodger Kamenetz. “I had a practice of writing down my dreams every night but these were not yet poems. One dawn I found the secret: instead of writing down my dream, I could write a poem instead. A poem in the wake of the dream. That morning Yonderwas born.” What better form, then, to record the dream than the prose poem? This collection of “proses” from the author of The History of Last Night’s Dream, The Jew in the Lotus and To Die Next To You brims with respect for the genre, with homages to forebears from Baudelaire to Max Jacob, Russel Edson to Kafka, along with Rodger’s own unique reinvigorations of the form.
Available in paper and ebook.
Infrarealist poet, running buddy of Roberto Bolaño and basis for the character of Ulises Lima in Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives, Mario Santiago Papasquiaro was one of the greatest poets of modern Mexico. This full color, limited edition, collects work from Aullido de cisne (1996), Jeta de santo (2008) and Arte & basura (2012), translated by Arturo Mantecon and illustrated with paintings by Maceo Montoya. (The black & white edition is still available also.)
This series of essays by and about Irish-American writers traces that heritage from it’s humble origins through the twentieth century. Editor Colin Broderick provides background essays on Brendan Behan’s New York, Maeve Brennan’s heartbreaking decent into madness, Frank McCourt’s rise from school teacher to literary phenomenon, and 23 of today’s top Irish-American authors—including Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice and Maura Mulligan—provide personal accounts of how they found their voices in the Big Apple.
And if you’re in NYC, join us for the launch party at the Irish Arts Center, Dec. 6, where Malachy McCourt, Luanne Rice and other authors to be announced will read excerpts from the book, followed by a conversation with editor Colin Broderick and live music. Click here for details.
On 26 May, 1993, Algerian novelist and activist Tahar Djaout was shot in the head on his way to work in Algiers. He died in a coma a week later. One of his attackers, a member of the Armed Islamic Group, confessed that he was murdered because he “wielded a fearsome pen…”, a fact that highlights one of Djaout’s more famous quotes: “If you speak, you die, and if you remain silent, you die. So, speak and die.”
Djaout’s untimely death at the age of 39 robbed Algeria of one of its great 20th century voices, but not before he produced a corpus of lasting and important novels and books of poetry. We are excited to be releasing, this December, The Bone Seekers (Les chercheurs d’os) in a new translation by esteemed translator Marjolijn de Jager, whose credits include, among many others, Assia Djebar’s seminal Children of the New World.
The Bone Seekers is set in an Algeria ravaged by the war for independence, narrated by an adolescent boy who sets out, with his uncle and a donkey, from his primitive Kabylian village to find the bones of his brother who was killed in the war. The boy’s naive encounters with “the new world” of post-independence Algeria, along with his ruminations on his and his brother’s past, culminate in a homecoming that is a realization of the world to come.
We are also releasing—or rather re-releasing, since I published this book, formerly, at UNO Press—another North African title of great significance, Nabile Farès’ A Passenger from the West, translated by Peter Thompson. In 1970, Farès was asked to interview James Baldwin in Paris for Jeune Afrique magazine. What begins in this book as an interview with Baldwin confronting the history of Black America leads Farès into a journey through his own past and a broad consideration of the matter of identity in the postcolonial world. The original interview with Baldwin (the only extant English translation) is included.
These two volumes bear comparison at a number of levels. They are both “road novels” that hinge, in very different ways, on the revelations that travel can inspire. And both grapple with the problem of identity (and its now fundamental corollaries of language and nation) in a way that brings to light the real costs of empire building, from the American slave trade to the sacking of Algiers.
For this reason we would like to offer these two books in a special package deal: Order either one from our website in the month of August, and you will receive the other at no additional cost. Click here to order.
“In death, he is like an apparition. He shows up inconspicuously, tactfully, in a way he never did in life. No matter how deep you look into his past, you won’t find much because most of what he did was impromptu, without a script. He lived in the present, unencumbered, and he left behind a trail of anger and destruction.” (From: “Mario Santiago: Infrarrealist and Terrorist”, by Ilan Stavans)
Yesterday, April 10, 2018, Marthe Reed, beloved poet and friend to poets and lovers of poetry all over the world, especially to our community in New Orleans, died, suddenly and tragically, just before she was scheduled to attend the New Orleans Poetry Festival. The festival, this year, will be dedicated to her memory, and we are offering the two books we are so proud to have published, Tender Box: A Wunderkammer, and Nights Reading ::Burton’s Thousand and One::, at a special low price, in the hopes of sharing her love and her vision with a wider audience.
No one ever met Marthe and didn’t like her. She will be sorely missed.
The third iteration of the New Orleans Poetry Festival kicks off in less than two weeks, on Friday evening, April 20. It has been rewarding and heartening to organize this gathering, which threatens to host some 200 poets this year. More than 30 small presses and journals are represented in our book fair, and we’re excited to have poets from as far away as Hawaii and New Zealand joining us, once again. If you haven’t already, check out the lineup and schedule and do what you can to get here and add your own voice to the conversation, which will include more than 60 readings, panels and workshops, with concurrent events running all day Saturday and Sunday and features on Friday and Saturday nights.
Our goal with the fest, originated and organized by Lavender Ink/Diálogos and Trembling Pillow presses, has been to both celebrate and augment our local poetic community, bringing national and international poets and writers to New Orleans and vice versa. We have panels on topics ranging from Infrarealism to Visual Poetry to Collaborative Writing to Translation to Sex Magic to End Times, as well as a wide variety of readings, workshops and performances. More about these in the next newsletter.
To focus today on our features, the fest opens Friday evening with a reading by Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell, followed by a poetry slam featuring the award winning Baton Rouge Slam Team, followed by music from Kelcy Mae and Ever More Nest. Saturday night we’re happy to present Carolyn Hembree, Tonya M. Foster and performance poet Douglas Kearney, followed by our Poets with Bands show which threatens to reverbrate into the wee hours.
In one of his earliest publications Mohamed Loakira wrote: “The founding space of [my] predilection for writing was, without question, the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakech. This is where, as a child, I learned not to dissociate the voices, rhythms, colors, smells of country cuisine.” Those who have visited the Fna (main square) and souks of Marrakech can attest to the social intensity of the experience. The crush of food and textile vendors hawking their wares in Arabic, French and Spanish, snake charmers and tattoo artists (I was naive tourist enough to have a henna pattern applied to my bald head) is a feast of sensations, which might help to explain Loakira’s desire to “decompartmentalise modes of writing, seeking fusion, cohabitation and dialogue between the various forms of expression, including my poetry, Moroccan painting, music and the aesthetics of silence.” And one might add politics to these modes of writing, as Loakira has always been active in post-colonial politics in both Morocco and France.
Among Loakira’s numerous books of poetry and novels, Diálogos is proud to be the first to bring a complete volume of his poems into English with publication of Peter Thompson’s translation of …and the spring is veiled over (…et se voile le printemps). The Spring of the title is, at one level, the wave of demonstrations and revolts that swept North Africa and the Middle East in 2010 that came to be called Arab Spring, and the book is both a celebration of the revolutionary spirit and hope that swept the region for that brief moment and a lament for its ultimate failure.
Could this be dawn’s birth, a cloud-piercing,
tinted by flashes at the wide transoms.
A dream of what’s possible, so it seems, set free
and a route reshaped for sharing?
Might it be bitter miscarriage,
or simply more of current events? (25)
The book pivots on actual or implied or’s, as the alternative conjunction infects every poem like the turn of an English sonnet.
Mario Santiago Papasquiaro(pen name of José Alfredo Zendejas Pineda, December 25, 1953 – 1998) was the co-founder, with Roberto Bolaño, of the Infrarrealist Movement and the basis for the character of Ulises Lima in Bolaño’s novel The Savage Detectives. Like Santiago, the Lima character is a wild adventurer and virulent opponent of the canonical Mexican tradition, symbolized especially by Octavio Paz. Santiago made enemies in the Mexican poetry community due to his vocal criticism of what he deemed inferior forms of poetry, the literary elite, and poets themselves. Gaining only slight recognition during his lifetime, he is recognized and lauded by the testimonies of his friends in the Infrarealist movement, especially Bolaño. Though always returning to Mexico City, Santiago traveled widely in Europe and the Americas as was once expelled from Austria. Years later Bolaño said of this incident:
[Santiago] could care less about Austria and Mexico and the United States and the happily defunct Soviet Union and Chile and China, among other reasons because he didn’t believe in countries and the only borders he respected were the borders of dreams, the misty borders of love and indifference, the borders of courage and fear, the golden borders of ethics.
Mario Santiago’s style is as indifferent to borders as was his life. The long free verse lines, reminiscent of the American Beats, are irreverent but also erudite, and his work is peppered with allusions and homages to Rimbaud, Artaud, Pound, Beckett, Bataille, Mallarmé, Burroughs, Brautigan, Shakespeare and others. He has not been widely translated, partially because he was inattentive to publication while he was alive, leaving behind only one complete collection but reams of poems on bar napkins and the backs of flyers. Diálogos is proud to bring out Poetry Comes out of My Mouth, the first major collection of his work to be released in English, illustrated by the paintings of Maceo Montoya and with a superb introduction by Ilan Stavans. You can preorder a copy, today only, for half price.
Here’s a poem from the collection, read in English and Spanish by translator Arturo Mantecón.
I shit on God
& on all of his dead
I shit on the communion host
& the virgin’s little cunt
I shit on the dead
of the God of God
on the master morality of Friedrich Nietzsche
on the trembling body on my soul
& on the exposed nettles of the atheist
on the premature death of the righteous
on the fleeting nature of coitus & its flash
On the animal verb
On rhizome-like imagination
On the texts of fully weaned wisdom
On the ass crack of the planets
Concentrating on the wildfire of my pores
on this alcohol undergrowth that thrashes me
on the infinite eye of my footprints
on the savage fury of shameful chaos
on impossible death & its offerings
On the mud of the asp that suns itself
on the rocks of the beloved
on the levitation of my skull & bones
on the lame heart of the unspeakable
On the aqueous aleph of my stigmata
on the vitreous rash of my assassin
on the hand of pleasure
on the drug wedged in his front teeth
On the philanthropic ogre & his wife
on the wretched grave of chance
on the germ of lyrical poetry / which is a turd
On the airborne horseshit
on the sleep sand in the eyes of moles
on the all-splendored cranium of Charleville
On the rats still fleeing from the Drunken Sea
on the soft
on the flabby
& on the defenseless
On the toads’ belch of ether
on boiling blood
on the shadows
on the pink phlegm of the daybreak
on the insensate glass I have chosen for a road
in the canyons of swollen Venus
On the banquet platter
in the little chamber pots of the ceasefire
on the rotten toadstool & its trident
On the genealogical tumor of the US Army
on the extensive lineage of shit
Abyss & resplendency / chance & wind
Open vein from coccyx to clavicle
Lateness of pregnancy
/ Flame of muffled harps
On groins without the armpits of God-inventorofthedead
on the suave & multiple murmur made by 2 teardrops