Agadir Longlisted for National Translation Award!

Diálogos is happy to announce that Agadir, Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s genre-defying masterpiece, in translation by Pierre Joris and Jake Syersak, has been longlisted for the National Translation Award. See the complete listings here.

You can also read more about Agadir and Khaïr-Eddine in this in-depth review article in Banipal, now available online at this link.

Two New Titles from Morocco

We are excited to be releasing, almost simultaneously, two newly translated works by Moroccan women. The first is Liqueur of Aloe, Jocelyne Laâbi’s compelling memoir of growing up in a French colonial family, her marriage to poet Abdellatif Laâbi and their work on the influential literary/political magazine Soufflé, which earned Abdellatif a prison sentence and Jocelyne the difficult life of raising their three children while working constantly for his release. Translated from the French by Terence Golding.

The second is a selection of poems by one of the most respected new poets of Morocco, Aicha Bassry. Selected and translated from the Arabic by Mbark Sryfi and the late Eric Sellin, these compact, at-first-glance simple poems remind me of no one so much as Emily Dickinson for the subtle power that works just beneath their surface.

Check out these and our ever-growing list of exciting work from North and Subsaharan Africa. Until November 30, 2021, use coupon code “november30” to receive 40% off on all purchases of two or more titles ($25 or more).

Discovery of the New World at Modern Novel

John Alvey’s review of Nabile Farès’ Discovery of the New World is now up at The Modern Novel. We recommend this thoroughly researched and prepared article as a fitting introduction to Farès’ magnum opus. In appreciation, we’re giving 20% off the paperback OR the ebook, for the month of October. Check it out here.

Hank Lazer’s Thinking in Jewish in Jacket2

Thinking in Jewish (N20)We’re gratified to see so many reviews and essays concerning Lavender Ink and Diálogos books in recent days. Here is one, on Hank Lazer’s Thinking in Jewish, by Ariel Resnikoff at Jacket2. Resnikoff opens with:

Hank Lazer’s shape-writing walks a very narrow bridge, which is — as the Hasidic mystic, Reb Nahman of Breslov teaches — the world itself, hung across a shattering vessel, swung in awesome cosmic doubt. … Lazer’s praxis performs, in projected transcendent fragmented potentials, the stakes of a modern translingual jewish poetics that is both wholly contemporary, and yet elementally steeped in a thinking far older than capital J Judaism proper.

 

 

which will give you some idea of the depth of this critical writing. The essay was selected by Jerome Rothenberg, who says this about it:

Resnikoff’s short essay … focuses on Hank Lazer’s experiments with “shape writing” as they emerge here in a specifically Jewish context. While other contexts could be cited as well (including the well-known modernism of Guilliaume Apollinaire’s calligrams) the linkage to the verbo-visual side of one of the world’s great mystical traditions is certainly worth nothing. It is however Lazer’s own radical poesis that stands out and that Resnikoff chooses to explore & to celebrate

 

Check out this one and the many more listed below.

A Novel of London reviewed by Vesna Goldsworthy in Asymptote

The international literary journal Asymptote has recently published an extensive review of Miloš Crnjanski’s A Novel of London. This essay by international best-selling author Vesna Goldsworthy is a crash course in Crnjanski, as well as a knowledgable analysis of Will Firth’s translation:

Miloš Crnjanski’s A Novel of London (1971) is one of the key works of twentieth century Serbian fiction. Given the novel’s significance in the former Yugoslavia, its powerful and enduringly relevant story of East–West migration and exile, and its meticulously evoked setting based on the author’s first-hand experience of London during and immediately after World War Two, it might seem surprising—shocking even—that Crnjanski’s work remained unpublished in English for so long. Yet all too often that is the fate of even the most important literature from small languages and small countries.
This belated English version appears half a century after the original, largely as a result of the personal endeavours of Will Firth, one of the pre-eminent translators of writing from the former Yugoslavia. I would love to say that it has been eagerly awaited. That may be true for the small number of Crnjanski scholars in the West, and for those members of the Serbian diaspora who already knew the novel. However, in the twelve months since its publication by the New Orleans-based publisher Diálogos, Crnjanski’s masterpiece has, so far as I know, yet to be mentioned on the pages of a literary review, let alone properly reviewed, barring a piece from the novel’s translator in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

 

The essay delves in some detail into the problematic world of publishing such monumental works from smaller countries:

As the Danish scholar Cay Dollerup observes in “Translation as Intercultural Communication,” most translation from small languages is “an imposition.” It is “deliberate, and driven by the source culture,” rather than arising from any demand or desire in the recipient culture—in this case, that of the Anglosphere. … Moreover, the fruit of the translator’s labour, like an unwanted gift, is often met with either polite indifference or perfunctory praise from potential readers who say they want more literature in translation but choose to spend their time in other ways. It is a given that no one makes money out of the enterprise. Sales of two hundred copies are considered a success even for the widely reviewed titles by those foreign authors who are still alive and available for readings and interviews in fluent English. Worse still, the study of literature remains largely compartmentalized by language: A Novel of London could only hope to appear on most university reading lists in the original, restricting it to the few students of Serbian.

 

On the brighter side (for us publishers), Goldsworthy notes:

In addition to a thorough introduction by David Norris, the leading scholar of Crnjanski in the West, the Diálogos edition carries a prefatory note on translating A Novel of London by Will Firth. In the process of translating, Firth has also added a vast apparatus of foot- and end-notes, creating what amounts to a critical edition and a valuable contribution to the study of the author and his work.

 

Our gratitude goes to Vesna Goldsworthy for this essay, a notable contribution in itself.

The Murderous Sky reviewed by Joyce Zonana

Check out this amazing review of Rosemary Daniell‘s The Murderous Sky, by Joyce Zonana at Feminism and Religion:

…Cixous reminds us that “we need the books that hurt us,” books that “strike us like terrible events,” written by writers who “play with fire . . . sometimes go as far as catching fire, as far as being seized by fire.”  Daniell is just such a writer, committed to a dangerous, difficult, fiery truth-telling, offering readers a descent into her and hence our own depths, where we too might find the “beautiful things” we may never have known we needed.

Diálogos at NOPF

The live (well, Zoom) event at the New Orleans Poetry Festival was Sunday, April 25, 2 PM CDT, when Diálogos Presented Readings from Recent Translations and Roundtable on Translating Experimental Works.  This reading/roundtable featured poets and their translators, with bilingual readings and discussions of the works and the translation process. On hand:

See the archive recording of the event here:

The New Orleans Poetry Festival returns

Lavender Ink / Diálogos is proud to be one of the founding organizers of The New Orleans Poetry Festival. The fest returns after a one-year Covid hiatus with a full month of online programming this April. The opening event features a hybrid performance of readings from the new anthology I Am New Orleans, and programming continues with readings, workshops and roundtables every day for the entire month. Everything is free and open to all to Zoom in. See the complete calendar and access events at nolapoetry.com.

 

The Murderous Sky Reviewed at Like the Dew

Steve Croft has posted an engaging and thorough review of Rosemary Daniell‘s The Murderous Sky at Like the Dew. Croft writes:

Throughout these poems that move from the idyllic-seeming promise of childhood to the speaker’s children’s too often harrowing experiences of adulthood, it becomes quickly clear that we are in a realm of literature approached only in its highest and most serious forms, that is, the realm of tragedy.

This book will resonate to many of us with its treatment of very contemporary issues in the South and beyond, which is no doubt why it won the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Poetry Award.

Huapaya Reviewed at KR

“Huapaya’s poetry overwhelms; the words and images build against each other until they create the walls of their own world,” says Katherine M. Hedeen of Giancarlo Huapaya‘s Sub Verse Workshop. Hedeen reviews SVW and other works of interest in the March 2021 edition of Kenyon Review‘s Micro Reviews

Discovering a new world…

“Pure incomprehensible jibberish” is how a Goodreads reviewer classified Nabile Farès’ Exile and Helplessness, one of the three novels collected in the trilogy just released by Diálogos, Discovery of the New World. Despite this chilly reception on Goodreads, we consider the release of this  work—for the first time in English, and for the first time under one cover—to be one of our crowning achievements. Master translator and expert in North African letters Peter Thompson labored more than a decade with the translation of this often challenging text, including multiple meetings and consultations with Farès himself, prior to his death in 2016. Though it may not be a smash hit on Goodreads, Discovery of the New World should rank as a discovery of the first order for anglophone students of postcolonial literature.

Pierre Joris says in the preface to the book: 

The first thing that hits me every time I open or reopen one of Nabile Farès’ books is the immediacy of the intense struggle — simultaneously, the glorious success — of a text that stays at white heat by bending/bedding itself between what some would call the “genres” of poetry & prose.

Farès work is not so much incomprehensible as it is uncategorizable, which some of us see as an accomplishment rather than a failure.

Our North African collection was further enhanced, recently, by the release of the equally uncategorizable Agadir, by Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, translated by Pierre Joris and Jake Syersak. A recent review in Banipal said:

ln Agadir, Khaïr-Eddine has created “a dynamic, original, a revolutionary conception of writing” in which “literature is a beautiful weapon”. lt is at once a novella, a poem, a play, an extraordinary manifesto and, as he once called it, a “political essay”, in which a myriad of voices, including that of a narrator, speak out.

For a limited time, buy both these titles, either in paperback or ebook, and use coupon code “northafrica” to receive a 25% cart discount on checkout.

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Michael Clayton interview and review

An interview with Michael Clayton and review of Dead Roosters and Other Stories is up at Trueself. An excerpt:

Dead Roosters and Other Stories – recently published by Lavender Ink – is a striking collection of hardscrabble lives and dreams deferred. When I read Michael Clayton’s debut collection Larry Brown came to mind. In fact, bestselling author Amanda Boyden … compares him to Flannery O’Connor and Breece D’J Pancake.

Read the entire interview here.

Two New Interviews

Two extensive and informative interviews have recently been published with Lavender Ink / Diálogos author/translators. 

 

Mark StatmanFirst, Leslie Tate begins an interview with Mark Statman on the topics of Exile Home, fatherhood, translation, Mark’s move into happy exile from Brooklyn to Oaxaca, and most everything else. Part 1 of a long interview.

 

Next, please check out this tandem interview with A Novel of London translator Will Firth and 2020 European Union Prize for Literature winner, Stefan Bošković at Asymptote, in which Jovanka Kalaba questions each about literature, politics, language, and the current state of Balkan letters.

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