Check out these two recent reviews of Manuel Ulacia Selected Poems, Translated and Selected by Indran Amirthanayagam:
We’ve had a busy Spring, here, with lots of new titles in the works, including these four now available for pre-order, launching this Fall just in time for the ALTA conference.
My Soul Has No Corners, by Souad Labbize, translated from the French by Susanna Lang, with cover art by Annie Kurkdjian. Souad Labbize is a poet of love and exile. Born in Algeria, she lived for years in Tunisia before crossing the Mediterranean to France, where she can live as she chooses and speak in the name of all women who leave their homelands in order to affirm their independence.
Soaring and the Burst (Vols, l’éclat), by the award-winning Moroccan poet Rachid Khaless, translated from the French by Peter Thompson. This volume, too, represents the first full-length publication in English of this important Francophone poet, who was awarded the Prix du Maroc du Livre, one of Morocco’s most prestigious prizes, in 2019.
Dear Beloved Humans, by Grzegorz Wróblewski, translated by Piotr Gwiazda, offers a representative selection of poems by the prolific Wróblewski (b. 1962), a Polish writer and visual artist based for the last thirty-five years in Copenhagen. The third volume of Wróblewski’s poetry translated into English by Piotr Gwiazda, it shows its remarkable scope and variety,
Fuselage, by Myron Zolotakis translated from the Greek by Peter Bien with art by Dimitris Mytaras. This remarkable bi-lingual and full color volume marks the first full-length publication in English for the respected Greek poet. The artist, Dimitris Mytaras, worked closely with Zolotakis to produce the work. Mytaras died, tragically, in 2017.
Order all four of these and we’ll send a fifth title absolutely free…
This April we will be launching two poetically, visually and politically arresting titles by Adeena Karasick at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, which is taking place April 13-16. Adeena performs at 4 PM that Saturday, April 15, at Café Istanbul in the New Orleans Healing Center, along with her collaborator, designer/author Warren Lehrer.
The release event, which will be preceded by a poetry/music improvisational performance by Hank Lazer and guitarist Holland Hopson, is one of several events featuring Lavender Ink and Diálogos authors at the fest.
Signing and Reception follow the performance.
Manuel Ulacia (1953–2001) was born into a family of Spanish poets of the famous “Generation of ‘27” who fled to Mexico from the Spanish Civil War. Manuel studied Hispanic literature at Yale, specializing in Luis Cernuda, then returned to Mexico where he became a protégé of Octavio Paz and later president of PEN’s Mexico chapter. His books include two stunning long poems, Origami para un día de lluvia (Origami for a Rainy Day) (1990) and El plato azul (1999).
Manuel’s long-time friend and confidant, Indran Amirthanayagam, has now edited and translated the first large-scale selection of Manuel’s work in English, releasing in January, 2023, from Diálogos, available now for preorder. Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia includes an extensive collection of Ulacia’s work (including the two long poems mentioned above), all selected and translated by Amirthanayagam except the remarkable long poem “River,” translated by famed translator Suzanne Jill Levine.
We’re excited to be releasing, this month, the first translation of famed Spanish novelist Pío Baroja’s Los Amores Tardíos, translated as Night Flame by Spanish scholar D. J. Walker. Well-known and respected in Europe, Baroja is one member of Spain’s famed Generation of ’98 who has received little attention in the US, despite the respect of American writers like Hemingway, who once told him, “I deplore the fact that you have not yet received a Nobel Prize, especially when it was given to so many who deserved it less, like me.”
Our edition is enhanced by D. J. Walker’s excellent introduction, which sets the novel’s context and time frame. Order before the end of September and receive 30% off either the paperback or ebook by using coupon code “baroja.”
Lavender Ink author (Free Compositions and the newly-released Improviso) and prolific publisher and poetry raconteur t. thilleman is featured in the current issue of Brooklyn Rail. In the interview he discusses Free Compositions and a wide range of other topics, including the new documentary film Poetry New York, releasing this month at the Chain NYC Film Festival, which features Thilleman reminiscing about, among other things, the may readings he sponsored in NYC in the 1990s.
Here are two snippets from the interview:
Andrew Mossin (Rail): You were, as you’ve told me, solidly below 14th Street in those days, whereas for me most of what I knew outside of work was located above 72nd on the West Side. So, while I was hanging out uptown in bars like Dublin House, you were downtown involved in that evolving scene of poetry readings, performances and happenings of one kind and another. It’s this history that I see partly reflected in the new film that you’re in directed by Patrick Pfister, Poetry, New York. Could you talk about this film in terms of what the film is trying to do, the geography of that film, and some of its historic back-looking as well as forward-looking aspects? I’m especially intrigued by the trailer that features a rain-soaked downtown street (it looks like Canal but I can’t be sure) and you walking with an umbrella through it and the accompanying voiceover, “Tod Thilleman is on a mission.”
t thilleman: Part of that “mission” is in my new book, Free Compositions. There’s a Nathaniel Mackey quote from Djbot Baghostus’s Run, one of the novels in his ongoing series of epistolary fictions, and it ends with the line, “Automatic alto had now come full circle, clearly come to be host of a circuitous muse.” That serves as the epigraph to the book’s third and final section, “I Talk With the Spirits,” which is all about the jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, who played three instruments at once.
Rail: Shifting gears here, I’m wondering what connections you see between your intent and intense period of doing readings and running a reading series and your recent work in Free Compositions. This work, as much of your recent poetry does, focuses heavily on music, the aspect of melos that we find in poetry but of course in composers such as Schoenberg and Mahler, two key figures in this work, becomes even more important and actualized through the interrelation of the musical score and its performance.
thilleman: There’s the musical side of what I’m doing here, coming out of Mahler, but what was happening at the time, in Vienna around the turn of the twentieth century, was that everyone is wanting to do a cabaret thing, influenced by French Cabaret. And they want to do these very popular songs. There’s a contingent, though, that wants to raise song up to the level of high art. “Can it be done?” they’re asking. There’s a famous novel about it: Stilpe (1897), published by Otto Julius Bierbaum, which no one really knows or remembers these days but is important because it inspired the first German cabaret in Berlin in 1901. The novel includes all this dramatic play around cabaret, but Schoenberg was influenced by the space in the cabaret, in that very intimate setting but orchestrated it like a little mini opera.
This year’s William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award Grand Prize Winner is Chad Foret for his paean to south Louisiana, Scenes from a Rain Country. “I am confident writers of the 22nd century will regard Chad Foret’s Scenes from a Rain Country as the text where surrealism and intimacy swam a mutual reservoir,” says Jon Riccio of this collection, which gives some idea of the range of Foret’s poetic voice.
Preorder pricing until the end of June.
Here’s a one-poem teaser:
Meanwhile on the Moon
Over Mare Imbrium basin,
birds are bland, diamonds
with boiled wings, bullet
holes valued higher than our very
breath. Even here the downpours
come to party, leave with empty
lungs. We bob for bloodshot
eyes in buckets of buttermilk,
these our current incarnations.
Every year the fragments of worship
from centuries before finally arrive,
full of soft light, wave admiration.
We feed the world these words
& take the forms of frightened
horses like a dark glitch, drain
your language of love & leave
our bodies long enough to lick
your sightless lives once more.
The New Orleans Poetry Festival, 2022, starts up this weekend with online events. Check out the entire event schedule here. The first half of the week is devoted to online events, with live events beginning Thursday, 4-20. Here is the info for our reading:
April 20, 7:00 pm CDT
Please join us at two offsite events in Philly during AWP next week. First, we are cosponsoring a PREFUNK PARTY, in collaboration with Unlikely Stories, Rigorous: a journal by people of color, and Louisiana’s River Writers. Come see us at
Strangelove’s Beer Bar
216 S. 11th St.
Wendesday, March 23, 6-10:30pm
At this reading will be Indran Amirthanayagam with translator Jennifer Rathbun, Peter Thompson (reading Tchicaya u Tam’si), Mbarek Sryfi (reading Aicha Bassry), Jesse Lee Kercheval (reading Luis Bravo), Christopher Shipman, Vincent A. Cellucci, along with Rob Arnold, DeWitt Brinson, Kenning JP García, Teow Lim Goh, Bill Lavender, Cecilia Martinez-Gil, Laura Mattingly, Daphne Maysonet, Jonathan Penton, Rone Shavers, Mark Spitzer, Bronwen Tate, Meg Tuite, Marc Vincenz, and Ronaldo Wilson!
On Friday, thanks to the Moonstone Arts Center, I will be reading late night with Chax Press, and other readers from Unlikely Stories, Gold Line Press, Ricochet Editions, and Pink Trees Press, at:
With almost no subject matter being taboo in postmodern poetry, ironically the oldest subject of all is, for most contemporary poets, strictly off-limits. That subject is love. It actually takes courage to publish a book of love poems in this cynical age.
Blue Window / Ventana Azul affirms the beauty of love in all its forms. In the face of heartbreak, jealousy, despair, grief, distrust, and all the associated hazards of love, the message of this book, at least to this reader, is that despite its dangers, love is still well worth the risks.
As a translator, I am interested in the ways in which writing in a language other than your native tongue affects one’s style, tone, and even themes…. It could be that, when Amirthanayagam writes in Spanish, it frees him from the strictures of the English language, which tends to eschew the theme of love, at least in direct address.
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.
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 Souffles, 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).
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.
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.
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.