Announcements

t thilleman at Brooklyn Rail

Lavender Ink author (Free Compositions and the soon-to-be-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 Tod 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.

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Announcements

Chad Foret, William Faulkner-William Wisdom Award Grand Prize Winner

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.

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Announcements

NOPF is Here!

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:

With:  Indran Amirthanayagam , Rosemary Daniell , Kit Robinson , Aicha Bassry , Norman Fischer , Mark Statman

April 20, 7:00 pm CDT

(8:00pm EDT, 6:00pm MDT, 5:00pm PDT)
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Announcements

Lavender Ink / Diálogos at AWP

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:

Fergie's Pub
1214 Sansom St.
Friday, March 25, 9pm-12am
and on Zoom (registration required)!

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Announcements

Indran Amirthanayagam Reviewed in World Literature Today

Blue Window has attracted the attention of World Literature Today, where it is reviewed this month by Jonathan Harrington, who analyzes the book thoroughly:
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.
But Amirthanayagam has it:
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.
Harrington also comments on the translation, by Jennifer Rathbun, and the format. The polyglot Amirthanayagam actually writes poetry in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, and Portuguese. This book he chose to write in Spanish and have it translated by Rathbun:
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. 

Amirthanayagam's many other books have also garnered attention of late. The recently published, by Broadstone Books, Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant is reviewed by W. Luther Jett in IndiaCurrents and also by Arden Levine at Green Linden, and Serena Agusto-Cox in Savvy Verse & Wit.
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Announcements

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.

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Announcements

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 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).

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Announcements

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.

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Accolades

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.

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Announcements

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.

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Announcements

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:

https://youtu.be/KBbOv_TJBy0

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Announcements

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.

 

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Announcements

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.

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