April 14, 2009
In this Lit&Lunch event, hear Pulitzer Prize-winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass discuss his translations of Japanese haiku and Czeslaw Milosz.
THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 10 | Esther Kinsky
April 15, 2013
Prompted by the forthcoming publication of Italo Calvino’s Letters 1941-1985, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito embark on a discussion of literary lives and letters. They touch upon the marvelous correspondences of Thomas Bernhard and William Gaddis, and look forward to the lectures collected in Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature. Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Years of Insight, technically the final volume in a biographical trilogy, represents a welcome addition to English-language Kafka scholarship. Curzio Malaparte’s The Skin, a grotesque and haunting semi-autobiographical tale of the Second World War, returns after many years out of print. The introduction closes with a plea from the hosts to Anglophone publishers not to ignore biographies produced elsewhere: Michel Winock’s Flaubert and Madame de Staël, among many others, they argue, deserve a broader readership. Daniel Medin is then joined by Esther Kinsky, a poet and translator from Polish, Russian, and English into German. Her speciality is Polish literature from the First World War to the 1960’s, and she offers wonderful introductions to some of her favorite writers of that period, including Zygmunt Haupt, who lived in the United States and continued to write in Polish even though his own children did not speak the language, Wiesław Myśliwski, whose Stone Upon Stone recently appeared in English, and Joanna Bator, whose poetic works Kinsky is currently translating.
TWO VOICES: Mikhail Shishkin and Marian Schwartz in Conversation with Scott Esposito
April 9, 2013
Mikhail Shishkin, the only Russian writer ever to win all three of his country's major book awards, joined Two Voices for his first ever U.S. appearance to discuss his novel Maidenhair. Widely praised from London to Paris to Berlin, Maidenhair finally reached the United States in 2012 by way of Open Letter Books. In this event Shishkin was joined by his translator, Marian Schwartz, for a wide-ranging conversation with the Center's Scott Esposito. They began by discussing the Russian critical response to Maidenhair (with one critic vowing to eat his underwear in public if the book sold more than 50,000 copies—it did) before talking about Shishkin's relationship with his home country, the benefit of his years living in Switzerland, and why he claims he "hates" the Russian language.
THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 9 | Ethan Nosowsky
February 28, 2013
At the beginning of this episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito are happy, along with the rest of the Anglosphere, to be rediscovering Nikolai Leskov’s The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories, newly translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. They also look forward to a recent success from the Netherlands that’s been making waves abroad, Arnon Grunberg’s Tirza, and take an anecdote-filled trip through modernity in Roberto Calasso’s La Folie Baudelaire. They continue to be impressed by Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle: Book Two: A Man in Love, the second volume in a hugely ambitious series that describes (albeit amid a number of digressions) how the author fell in love with his wife. Scott Esposito then sits down with Ethan Nosowsky, a former Editor-at-Large at Graywolf Press who has recently been named Editorial Director at McSweeney’s. Nosowsky discusses his early career and several of his experiences with editing translations at Graywolf, most notably with regard to Daniel Sada’s Almost Never.
THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 8 | Nick Barley
January 22, 2013
Hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return in the new year enthralled by the “absolutely insane” game of literary telephone in the latest issue of McSweeney’s, in which texts are translated in and out of English and by, among others, J.M. Coetzee, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Lydia Davis. They look forward to games of a slightly different nature in several forthcoming Oulipian works: the 65th anniversary edition of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style; Georges Perec’s La Boutique Obscure, the dream journal that inspired much of his fiction; and Scott Esposito’s own The End of Oulipo?, a critical examination of the movement co-written with Lauren Elkin. Pierre Michon’s The Eleven promises to be one of the author’s best since his widely-respected Small Lives; Yasutaka Tsutsui’s Paprika is story of clinical dream-invaders from one of Japan’s premier science fiction writers. Daniel Medin also announces the launch of the eighteenth volume in The Cahiers Series, Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her, next month at the Goethe-Institut in Paris. Daniel Medin then interviews Nick Barley, the director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest and perhaps best-known literary festival in the world. He gives a lively account of Edinburgh’s literary heritage and the influence it still exerts on the atmosphere of the festival, and testifies to the continuing importance of such festivals for both authors and readers.
TWO VOICES: Aron Aji on Bilge Karasu
December 17, 2012
Aron Aji began his presentation on Bilge Karasu's A Long Day's Evening with a substantial statement: he called Karasu's project as an author both an attempt to develop a new Turkish literary language and an attempt to develop a readership for this language. However large a claim this was, by the end of this event Aji had borne it out. Aji noted that in order to even begin translating Long Day's Evening, which he said took him 6 years to complete, he had to first immerse himself in Karasu's work, translating two of his other novels, The Garden of the Departed Cats and Death in Troy. To give some idea of the complexity of the task of translating Karasu, Aji stated that for the graet Turkish author "literature is the memory of language." He went on to reinforce the great importance of A Long Day's Evening to Turkish literature . . .
THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 7 | Stephen Henighan
November 26, 2012
Scott Esposito speaks to Stephen Henighan, a novelist, critic, and translator from Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Since 2006, Henighan has been general editor for the International Translation Series at the Canadian-based press Biblioasis. He talks about immigrant experiences in Canada and his own “deeply-rooted rootlessness,” the Canadian relationship to English and translation, and the challenges of procuring and producing translations for the Canadian market. He discusses Mia Couto’s “rural modernism,” his literary influences, and why the author travels well, despite being essentially “untranslatable.” Finally, Henighan tells the comical and haphazard story of how he came to learn Romanian, and describes the process of translating and trying to publish Mihail Sebastian’s The Accident.
TWO VOICES: Bill Johnston on Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski
November 19, 2012
In this audio, lauded translator Bill Johnston talks about his translation of Stone Upon Stone by Wieslaw Mysliwski, which received both the 2012 PEN Translation Award and the 2012 Best Translated Book Award. As Johnston mentions in the question-and-answer session at the end of this audio recording, it was a dream project for him, a book he had long wanted to translate and finally got the opportunity to do, once he found a publisher "crazy enough" to take a risk on it.For his own part, Johnston called it one of the greatest novels to come out of Europe in the past century.
THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 6 | Géraldine Chognard and Sylvia Whitman
October 23, 2012
In this episode, Daniel Medin and Scott Eposito revisit Robert Walser’s Microscripts in its new illustrated paperback edition, and look forward to another take on that author’s work, the strange and musical “monologue for multiple voices” that is Elfriede Jelinek’s Her Not All Her: On/With Robert Walser. They discuss the reconstructed romances in Jacqueline Raoul-Duval’s Kafka In Love and the well-earned praise for Stig Sæterbakken’s Self-Control. They hope that Dalkey Archive Press’ Arvo Pärt in Conversation will bring about a resurgence in the genre of conversations, and tip their hats to Seagull Books for publishing two works by the 2012 Nobel Laureate Mo Yan, Change and the forthcoming Pow! Daniel Medin then speaks to two booksellers in Paris about introducing and promoting literature in translation, challenges to bookselling in the age of Amazon, and the idea of the bookshop as community center.
TWO VOICES: Mary Jo Bang and Graham Foust
October 22, 2012
In this audio, the Center welcomes translators and poets Mary Jo Bang and Graham Foust to read from their latest projects. Foust began by reading from his translations of Ernst Meister, a 20th century German philosopher (co-translated with Samuel Frederick). Meister’s poems, Foust notes in the introduction to the book are like Emily Dickinson’s in that they “at once entice and irritate the mouth and the mind.” Translator and poet Mary Jo Bang then took the stage to discuss the genesis of her new translation of The Inferno: she read a poem that consisted of 47 previous translations of three lines from Dante. She began to think about how she would translate the lines, which led her to ponder the idea of what a full translation of Dante would look like. Bang than read her rendition of the famous meeting scene between Dante and the poet Virgil, moving on to Dante's account of how he left limbo.
THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 5 | September 2012 | Margaret Jull Costa
September 18, 2012
Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito return to the second season of That Other Word energized by the translators’ duels at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the great work being done at the UK-based press And Other Stories. They look forward to new works in translation this fall, including Antonio Tabucci’s The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico, Basque author and Edinburgh guest Bernardo Atxaga’s Seven Hours in France, and the latest from César Aira, The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira. Daniel Medin hopes that several novels generating interest in Germany and France — Jenny Erpenbeck’s Aller Tage Abend, Clemens J. Setz’s Indigo, and Jean Echenoz’s 14 — will soon be translated as well. Afterward, Scott Esposito sits down with Margaret Jull Costa, a distinguished translator from Spanish and Portuguese who has brought Javier Marías, José Saramago, and Eça de Queiroz into English.
TWO VOICES: Margaret Jull Costa on Jose Saramago
August 28, 2012
On August 13, Margaret Jull Costa joined the Center to discuss her work with some of the greatest authors to emerge from Spain and Portugal in the 20th century. Translator of Javier Marias, Antonio Lobo Antunes, and Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, among many others, Costa gave an insightful overview of Saramago's long career while discussing his perculiar, beautiful, and wholly original prose style. Costa began her presentation by giving some idea of Saramago's context as a writer, developing a sense of his literary roots.
THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 4 | June 2012 | Antoine Jaccottet
June 19, 2012
This episode’s opening conversation celebrates literature from Eastern Europe: Daniel Medin, speaking from Book Expo America in New York City, is impressed with Mikhail Shishkin’s forthcoming novel Maidenhair, and Scott Esposito loves Marek Bieńczyk’s genre-bending Transparency. They hope that Julius Margolin’s memoir from the Gulag, Voyage au pays des Ze-Ka will make its way into English soon, and in the meantime they enjoy the biting humor of Éric Chevillard’s Prehistoric Times and Demolishing Nisard. Finally, Contemporary Georgian Fiction, the latest in Dalkey Archive Press’ series of regional anthologies, provides a welcome introduction to writing from an often-overlooked country.
Daniel Medin then speaks to Antoine Jaccottet, who founded the Paris-based press Le Bruit du Temps in 2008 and has since brought out an admirable collection of works in translation, collected works, memoirs, poetry, and philosophy.
TWO VOICES: Kate Bernheimer, Ilya Kaminsky, and Maria Tatar Talk Translating Fairy Tales
June 18, 2012
This Two Voices audio brings you a panel on the unique role fairy tales play in international literature. Acclaimed writer Kate Bernheimer, widely praised poet Ilya Kaminsky, and folklore and mythology expert Maria Tatar discuss the tales’ role in literature, and how they function in translation. It begins, of course, with a reading of a fairy tale. Tatar introduces the tale as the French “Story of the Grandmother,” though any audience would immediately recognize it as one we know by the name of its protagonist, Little Red Riding Hood. Brief though it is, this version includes every detail American audiences know about the tale while still being remarkably unsettling; each familiar line is presented with an eerily sexual undertone, the threat seeming that much more dire. In the story’s conclusion, Little Red becomes a trickster herself . . .
TWO VOICES: A Night of Fairy Tales
June 18, 2012
In this audio from the Center for the Art of Translation's Two Voices events series we present four deliciously dark fairy tales. Author Kate Bernheimer is joined by fairy tale expert Maria Tatar and poet/translator Ilya Kaminsky. Plus, the Center's own Managing Editor and Literary Programs Manager CJ Evans shares a fairy tale that was much too dark for his infant daughter.
THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 3 | May 2012 | Benjamin Moser
May 15, 2012
In this rather German conversation, Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito discuss the melancholy and pleasure in the most recent collection of W.G. Sebald’s poetry to appear in English, Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems 1964-2001. History is a found object in Sebald, and also in December, a wintry advent calendar of thirty-nine short stories by Alexander Kluge and thirty-nine photographs by Gerhard Richter. Robert Walser’s The Walk may induce laughing out loud at the wilderness, and the thirtieth anniversary of Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute should inspire some very leisurely drives from Paris to Marseilles. In the second half of the episode, Scott Esposito interviews Benjamin Moser, author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector. Moser has recently re-translated Lispector’s last novel, The Hour of the Star, and is currently editing a series of four of her earlier works for New Directions (Near to the Wild Heart, A Breath of Life, Agua Viva, and The Passion According to G.H.).
TWO VOICES: Novelist Sergio Chejfec
May 10, 2012
In his Two Voices presentation on May 8, lauded Argentine author Sergio Chejfec started by explaining the biographical roots of his strange, compelling novel The Planets. The book is about an Argentine who goes missing during the military dictatorship of 1976-82, and Chejfec began by explaining that the plot of the book actually has to do with a friend of his who did disappear during the military dictatorship for the 1970s. He was one of an estimated 30,000 Argentines to disappear during that span.
TWO VOICES: Pulitzer-Winning Poet and Translator Richard Howard on Out in the Bay
May 3, 2012
In this audio, Pulitzer-winner poet and legendary translator Richard Howard discusses his career and reads his work. He talks about works he's written in the voice of famous individuals, such as Isadora Duncan—and about how this writing relates to his work with translation. Howard touches on his famous translation of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, particularly how he chose to deal with Baudelaire's challenging rhyme scheme. (He chose, controversially, to abandon the terminal rhymes.) Howard explain show he translated the poems so as to evoke the feeling of rhymes without actually making the lines rhyme as did Baudelaire. He also reads from his translation of Stéphane Mallarmé's "Afternoon of a Faun."
THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 2 | April 2012 | Petra Hardt
April 17, 2012
In this episode, Scott Esposito eagerly anticipates the Dirty War in Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets, and Daniel Medin shares a delightful description of a freeloader from Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories. They discuss Daniel Sada’s Almost Never and the general robustness of contemporary Mexican fiction, attempt to explain why reading Can Xue’s Vertical Motion is like running downhill in the dark, then hesitate over whether to call Daniel Levin Becker’s Many Subtle Channels a memoir or a work of criticism, but agree that it is about Oulipo and very candid. Daniel Medin then speaks to Petra Hardt, head of the rights department at Suhrkamp Verlag and author of Rights: Buying. Protecting. Selling. Suhrkamp is one of the most prestigious presses in Germany and in Europe, and since its founding in 1950 has published not only many of the greatest German-language writers of the twentieth century — among them Paul Celan, Theodor W. Adorno, and Thomas Bernhard — but foreign authors as well, including Samuel Beckett, Marcel Proust, and Julio Cortázar.
TWO VOICES: Jay Rubin and J. Philip Gabriel on Translating Murakami
April 5, 2012
On April 3, 2012, translators Jay Rubin and J. Philip Gabriel—best-known as the main English translators of Haruki Murakmai's novels and short stories—discussed their work with the Japanese master of the surreal's latest book, 1Q84. The event got off to a proper start with a discussion of one of the primary questions surrounding 1Q84: how do you pronounce its title? Jay Rubin canvassed the audience for answers, which ranged from "nineteen-eighty-four" to "eye-que-eight-four" (which Rubin ruled out, since the first character is a number one). He then went on to a discussion of the role that the title plays in the novel . . .
THAT OTHER WORD: Episode 1 | March 2012 | Lorin Stein
March 20, 2012
In this first episode, Scott Esposito interviews Lorin Stein, editor of The Paris Review and former senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. They discuss editing the English version of Jean-Christophe Valtat’s 03 (translated by Mitzi Angel), procuring the rights to Roberto Bolaño’s works and editing Natasha Wimmer’s translations, and Stein's translation of Edouard Levé's book Autoportrait. Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito also chat about César Aira’s Varamo, László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango, and Robert Walser’s Berlin Stories.
TWO VOICES: Peter Constantine on 3,000 Years of Greek Poetry
March 15, 2012
In this audio, translator Peter Constantine argues passionately against the notion that there is a past to Greek poetry and a present, but no middle. Here, Constantine offers ample evidence of all the great Greek poetry written between the ancient and modern eras.
TWO VOICES: Richard Howard on French Literature and Stéphane Mallarmé
February 23, 2012
The Center was joined by legendary translator Richard Howard on February 16, 2012 to discuss his work with some of the greatest French writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. In this audio event he focuses on Stéphane Mallarmé's most famous—and likely most challenging—poem, "Afternoon of a Faun," which encompasses seven pages and includes several challenges of syntax, typography, and form. He characterizes the work as "for the spoken word only," and it can be heard as Howard intends in the audio in his dramatic reading.
TWO VOICES: Perry Link, China Specialist and Translator of Nobel Winner Liu Xiaobo
February 6, 2012
On January 26, translator and China scholar Perry Link joined the Center, the Asia Society, and the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco for a discussion on imprisoned Chinese activist and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo’s No Enemies, No Hatred, a collection of his political essays and poetry. In his role as translator, editor, and scholar, Link reviewed the process of publishing the collection, Liu’s literary background and career as writer and activist, and both the personal and political influences of his development into one of China’s most notorious and celebrated “dissidents.”
TWO VOICES: Counterfeits Release Reading, with Luc Sante, Patrick Philips, Alyson Waters, Adam Giannelli, Alex Zucker, and Magdaléna Platzová
January 5, 2012
On November 9, the Center for the Art of Translation celebrated the release of Counterfeits, its 18th annual anthology of world literature, with a star-studded event in New York City. You can listen to the audio from that event right here.
TWO VOICES: Robert Hass, Greg Delanty, and Michael Matto Discuss Anglo-Saxon Poetry
December 15, 2011
This event brought together editors, poets, and translators Robert Hass, Greg Delanty, and Michael Matto to talk about some of the great richness of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Delanty and Matto are coeditors of The Word Exchange, which features over 70 contemporary poets (Hass included among them) translating a wealth of Anglo-Saxon verse into modern English. In this audio you can hear Hass, Delanty, and Matto read in both English and Anglo-Saxon while discussing these poems.
TWO VOICES: Translator Natasha Wimmer in Conversation with Daniel Alarcón
December 6, 2011
In this audio, celebrated author and Guggenheim fellow Daniel Alarcón talks with Natasha Wimmer about her translators of Bolaño's masterworks, The Savage Detectives and 2666. The audio was originally recorded on October 7, 2009. They start the conversation by discussing why Wimmer got into translation to begin with. As she notes, translation is often seen as the closest form of reading . . .
TWO VOICES: Translators Steven T. Murray and Tiina Nunnally on Stieg Larsson and Nordic Crime Fiction
November 21, 2011
On November 11, 2011, the Center for the Art of Translation's Two Voices events series hosted the pre-eminent translators of Nordic crime fiction, Steven T. Murray and Tiina Nunnally. Since 1984 they have produced award-winning translations, including books by Henning Mankell, Peter Høeg, Camilla Läckberg, and Mari Jungstedt. Murray is best-known as the translator of the Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy, and Nunnally is well-known for translating another runaway bestseller (from the Danish), Smilla's Sense of Snow. The couple were presented in conversation with Sedge Thomson, host of West Coast Live.
TWO VOICES: Carmen Boullosa and Pura Lopez Colome
October 17, 2011
Mexico is traditionally thought of as a country in love with machismo, and that fact can be seen in the Mexican writers who succeed in English—among them Carlos Fuentes, Juan Rulfo, and Octavio Paz. Yet there are many women in Mexico writing landmark literature, and this audio presents two of them. As part of the annual Litquake literature festival in San Francisco, the Center for the Art of Translation partnered with the Mexican Consulate to present two of Mexico's most vital female writers: Carmen Boullosa and Pura López Colomé.
TWO VOICES: Joshua Beckman Presents Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade
October 13, 2011
"The purpose of this book is to send readers off to new places--new places of the mind." So began Joshua Beckman's Two voices presentation of Micrograms by Jorge Carrera Andrade, described, in part, as the Japanese concept of haiku translated into the Latin America of the 20th century.
TWO VOICES: Michael Henry Heim and the Three Eras of Modern Translation
September 15, 2011
Translator of Thomas Mann, Milan Kundera, Hugo Claus, and many more, Michael Henry Heim joined the Center for the Art of Translation in its new offices in downtown San Francisco. Heim has worked with translation since the 1960s, and his presentation focused on how he has seen the translator slowly been brought brought out from "under the carpet" since then. Throughout, Heim came across as a passionate advocate of translation, one who has had the pleasure of seeing it emerge more and more, to the point that now, in Heim's opinion, it has developed serious momentum and has a bright future.
TWO VOICES: Poet and Translator Fanny Howe on A Wall of Two
June 16, 2011
"My work on a translation for seven years has been part of a long fixation, which I hope to put to rest here." This was the bold statement with which Fanny Howe began her Two Voices presentation on the book of Holocaust poetry, A Wall of Two.
TWO VOICES: Stephen Snyder on Yoko Ogawa, Haruki Murakami, and the Business of International Literature
May 12, 2011
Early in this Two Voices event, translator Stephen Snyder made a bold pronouncement: Haruki Murakami would win a Nobel prize, and 1Q84, his blockbuster novel that many are comparing to The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, would be the book to do it. Snyder wasn't wholly going out on a limb. As he told the audience, he correctly predicted Kenzaburo Oe's Nobel prize in 1994. But more to the point of his presentation, Snyder has seen the intricacies of the publishing industry close up, and he has a strong sense of how tastes are made with regard to inernational authors.
TWO VOICES: An Evening with Lydia Davis
April 25, 2011
We're proud to present audio of renowned author, translator, and MacArthur "Genuis" Lydia Davis, who discussed her acclaimed new translation of Madame Bovary last week as part of the Center's Two Voices events series in San Francisco.
Whereas so many writers seem to fall neatly into categories, Davis's career has more often than not defied categorization . . .
The Center Presents Cyrus Cassells on Out in the Bay
April 19, 2011
In conjuction with his appearance in San Francisco for the Center's Two Voices literary events series, Cyrus Cassells also appeared on the public radio show Out in the Bay to discuss translation, Catalan poet Francesc Parcerisas, and why San Francisco is his favorite U.S. city (plus, which city is is favorite international one).
TWO VOICES: Author Yiyun Li on Legendary Chinese Author Shen Congwen
April 14, 2011
"I'm going to tell you a lot of love stories today," Yiyun Li said to begin her Two Voices event on the masterful Chinese writer Shen Congwen. Although little-known in the U.S., Congwen has been a hugely influential author on Li--as she declared during the event, Congwen's letters were one of the three books she brought with her when she emigrated from China to the United States in 1996.
TWO VOICES: Poet and Translator Cyrus Cassells on Catalan Poet Francesc Parcerisas
March 24, 2011
Pulitzer-nominated poet Cyrus Cassells and Franscec Parcerisas first struck up a friendship in 1983, when the former was in Barcelona exploring the charming city that has been home to so many artists and writers. Twenty years later the two men met again in Barcelona, and it was then that Cassells made the snap decision to become Parcerisas’ English-language voice. As Cassells tells it, it was a moment of great serendipity and much drama: "In his living room he recited, movingly, in Catalan, the poem "Objects,' which prompted an almost lightning-quick decision on my part to become his translator."
Cassells read a number of Parcerisas' poems to a rapt Two Voices audience, switching with ease from English to Catalan and back.
TWO VOICES: Some Kind of Beautiful Signal Launch Party Audio
December 7, 2010
On November 17 we celebrated the launch of the new book in our TWO LINES series, Some Kind of Beautiful Signal. Here you can hear the audio from the readings portion of that event, where translators Kurt Beals, Katherine Silver, Rick London, and Joel Streicker reading poetry and prose from Anja Utler, Martin Adan, and Samanta Schweblin, all included in Some Kind of Beautiful Signal.
TWO VOICES: Stephen Kessler on Luis Cernuda
November 11, 2010
In this audio, award-winning translator Stephen Kessler discusses his work with Cernuda's amazing late poetry. Cut off from his readership and his colleagues, Cernuda continued to write, but he was unaware of his growing renown in his native land. Then, at almost 50 years of age, Cernuda moved to Mexico, where he began to write the poetry that appears in Kessler's translation, Desolation of the Chimera. Though Cernuda was lured to Mexico by both the promise of a familiar lifestyle and the love of a young man, the poems in Desolation are, per Kessler, the work of a man writing "as if for himself alone."
TWO VOICES: Carolina de Robertis on Bonsai
October 6, 2010
In this podcast from the Center for the Art of Translation, award-winning author and translator Carolina de Robertis discusses her translation of the Chilean novel Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra.
TWO VOICES: Daniel Kehlmann on Fame
September 28, 2010
In this podcast from the Center for the Art of Translation, bestselling German author Daniel Kehlmann reads from and talks about his new "novel in stories," Fame.
TWO VOICES: Bernardo Atxaga, Leading Basque Novelist
June 8, 2010
As London's newspaper The Guardian once wrote, Bernardo Atxaga is not just a Basque novelist but the Basque novelist: a writer charged, whether he likes it or not, with exporting a threatened culture around the world. If Basque culture is threatened, its literature is perhaps most imperiled of all: Atxaga himself claims that just one hundred books have been written in the Basque language Euskara in the past 400 years.
TWO VOICES: Marlon Hom on Angel Island Detention Poems and Chinatown Songs
May 18, 2010
Over the course of 30 years--from 1910 to 1940--the Angel Island Immigration Station processed over 200,000 immigrants, most of them Chinese. Confined to a small cell and awaiting their fate, Chinese immigrants found various ways to assuage their anxiety: one of them was poetry, which they carved into the station's wooden walls. Here Marlon Hom discusses these poems, as well as their impact on the Chinese-American community, China, and the literature written in the years and decades afterward.
TWO VOICES: Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld on Dahlia Ravikovitch
April 13, 2010
Dahlia Ravikovitch was more than Israel's leading female poet: she was also an outspoken activist who challenged Israel to forge its identity and once aided Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish when he was under house arrest. Hear acclaimed translators Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld talk about this enigmatic figure, the challenges posed by the Hebrew language, and when happens when two people work on the same book.
TWO VOICE: Peter Bush on La Celestina
April 6, 2010
What came before Don Quixote? Give yourself five points if you said La Celestina. A Spanish Romeo and Juliet, Celestina was published in 1499 and became Spain's first-ever bestseller, paving the way for everything from Don Quixote to the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, and beyond. Grab a glass of wine and hear Peter Bush read from his acclaimed new translation and talk about why this book is a cornerstone of Spanish literature.
TWO VOICES: Alison Anderson on JMG Le Clezio
March 11, 2010
Literary translation is often a job with little renown and few financial rewards, but translator Alison Anderson managed to strike it big twice in 2008: the French author JMG Le Clezio, whose novels Anderson has translated, received the Nobel Prize for literature, and Muriel Barbery's novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog became a national bestseller. Here Anderson talks about the pleasures and the pains of becoming a hot commodity and the books behind these literary celebrities.
TWO VOICES: Susan Bernofsky on Robert Walser
February 9, 2010
In 1993 when Susan Bernofsky published her first book-length translation of Robert Walser, the author was little-known in English and virtually unread in the United States. By 2009, when Bernofsky’s translation of The Tanners signified that all of Walser’s novels were available in English for the first time, the release of that book was greeted with praise from publications as diverse as BookForum, Time Out New York, and the Los Angeles Times. The rise of Walser in translation over the past two decades has been nothing short of stunning, and it is thanks in no small part to a group of fine translators, of whom Bernofsky has played a leading roll.
TWO VOICES: Breon Mitchell on The Tin Drum
November 10, 2009
Why retranslate a classic author? And if you're going to do it, how do you do it right? Breon Mitchell talks about his translation of Günter Grass's masterpiece, The Tin Drum.
TWO VOICES: Natasha Wimmer on Roberto Bolano
October 10, 2009
Hear Natasha Wimmer, translator of the blockbuster novels The Savage Detectives and 2666, discuss Roberto Bolano and his two major novels. She also reads her translation-in-progress of Bolano's unpublished essay collection Entre parentesis (Between Parentheses) and discusses Bolano's unpublished manuscripts.
Lit&Lunch with Karen Emmerich on Greek Literature
May 5, 2009
Hear Karen Emmerich discuss and read from her translations of four major Greek writers—Amanda Michalopoulou, Eleni Vakalo, Ersi Sotiropoulos, and Miltos Sachtouris—as part of the Center for the Art of Translation's Lit&Lunch series.
Two Voices with Fady Joudah on Mahmoud Darwish
March 10, 2009
In this Two Voices event recording, hear acclaimed poet and translator Fady Joudah read from The Butterfly’s Burden, his award-winning translation of three books from this major Arabic poet, as well as several poems of his own. Among Darwish’s works, Joudah reads “I Have the Wisdom of One Condemned to Death” and “Who Am I Without Exile,” and he offers important context for these works by reading his own poetry. In between readings he discusses the status of Arabic poetry in English translation, building a case that there has to be a “particular pile of dead Arabs” for Arab writers to gain notice.
Lit&Lunch With Novelist Yoko Tawada
February 10, 2009
Hear Yoko Tawada speak about The Naked Eye, translation, writing in multiple languages, and living in new cultures as part of the Center for the Art of Translation's Lit&Lunch series.
Two Voices with Translator Katherine Silver on Horacio Castellanos Moya
October 7, 2008
Compared to Roberto Bolaño and the great Austrian novelist Thomas Bernhard, Horacio Castellanos Moya has attracted a devoted following in English with his first translated novel, Senselessness, about an embattled, displaced journalist charged with editing a 1,100-page report on the military’s massacre of Guatemala’s indigenous people. In this Two Voices event audio, hear translator Katherine Silver explain how this testimony, recounted in the broken Spanish of the Cakchiquel people, “infects” the narrators own colonial Spanish. She further explains how both languages proceed to subversively “infect” her own English translation
Lit&Lunch with Edith Grossman on Nobel Prize Winner Mario Vargas Llosa and Others
March 11, 2008
We were pleased to welcome the acclaimed translator of Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, Edith Grossman, to the Center for the Art of Translation’s Lit&Lunch series. In this podcast of the event she, named by Harold Bloom the Glenn Gould of translation, discusses both the art and the business of translation, and reads from her translations of authors Mario Vargas Llosa and Antonio Muñoz Molina.