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Spring 2018 Reading List and Beyond: 8 Forthcoming Books in Translation

Moss & Silver by Jure Detela, translated from Slovenian by Raymond Miller and Tatjana Jamnik

Ugly Duckling Presse, Available March 1, 2018

Moss & Silver is the first English-language translation of the Slovene avant-garde poet, mystic, environmental activist, critic, and art historian Jure Detela. Written in the 1980s as a critique against anthropomorphism, his mystical messages anticipate the multitude of crises experienced in twenty-first-century life. A brilliant thinker and a moving writer, Detela will be deeply important for those interested in genealogies of eco-poetry and histories of critiquing the position of the human.

The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov, translated from Uzbek by Donald Rayfield

Tilted Axis Press, Available March 1, 2018

Hamid Ismailov’s novel about a group of prisoners of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, awaiting execution in the Great Terror of 1938, explores the space, history, and language of what was once Turkestan. On these pages one reads memories and stories of Turkestan’s nineteenth-century decadence, the period of Jadidism in the early twentieth-century, and Stalin’s regime. The text is interspersed with the poems of Cho‘lpon, Central Asia’s most prominent modern poet, and traditional Turko-Iranian poetry of the courts. Here is a work of literature that brings exposure not only to an underrepresented and under-translated language, but also to its historical literary idols and core tenants.

Pearls on a Branch: Tales From the Arab World Told by Women by Najla Jraissaty Khoury, translated from Arabic by Inea Bushnaq

Archipelago Books, Available March 6, 2018

Najla Jraissaty Khoury traveled across Lebanon during a civil war with a theater troupe to perform adaptations of stories for people in shelters, refugee camps, and isolated villages. Through and for this project, she collected hundreds of tales from women, who have a distinctly different oral tradition from men in the Levant. In this collection, thirty women’s tales appear in translation for the first time, forming an archive of cultural history that specifically decenters the masculine epic, which has for so long dominated discourse surrounding oral traditions.

The Chandelier by Clarice Lispector, translated from Portuguese by Magdalena Edwards and Benjamin Moser

New Directions, Available March 27, 2018

2018 will be a big year for Clarice Lispector, the legendary Brazilian writer of Água VivaThe Hour of the Star, and The Passion According to G. H. While New Directions published her complete stories in 2015, that edition will be reissued in paperback with three additional previously unpublished and untranslated stories in June. If you just can’t wait until June (and I’m not sure if I can), you might be interested in The Chandelier, Lispector’s second novel, also never-before-published in English translation.

Screwball by Anne Kawala, translated from French by Kit Schluter

Canarium, Available April 2018

Anne Kawala, a French experimental poet and artist whose lyrics seem to traverse whole continents, languages, and the contents of your kitchen cupboards, knows how to play with words so they ring. Screwball will screw with you, take you on a Hummer to melting ice caps, and might just leave you there hanging.

Scardanelli by Friederike Mayröcker, translated from German by Jonathan Larson

The Song Cave, Available 2018

You might have come across some of Jonathan Larson’s translations of Mayröcker’s Scardanelli in Two Lines 27. If you, like me, fell completely in love with her wild and mysterious poetics, look out for her complete collection of poems written through and from the perspective of one of Germany’s most prized Romanticists, Friedrich Hölderlin. The Song Cave has been on a roll lately, publishing Emily Skillings’s Fort Not, Rachel B. Glaser’s HAIRDO, and the selected writings of Subcomandante Marcos, and it seems this won’t stop anytime soon.

Baghdad, Adieu: Selected Poems of Memory and Exile by Salah Al Hamdani, translated from French and Arabic by Sonia Alland

University of Chicago Press, Available June 2018

Salah Al Hamdani, an Iraqi poet and former political prisoner of Saddam Hussein, is best known for his 2003 poem “Baghdad, Mon Amour” and his writings against the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq. He has been writing in exile from Paris, France, for the past four decades, where his French and Arabic poems have explored his relationship to his homeland. This new collection spans thirty-five years of his work, including poems from his first volume in Arabic, Memory of Embers, to his latest French volume, For You I Dream, and offers English readers the first comprehensive compilation of his work and career to date.

Poso Wells by Gabriela Alemán, translated from Spanish by Dick Cluster

City Lights Books, Available July 15, 2018

A noir, feminist eco-thriller, where politicians and land speculators meet their makers and a journalist, out to cover a string of disappearances, uncovers a multinational plot to devastate a cloud forest—I don’t usually read thrillers, but this just sounds bonkers. I expect Gabriela Alemán’s newest book to be both timely and humorous, a call to action as well as a darned good time.