Friday, March 25, 2005

Translation Workshop in Chicago

The Goethe-Institut Chicago, a branch of the German federal agency promoting German culture world-wide, is very active in furthering literary translation and working with translators in the U.S. Since 1996, the Institut has been awarding the annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for literary translations from German to English (past recipients include Breon Mitchell, Anthea Bell, and Joel Agee).

They also offer one-day translation workshops for experienced and beginning translators on a regular basis. The next one, on May 10, is dedicated to the literature of Thomas Mann (on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death). It will be conducted by John E. Woods and Michael Heim, two of the most prominent translators of German literature.

I wish I could go! Alas, I'm giving two finals that day. Considering how many American translators work in an academic environment, perhaps the organizers could hold one of the next workshops on a weekend day or another date that's more accommodating to teachers and students?


Thursday, March 24, 2005

(Sort of) New Journal

This journal is actually a little older than our own Passport, but I only heard about it a few weeks ago. Absinthe: New European Writing is a multi-genre print journal published twice a year. Three issues are available so far. Absinthe tries to focus on younger and established authors whose work isn't well known in the U.S. I am intrigued by the special section they're planning for a future issue: poetry from Luxemburg. Less than half a million people, three official languages--there's got to be some great stuff there.


New Biography

Out from the University of Wisconsin Press: Jonathan Cohen's A Pan-American Life: Selected Poetry and Prose of Muna Lee. Lee (1895-1965) was a poet, translator, feminist, wife of the first elected governor of Puerto Rico, and worked for the U.S. State Department as a specialist for Latin American cultural affairs. Cohen is a poet, essayist, and translator of Latin American poetry.


New Books, New Press

It's unusual for an American publisher to focus on books in translation. There are all kinds of concerns: too risky, there's not much money to be made, readers, critics, and bookstores don't care, etc. Russell Valentino is doing it anyway. The new press is called Autumn Hill Books, and their first release is a novel by Bosnian writer Igor Stiks, translated by Valentino and Tomislav Kuzmanovic. A Castle in Romania will be followed by Vassilis Alexakis' Foreign Words (translated from French by Alyson Waters) and The Silence of the Sufi by Sabit Madaliev (translated from Russian by Russell Valentino). Being based in Iowa City, Autumn Hill Books has links to the University of Iowa.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Passport Winter 2005 Issue

The second issue of Passport is up! The online journal offers literary translations of poems by Israel Emiot and Théophile Gautier, fiction by José Luis Peixoto, and non-fiction by Kemal Kurt.

We're also proud to feature poet, translator, professor, and general inspiration Mohja Kahf with translations of three poems by Nizar Kabbani as well as two of her own poems on the subject of translation.

Passport publishes new, underrepresented, international authors in English translation. We try to maintain a balance of work by experienced and new translators. In addition to showcasing the work of translators, the journal also serves as a forum for the discussion of the art of literary translation.

We are currently reading for No. 3 and are accepting submissions for No. 4 until October 15.

The Editors