The door’s always opening, the darkness licks like a fawning dog, the light from the draft bites back, after which the dark retreats and within, packed, noisy, clippings from the fashion mags play dumb. Just after midnight, as in a French novel, the door opens (again), and a boy/girl glances at his/her watch, exits alone. This is how the poem begins. This is how the poem began...
We say that an author is ‘original’ when we cannot trace the hidden...– Paul Valéry
Sometimes it’s also the mission of literature to ask after the fate of...– Bohumil Hrabal, Pirouettes on a Postage Stamp (translated by David Short) LYL
Chan Chu once, rarely for him, flew into a fit of temper and flung his sandal at a monk just entering his room for reasons that were unbeknownst to him, whereupon the latter bowed, said thank you, and retired. “Where is he going?” Chan Chu wondered to himself and shouted out, “Come back here!” The monk returned directly. When he was again standing in the doorway to ...
This little book has cost me more trouble than any other I have composed. The...– Vladimir Nabokov on the difficulties of translating a Russian biography of Gogol into English in a letter to James Laughlin in 1943 (Selected Letters 1940-1977, 1990) KL
When a writer resorts to a language other than his mother tongue, he does so...– Joseph Brodsky in his tribute to WH Auden, from Less Than One: Selected Essays (1987) KL
[T]ranslation is a form of writing, or more exactly of rewriting, and the two...– from a paper by Paul St-Pierre titled ‘Translation as Writing Across Languages: Samuel Beckett and Fakir Mohan Senapati’ KL
Does Your Language Shape How You Think? →
Excerpt: “Some 50 years ago, the renowned linguist Roman Jakobson pointed out a crucial fact about differences between languages in a pithy maxim: “Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.” This maxim offers us the key to unlocking the real force of the mother tongue: if different languages influence our minds in different ways, this is not...
21 More Rules for Translators: Susan Bernofsky &... →
Excerpts: from Susan Bernofsky: 1. Always be a writer while you are translating, and every time you forget, bring yourself back to it. 2. The most important thing about the structure of a sentence is the order in which the bits of information arrive. 3. If the original text is not well-written, you are doomed; feel free to despair. 4. If the original is well-written, make sure you ...
What you translate has to come out of you; you have to be able to encompass it....– Michael Hofmann, from the preface to Ashes for Breakfast by Durs Grunbein AM
Call for poems for the next Asymptote
For the special feature section of the upcoming issue, we invite submissions of English-language original poetry that are retellings or appropriations, those poems that are written after Cavafy, after John Donne etc. Full details at: http://asymptotejournal.com/submit.php AEL
“Hi, you’ve reached New York. New York can’t answer right now but it’s NOT because New York is sleeping, because New York never sleeps. New York is too busy living life as it should be lived. New York is sitting in a zooming yellow taxi and watching Manhattan glow in the sunrise. New York is floating in the air after having fired off a perfect jumpshot on the basketball court on West 4th Street....