Valentine Goby

I bite my tongue. Hanoi is cautious, well mannered. Every foreigner remains a foreigner, and we are no exception. I wait; asking Chi Dung the question right now would be too brusque. I wait for the right moment. Despite my now-fluent Vietnamese, I force myself into silence.
from Hanoi, Silences, translated from the French by Christine Buckley
Recommended
Post-History by Vilem Flussertranslated by Rodrigo Maltez NovaesUnivocal Publishing (2013)


Is there any room left for freedom in a programmed world? This is the essential question that Vilém Flusser continually asks in Post-History. Written initially as a series of lectures to be delivered at universities in Brazil, Israel, and France, it was subsequently developed as a book and published for the first time in Brazil in 1983. This, the first English translation of Post-History, finally brings to an Anglophone readership Flusser’s first critique of apparatus as the aesthetic, ethical and epistemological model of present times.

DM

Recommended

Post-History by Vilem Flusser
translated by Rodrigo Maltez Novaes
Univocal Publishing (2013)

Is there any room left for freedom in a programmed world? This is the essential question that Vilém Flusser continually asks in Post-History. Written initially as a series of lectures to be delivered at universities in Brazil, Israel, and France, it was subsequently developed as a book and published for the first time in Brazil in 1983. This, the first English translation of Post-History, finally brings to an Anglophone readership Flusser’s first critique of apparatus as the aesthetic, ethical and epistemological model of present times.

DM

Asymptote’s Pushcart Nominations 2012

We are proud to nominate the following pieces for the Pushcart prize:

POETRY

'when you have the benefit of hindsight' by Lutz Seiler
translated from the German by Alexander Booth

'Ghazal' by Bidel Dehlavi
translated from the Persian by Rebecca Gould

NONFICTION

'The Generosity of a Matchstick' by Reif Larsen

'Transparency' by Marek Bieńczyk
translated from the Polish by Benjamin Paloff

'The Mausoleum of Lovers' by Hervé Guibert
translated from the French by Nathanaël

FICTION

'Natura Morta: A Roman Novella' by Josef Winkler
translated from the German by Adrian West

We are grateful to all our wonderful contributors, and to these in particular we offer our congratulations as well.

AM


For the road, I recommend you grab a bottle of Egils Appelsín, the classic orange soda that bears the name of Egill Skallagrímsson, one of the most beloved characters of the sagas. Egil’s Saga is full of poetry, loss, sorrow, feasts and fighting so it is no wonder that the soda factory, which also produces beer, earned its hundred years of fame under the title ‘The Egill Skallagrimsson Aleworks’. We can’t know exactly what the Vikings drank back in the day, but we do know that Egill attended his first drinking party at the age of three and later went on to puke in people’s faces and poke out their eyes.

Find more of Sigurbjörg Thrastardóttir’s essay on the Icelandic Sagas only at Asymptote.
PC High-res

For the road, I recommend you grab a bottle of Egils Appelsín, the classic orange soda that bears the name of Egill Skallagrímsson, one of the most beloved characters of the sagas. Egil’s Saga is full of poetry, loss, sorrow, feasts and fighting so it is no wonder that the soda factory, which also produces beer, earned its hundred years of fame under the title ‘The Egill Skallagrimsson Aleworks’. We can’t know exactly what the Vikings drank back in the day, but we do know that Egill attended his first drinking party at the age of three and later went on to puke in people’s faces and poke out their eyes.

Find more of Sigurbjörg Thrastardóttir’s essay on the Icelandic Sagas only at Asymptote.

PC


The spirit gave them a five-digit number that started with a three. In Magdeburg the numbers starting with three were the Stasi numbers. This was such a triumph for Anne. She had abilities the GDR wasn’t prepared for! She was jubilant. And so she thought, although death was still on her mind, that she would succeed in escaping. Another life was waiting for her, a life without shackles. She just had to make her move.

Read more of Sarah Khan’s entrancing and weird Ghosts of Berlin – Séance with the Stasi, translated from the German by Jane Yager, published in Asymptote.
Artwork is by guest artist June Glasson.
PC High-res

The spirit gave them a five-digit number that started with a three. In Magdeburg the numbers starting with three were the Stasi numbers. This was such a triumph for Anne. She had abilities the GDR wasn’t prepared for! She was jubilant. And so she thought, although death was still on her mind, that she would succeed in escaping. Another life was waiting for her, a life without shackles. She just had to make her move.


Read more of Sarah Khan’s entrancing and weird Ghosts of Berlin – Séance with the Stasi, translated from the German by Jane Yager, published in Asymptote.

Artwork is by guest artist June Glasson.

PC


All you need is some good sun and a tiny hole the size of a pin in order to draw an exact image of the world on the opposite wall, inverted but intact: a singular landscape well-lit, the colors, the shadows, the clouds, the ripples on the water, the flight of birds, all seen under a nicely brilliant sun.

Read a longer excerpt from Suzanne Doppelt’s mesmeric Lazy Suzy, on art, photography and the problems of ‘borrowed light’ at Asymptote.
The images are by Suzanne Doppelt. The translation from French is by Cole Swensen.
PC High-res

All you need is some good sun and a tiny hole the size of a pin in order to draw an exact image of the world on the opposite wall, inverted but intact: a singular landscape well-lit, the colors, the shadows, the clouds, the ripples on the water, the flight of birds, all seen under a nicely brilliant sun.


Read a longer excerpt from Suzanne Doppelt’s mesmeric Lazy Suzy, on art, photography and the problems of ‘borrowed light’ at Asymptote.

The images are by Suzanne Doppelt. The translation from French is by Cole Swensen.

PC


A banquet speech upon the presentation of the Nobel Prize, I take it, usually consists of pleasant and polite platitudes. In his extremely brief banquet speech, however, Coetzee makes two striking statements. Those statements are made by Coetzee himself, not by his character Elizabeth Costello. We are freed from any discussion about what statements by characters in his novels say about the ideas of the author himself, or about the authority which the reader must attribute to the narrator. We are freed, for the moment, of that horrible, ever-recurring question: does he really mean this?

—Arnon Grunberg on Coetzee, in his essay ‘A Door Remains a Door,’ translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, which you can read at Asymptote
PC High-res

A banquet speech upon the presentation of the Nobel Prize, I take it, usually consists of pleasant and polite platitudes. In his extremely brief banquet speech, however, Coetzee makes two striking statements. Those statements are made by Coetzee himself, not by his character Elizabeth Costello. We are freed from any discussion about what statements by characters in his novels say about the ideas of the author himself, or about the authority which the reader must attribute to the narrator. We are freed, for the moment, of that horrible, ever-recurring question: does he really mean this?


Arnon Grunberg on Coetzee, in his essay ‘A Door Remains a Door,’ translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett, which you can read at Asymptote

PC

Recommended
Dissonance, if you are interested by Rosmarie WaldropThe University of Alabama Press (2005)
About the book (from the publisher’s website):

Incisive essays on modern poetry and translation by a noted poet, translator, and critic.
As an immigrant to the United States from Germany, Rosmarie Waldrop has wrestled with the problems of language posed by the discrepancies between her native and adopted tongues, and the problems of translating from one to the other. Those discrepancies and disjunctions, instead of posing problems to be overcome, have become for Waldrop a generative force and the very foundation of her interests as a critic and poet.In this comprehensive collection of her essays, Waldrop addresses considerations central to her life’s work: typical genres and ways of countering the conventions of genre; how concrete poets have made syntax spatial rather than grammatical; and the move away from metaphor in poetry toward contiguity and metonymy. Three essays on translation struggle with the sources and targets of translation, of the degree of strangeness or foreignness a translator should allow into any English translation. Finally, other essays examine the two-way traffic between reading and writing, and Waldrop’s notion of reading as experience.

AM

Recommended

Dissonance, if you are interested by Rosmarie Waldrop
The University of Alabama Press (2005)

About the book (from the publisher’s website):

Incisive essays on modern poetry and translation by a noted poet, translator, and critic.

As an immigrant to the United States from Germany, Rosmarie Waldrop has wrestled with the problems of language posed by the discrepancies between her native and adopted tongues, and the problems of translating from one to the other. Those discrepancies and disjunctions, instead of posing problems to be overcome, have become for Waldrop a generative force and the very foundation of her interests as a critic and poet.

In this comprehensive collection of her essays, Waldrop addresses considerations central to her life’s work: typical genres and ways of countering the conventions of genre; how concrete poets have made syntax spatial rather than grammatical; and the move away from metaphor in poetry toward contiguity and metonymy. Three essays on translation struggle with the sources and targets of translation, of the degree of strangeness or foreignness a translator should allow into any English translation. Finally, other essays examine the two-way traffic between reading and writing, and Waldrop’s notion of reading as experience.

AM


Your language, Mother, is my language. I write inspired by your poetic view of the world and by the rituals you invent, so strange yet beautiful, mesmerizing. I write with your screams in mind. I scream today to honor your screams. To pin them down. To give them a stage. To let them into books, into literature. That is also one of my ambitions: To make your screams an image of Morocco, your name a symbol of Moroccan women. Mother, I can do all that for you. It is my only wealth. My gift. My duty.

from Abdellah Taïa’s Homosexuality Explained To My Mother
FD

Your language, Mother, is my language. I write inspired by your poetic view of the world and by the rituals you invent, so strange yet beautiful, mesmerizing. I write with your screams in mind. I scream today to honor your screams. To pin them down. To give them a stage. To let them into books, into literature. That is also one of my ambitions: To make your screams an image of Morocco, your name a symbol of Moroccan women. Mother, I can do all that for you. It is my only wealth. My gift. My duty.


FD