Front Cover by John Ashbery
COLLAGE AND DIGITIZED PRINT
16 1/2" X 16 1/2"
Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New YorkOrder a copy now
Front Cover by John Ashbery
COLLAGE AND DIGITIZED PRINT
16 1/2" X 16 1/2"
Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New YorkOrder a copy now
YOU MUST HAVE SEEN THEM by now. All those beautiful brains, painted in psychedelic colors. As if some kid wearing a “better living through chemistry” T-shirt had recently acquired a neuroscience fetish. Apparently they can map just about anything these days, so we shouldn’t be surprised that their latest favorite target is creativity. Guess what they’ve found? A truly major discovery, upsetting the old apple cart that put all the art in our right hemisphere and all logos and language in our left. Now we must believe, according to a recent post on a Scientific American blog, that creative “cognition results from the dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks.” Are you as underwhelmed as I am?
Thing is, we creative types may be as silly as the scientists on this one. Since the Romantic era, we’ve too often tended to imagine our most beautiful minds as one-off nonpareils, collecting their creations in anthologies and museums like Lombroso did the crania of his “criminoloids.” Einstein’s posthumous roadtrip in a mason jar from Princeton to Kansas, where for a time his pickled brain would have William Burroughs for a neighbor, really ought to have been the reductio ad absurdum of this sort of magical thinking. As Brecht’s Galileo remarks, on the subject of heroes: “Pity the land that needs them.”
So in this final issue of our fifty-fourth year, we explore the origin of true genius and creativity. Surprise, surprise: we too believe that “large-scale networks” are necessary, and that the work comes from a dynamic involving distributed and diverse swaths of consciousness, individual and collective. To argue our case, we offer you two writers as prima facie evidence. John Ashbery and Italo Calvino are heroic figures to any and all who’ve paid serious attention to creativity in the literary arts over the past half century. And if we come to understand anything about these two writerly lives, we’ll likely learn as much as anyone ever did from all those slices of Einsteinian cerebellum.
Here’s what the evidence shows. It’s simple, actually: writers are readers, critics, editors, and translators, not simply authors. In a rich and comprehensive retrospective, Rosanne Wasserman and Eugene Richie detail the lifelong work of Ashbery as translator, and, in so doing, build a convincing case for the inseparability of translation from creative writing. In recounting his editorial apprenticeship under the watchful eye of Italo Calvino, Guido Davico Bonino also demonstrates the breadth and depth of the great Italian fabulist’s attention to the literary world, as well as the care Calvino took in reshaping it. To dedicate one’s life to translating, or to editing, in short, cannot be seen as a subsidiary or sideshow activity: as main as any event, it may even make the whole thing happen. In this issue, we also bring to our readers unpublished work by both Ashbery and Calvino, the pudding that proves what the essays point to. We need say no more.
Except, of course, that there is more, much more. For instance, the final installment of multipart pieces from Gary Amdahl and Elizabeth Young, two of our favorite authors. In addition to two by Ashbery, we’ve also got a slew of other translations for you, writers—Eugene Dubnov, Federico Falco, Yehudit Heller, Geneviève Piron, Saeb, Anna Lidia Vega Serova—from across the globe. And, of course, we bring it home as well: two stunning pieces, a poem by Adrian C. Louis and an essay by Martín Espada, remind us that for many the Red Sox, in every essential and ultimately unforeseeable way, may simply be life itself.
“Dynamic interactions. . . operating in large-scale networks?” Indeed.
Introduction, by Jim Hicks
Kenmore Square, 1968,
a poem by Adrian C. Louis
The Doer of Things We Dreamed of Doing:
Big Papi and the Lost Year of 2012,
an essay by Martín Espada
Anna Grace, a poem by Rebecca Cook
"All the Things One Wants": John Ashbery's
French Translations, an essay by Rosanne Wasserman
and Eugene Richie
I will look at. . ., a poem by Pascalle Monnier,
translated from French by John Ashbery
From Real Location and Theatre, poems by Yves Bonnefoy,
translated from French by John Ashbery
The Einaudi Primer, an essay by Guido Davico Bonino,
translated from Italian by Yvonne Freccero
Notes for a Book Series on Moral Investigation,
an essay by Italo Calvino, translated from Italian by Jim Hicks
Mercies, a poem by Melanie McCabe
Mourning Pictures and Magic Glasses, Part Two,
an essay by Elizabeth Young
Meat, a story by Pete Duval
October, a poem by Andres Rojas
Mercy, a story by Anna Lidia Vega Serova,
translated from Spanish by Jacqueline Loss
After the Witch, a poem by Amy Woolard
That Delicious Word, a poem by Lynn Domina
The Red Veil, a story by Violet Kupersmith
The Engineers, a story by Rebecca Rukeyser
Adolescence, a poem by Yehudit Heller,
translated from Hebrew by Sabina Murray with the poet
House of Footfalls, a poem by Alice B. Fogel
San Luis el Brujo, Part Three, a story by Gary Amdahl
The Adventures of Mrs. Ema, a story by Federico Falco,
translated from Spanish by Sarah Viren
Monday, a poem by Benny Anderson,
translated by Michael Goldman
House of Footfalls, a poem by Alice B. Fogel
To You Who Lost Your Father, and The Dead
Man Returns Disguised as a Tour Guide to an
Improvised Reenactment of His Own Demise,
poems by Sebastian Matthews
The Fusiform Face Area, a story by Eugene Dubnov,
translated from Russian by Justin Lumley and the author
Horseshoe Crabs and the Sargasso Sea,
an essay by Paul R. Hundt
Lust, at your Age, a poem by Kurt Heinzelman
Moscow 2013: Reveries of a Solitary Walker, an essay by
Geneviève Piron, translated from French by Jay Milton
Notes on Contributors
GARY AMDAHL is the author of Visigoth (stories) and I Am Death (novellas) and The Intimidator Still Lives in Our Hearts (stories). A novel, Across My Big Brass Bed, will be published in January 2014 by Artistically Declined Press. Other novels and collections will follow each January thereafter, making seven volumes in the Amdahl Library Project. His poetry, translated and original, is being published by Spolia in Berlin.
BENNY ANDERSEN is the foremost living poet and lyricist in Denmark. First published in 1960, he has produced 20 volumes of poetry along with numerous records, stories, screenplays, and children’s books. Now 83, he continues to write and to perform to sold-out audiences in Denmark. He lives near Copenhagen.
JOHN ASHBERY was born in Rochester, NY, in 1927. His many collections of poetry include Quick Question (2012); Planisphere (2009); and Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems (2007), which was awarded the 2008 International Griffin Poetry Prize. The Library of America published the first volume of his collected poems in 2008. The winner of many prizes and awards, he has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and was a MacArthur Fellow from 1985 to 1990; most recently, he received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation (2011) and a National Humanities Medal, presented by President Barak Obama at the White House (2012). His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He lives in New York.
GUIDO DAVICO BONINO teaches the history of theater at the University of Torino. He worked for the Italian publisher Einaudi and then as theater critic for Torino’s La Stampa. He has collaborated with the Bottega Teatrale di Firenze, directed the Teatro Stabile di Torino, and produced radio and television programs for the national network, RAI. He has also directed the Asti and Spoleto Festivals as well as the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris.
YVES BONNEFOY, often called France’s greatest living poet, was born in Tours in 1923. Among his nine major collections of verse are Du mouvement et de l’immobilité de Douve (1953), which contains “The Real Location of the Stag” and “Theater,” and most recently La Longue Chaine de l’ancre (2008) and L’Heure présente (2011). He has published essays on art and literature, as well as translations of such authors as Shakespeare, Keats, Leopardi, and Yeats. At the Collège de France, he was Professor of Comparative Poetics, and he has taught at other universities in France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States. His honors include the Grand Prix National de la Poésie (1993), the European Prize for Poetry (2006), the Kafka Prize (2007), the Griffin Lifetime Recognition Award (2011), and most recently the Guadalajara Book Fair Prize (2013). He lives in Paris.
ITALO CALVINO, when he died in 1985, was Italy’s most widely translated author. He worked for the Italian publisher Einaudi during much of his writerly life.
REBECCA COOK writes poetry and prose and has published in many literary journals, including New England Review, Northwest Review, Pank, Plume, and Grist. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she was a Bread Loaf Scholar in Fiction in 2009. Her chapbook of poems is The Terrible Baby, available from Dancing Girl Press. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Tennessee.
LYNN DOMINA is the author of two collections of poems, Corporal Works and Framed in Silence, and the editor of a collection of essays, Poets on the Psalms. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Southern Review, Arts & Letters, Gettysburg Review, Paterson Literary Review, and many other periodicals. She currently lives in the western Catskill region of New York.
EUGENE DUBNOV was born in Tallinn and educated at Moscow and London Universities. He taught English Literature and was Writer-in-Residence at Carmel College, Oxfordshire, and a Wingate Scholar in London. Two collections of his poems in Russian came out in London; his verse and prose in English translation and written in English has appeared in periodicals the world over, as well as in a number of European and North American anthologies; nine of his short stories have been broadcast on the BBC. A collection of his poems in English, translated by Anne Stevenson with the author, will be published by Shoestring Press, UK, in autumn 2013.
PETE DUVAL is the author of Rear View: Stories. He teaches in Spalding University’s brief-residency M.F.A. program and lives in Philadelphia.
MARTÍN ESPADA has published more than 15 books as a poet, essayist, editor, and translator. His latest collection of poems, The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2011), received the Milt Kessler Award, a Massachusetts Book Award, and an International Latino Book Award. A previous book of poems, The Republic of Poetry (Norton, 2006), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (South End Press, 1998), has been banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. The recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Espada is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
FEDERICO FALCO was born in General Cabrera, a small village in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. He has published three books of short stories, one book of poems, and a novella. He has an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish from NYU and has participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He was selected by Granta as one of the best Spanish-language writers under the age of 35. He currently lives in Buenos Aires, where he teaches a writing workshop at the Tomás Eloy Martínez Foundation.
ALICE B. FOGEL's third collection, Be That Empty, was a national poetry bestseller. She is also the author of Strange Terrain, a guide for appreciating poetry without “getting” it. A five-time Pushcart nominee and an NEA fellowship recipient, her poems appear in Best American Poetry, Robert Hass’s Poet’s Choice, Spillway, Hotel Amerika, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere.
YVONNE FRECCERO was born and raised in England, and worked throughout Europe and the Middle East for British Passport Control before coming to the United States, where she pursued a career in academic administration. She is the author of numerous translations, including Rene Girard’s Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965), The Scapegoat (1986), and JOB the Victim of His People (1987) from French; and GianPaolo Biasin’s The Smile of the Gods from Italian. Her most recent translation is The Wind in My Hair (2007), the memoir of a Palestinian woman, Salwa Salem.
By translating a Danish copy of Catcher in the Rye word for word, MICHAEL GOLDMAN taught himself Danish over 25 years ago to help him win the heart of a lovely Danish girl — and they have been married ever since. In addition to translating poetry, Michael is a carpenter/contractor and jazz clarinetist. He lives in Florence, MA.
KURT HEINZELMAN's fourth book of poetry, Intimacies & Other Devices, is forthcoming from Pinyon Publishing; his translation of Jean Follain’s volume Territoires was published in 2012 by Host Publications under the title Demarcations. He is Editor-at-Large for Bat City Review and Editor-in-Chief of Texas Studies in Literature and Language (TSLL).
YEHUDIT BEN-ZVI HELLER, a poet and translator, was born and raised in Israel. Her original poetry and translations have appeared in a number of Israeli and American literary reviews. She has taught literature at the University of Massachusetts and Hebrew at Smith College. Her research focuses on the expressions of exile and displacement in the contemporary imagination, translation and the experience of the foreign, and Bible as literature. Heller is currently a lecturer and an academic advisor in the Commonwealth Honors College and the Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has released three volumes of poetry in Hebrew. A selection of her poems, in translation, appears in A Sea of Voices — New Perspective on Israel Through Women’s Poetry, an anthology edited by Marjorie Agosin, August 2008.
VIOLET KUPERSMITH was born in rural Pennsylvania in 1989. Her father is an American and her mother is a Vietnamese boat refugee. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2011 she spent a year in the Mekong Delta on a Fulbright Fellowship, teaching English and researching local folklore. Her first book, The Frangipani Hotel, a collection of modern Vietnamese ghost stories, will be published in May 2014. She is working on her first novel.
PAUL R. HUNDT is a retired corporate lawyer who splits his time between Southampton and Larchmont, New York. His work has appeared in Ducts.org, Notre Dame Magazine, Oxford Magazine, and the Palo Alto Review. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, bird watching, and saltwater fishing.
JACQUELINE LOSS is an associate professor of Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her publications include Dreaming in Russian: The Cuban Soviet Imaginary (University of Texas Press, 2013), Cosmopolitanisms and Latin America: Against the Destiny of Place (Palgrave, 2005), and the co-edited volumes Caviar with Rum: Cuba-USSR and the Post-Soviet Experience (Palgrave, 2012) and New Short Fiction from Cuba (Northwestern University Press, 2007), among numerous articles and translations.
A half-breed Indian, ADRIAN C. LOUIS was born and raised in northern Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. From 1984 to 1997, Louis taught at Oglala Lakota College and is currently a Professor of English in the Minnesota state university system. His new book of poems is Savage Sunsets.
JUSTIN LUMLEY studied Russian at the University of London, where he first met Eugene Dubnov while staging Chekhov in the original. He has been an ESOL teacher in four countries, proofreader and editor in the voluntary sector. Based in London, he has been working with Eugene since 2004.
SEBASTIAN MATTHEWS is the author of two books of poetry and a memoir. He serves on the faculty of Queens University Low-Residency MFA. Matthews is currently at work on a novel.
MELANIE MCCABE is a high school English and creative writing teacher in Arlington, Virginia. Her first book of poetry, History of the Body, will be published by WordTech Communications in September 2012. Her work has appeared on Poetry Daily, as well as in Best New Poets 2010, Georgia Review, Massachusetts Review, Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, and numerous other journals. Work is forthcoming in Bellingham Review and Alaska Quarterly Review.
JAY MILTON is a US-based translator who has lived, among other places, in Argentina, France, Italy, and Switzerland. He has never been to Moscow.
PASCALLE MONNIER was born in 1958 in Bordeaux, France, studied medieval and modern history, and now lives with her husband and son in Paris. She has published two books of poems, Bayart (1995) and Aviso (2004), with POL. An English edition of Bayart, translated by Cole Swenson, was published in 2001 by Black Square Editions. Her poems and articles have appeared in Banana Split, Action poétique, Les Lettres françaises, and La Métaphore, and she has collaborated with visual and theater artists.
SABINA MURRAY is the author of three novels and two short-story collections, including the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning The Caprices. Her work is included in The Norton Anthology. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, and Radcliffe Institute, and is on the fiction faculty of the MFA Program at UMass Amherst. She wrote the script for Beautiful Country, a Golden Bear contender, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Her most recent book is Tales of the New World.
GENEVIÈVE PIRON received her PhD in Slavic Studies from the University of Geneva after having obtained a Diploma of Translation from ETI (Graduate Department of Translation and Interpretation, Geneva). She helped develop a variety of intercultural projects, and worked as a translator and interpreter in Russia for the International Committee of the Red Cross (during the first Chechnya war). She teaches French and Translation at the Smith College Study Abroad Program in Geneva of which she is also Associate Director. Her main academic field is intellectual history. She is presently working on a Literary Encyclopedia of Soviet Everyday Life (supported by the Swiss National Fund), in collaboration with other art and literature historians.
EUGENE RICHIE’s books of poems include Island Light (1998) and Moiré (1989), as well as two collaborations with Rosanne Wasserman: Place du Carousel (2001) and Psyche and Amor (2009). He and Wasserman are co-editors of John Ashbery’s Collected French Translations, due out in 2014 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He edited Ashbery’s Selected Prose (2004) and three collections of Ashbery’s translations of Pierre Martory’s poems. With Edith Grossman, he has translated two books of poems by Jaime Manrique, and, with Raimundo Mora, The Infinite Game, stories by Matilde Daviu. His poems and translations are published in many journals and anthologies. He is the Director of Writing in the English Department at Pace University in New York City.
ANDRES ROJAS was born in Cuba and came to the United States at age 13. He holds an MFA. and a JD from the University of Florida, and currently works for the United States Department of the Treasury. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, New England Review, and elsewhere. He is currently working on his first book, Animal Blood.
REBECCA RUKEYSER is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA.
ANNA LIDIA VEGA SEROVA was born in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St. Petersburg, Russia) in 1968 to a Cuban father and a Russian mother. Soon after her birth, she went to Cuba with her parents, where she lived until age nine before returning to the Soviet Union. In 1989, after having studied visual arts in Belarus, she settled in Cuba. Among her publications are short-story collections Catálogo de mascotas (1999), Bad Painting (1997), and Limpiando ventanas y espejos (2000); the novels Noche de ronda (2001) and Ánima fatua (2007), and the poetry collections Retazos (de las hormigas) para los malos tiempos (2004) and Eslabones de un tiempo muerto (2005). In addition, she has had several visual arts exhibitions in Cuba, Russia, and Colombia.
SARAH VIREN is a prose writer and translator living in West Texas. Her work has been been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Diagram, Wag’s Review, Fourth Genre, and others. She is currently working on a translation of Falco’s debut novel, Córdoba Skies, as well as a collection of her own essays about travel, Venn Diagrams and the Subjunctive Mood. She is managing editor at Autumn Hill Books.
ROSANNE WASSERMAN’s poems have appeared in print and online, as well as in the Best American Poetry annual series. Her articles on Pierre Martory, James Schuyler, and Ruth Stone have appeared in American Poetry Review. She and Eugene Richie are co-editors of John Ashbery’s Collected French Translations, due out in 2014 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Her poetry books include The Lacemakers (1992), No Archive on Earth (1995), and Other Selves (1999), as well as Place du Carousel (2001) and Psyche and Amor (2009), collaborations with Richie, with whom she runs the Groundwater Press. She teaches at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY.
AMY WOOLARD is a Senior Policy Attorney with Voices for Virginia’s Children, a public policy and advocacy organization focused on children and poverty, where she works on juvenile justice, foster care, and child welfare issues. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review, Fence, Smartish Pace and Puerto del Sol, among others. She lives in Charlottesville, VA.
ELIZABETH YOUNG is the author of Disarming the Nation: Women’s Writing and the American Civil War and Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor, and co-author of On Alexander Gardner’s “Photographic Sketch Book” of the Civil War. She is Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College.