Meanderings & mawqifs of poetry, poetics, translations y mas. Travelogue too.

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Le Printemps des poètes 2014 — in New York

April 11th, 2014 · Book Presentation, Poetry Cuisine, Poetry readings


Les Services Culturels de l’Ambassade de France présentent une série éclectique d’évènements passionnants à New York en avril, avec la présence de poètes francophones et anglophones tels que Rachida Madani, Pierre Alferi, Anne Portugal, Adonis, Pierre Joris, Ben Lerner, et Anna Moschovakis.

Animés d’un appétit insatiable pour les jeux de langage, des poètes Américains et français se retrouvent pour ouvrir une large réflexion sur l’écriture poétique et s’embarquer dans une discussion sur le rôle de la poésie dans les mondes souvent convergents de la littérature et de la politique.

Des évènements multiculturels se tiendront au Silvana, au Poets House, à la librairie McNally Jackson, à l’université NYU, au Public Theater et autres institutions culturelles de renom, pour dévoiler la nature profondément complexe et innovante de la poésie. Inspiré du Printemps des poètes, organisé chaque année en France à la même saison, Poet’s Spring proposera des lectures, une table ronde, une master class, des concerts, des discours politiques et des illustrations.

Toutes les informations et les différents évènements :

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Help Save New York Public Library!

April 10th, 2014 · Books, New York


The campaign to save some of New York City’s most popular and beloved libraries needs your help.

Can you make a donation now to save NYPL?

Donate to Save NYPL

There is an extraordinary new groundswell of opposition to the New York Public Library’s expensive, misguided plan to sell branch libraries including the Mid-Manhattan, gut the 42nd Street research stacks, and exile much of the world-famous public research collection to New Jersey.

Eight Pulitzer Prize winners have spoken out against this plan. One of them, comix legend Art Spiegelman, created the powerful image you see above. Another, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award winner Junot Diaz, writes, “To destroy the NY Public Library is to destroy our sixth and best borough; that beautiful corner of New York City where all are welcome and all are equals.”

Lydia Davis, Man Booker prize-winning author, slams the trustees’ plan as “so obviously an irresponsible real estate deal that places pure greed for profit over the advancement of learning and enlightenment.” National Book Award-winning writer Jonathan Lethem warns that institutions like NYPL “can’t be entrusted to the stewardship of real-estate developers, corporate synergists, media barons, and other ostensibly well-intentioned, deal-drunk one-percenters.”

And fourteen of Mayor de Blasio’s closest allies — the leaders of key unions and community groups, as well as prominent progressives like Susan Sarandon and Gloria Steinem — just asked the mayor to allocate the $150 million City taxpayer subsidy for the plan to struggling branch libraries instead.

The Save NYPL campaign needs your financial support to stop the gutting of one of the world’s great public research institutions and the sale of two of New York City’s most popular branch libraries. Can you make a donation right now?

Thousands have emailed Mayor de Blasio already to call on him to stop this ill-conceived and wildly unpopular deal. But he hasn’t yet responded, and with the City budget deadline approaching, the time to stop this plan is now! Every dollar you donate will help save the libraries you love, and all donations are tax-deductible.

Thanks for your support!

The Committee to Save New York Public Library

Copyright © 2014 Committee to Save the NYPL, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:
Committee to Save the NYPL
232 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003

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New Issue of Hyperion: Musil, Carmelo Bene, Emilio Villa & More!

April 3rd, 2014 · Aesthetics, Criticism, Literary Magazines & Reviews, Literature, Translation

A superb issue of a magnificently eclectic magazine, just out!


Volume VIII, No. 1 (spring 2014)

This issue of Hyperion is dedicated to

Louis le Brocquy (1916–2012)

Complete Issue
PDF [forthcoming soon]
Also available on [forthcoming soon]


Mast Head

Table of Contents

Thought… to the Purpose

Nicholas Birns, Reenchantment is not Enough:
Gosetti-Ferencei’s Post-Heideggerian Heidegger

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, A New Poetics of Dasein

Carmelo Bene: I am Non-Existent: Therefore I am
Translated by Carole Viers Andronico

Carmelo Bene: Being in Abandonment: Reading as Non-Memory
Translated by Rainer J. Hanshe

Carmelo Bene, Well, yes, Gilles Deleuze!
Translated by Rainer J. Hanshe

Emilio Villa, Litany for Carmelo Bene
Translated by Dominic Siracusa

Louis le Brocquy, The Human Head: Notes on Painting & Awareness

Miklós Szentkuthy, Prae [excerpt]
Translated by Tim Wilkinson

Ferenc Takacs, Intro [forthcoming]

Miklós Szentkuthy, James Joyce: Summa Atheologiae
Translated by Erika Mihálycsa

Miklós Szentkuthy, Why Ulysses Again?
Translated by Erika Mihálycsa

Erika Mihálycsa, Horsey Women & Arse-temises:
Wake-ing Ulysses in Translation

Nicholas Birns, Pigeon-Quivering Test Idols:
John Cowper Powys & Miklós Szentkuthy

Balázs Kerber, Ancient Rome as Postmodern Metaphor:
The Rome Interpretations of Szentkuthy & Fellini

Robert Musil, Short Prose
Translated by Genese Grill

Christopher Whyte, The English for an Anti-Elegy
Translating Tsvetaeva on Rilke

Marina Tsvetaeva, Happy New Year
Translated by Christopher Whyte

Lou Castel, My “State of Things”
Translated by Rainer J. Hanshe

Lou Castel, Before / After the Filming of The Stoning of St. Stephen
Translated by Rainer J. Hanshe



Nicholas Birns, Powys & Purdy: An Epiphany of Cognitive Kinship

Beatriz Leal Riesco, František Vláčil, Marketa Lazarová

Back Cover

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“An American is a Complex of occasions:” Charles Olson Reads

April 2nd, 2014 · Poet, Poetry readings

A dream last night of a largish figure hurrying along a rock outcropping at a seashore — can only be Charles Olson, methought. A bit puzzled as Olson, whom I never met, has never, as far as I remember, shown up in my dreams. The dream may be a footnote to a conversation I had earlier last night with Ammiel Alcalay on his excellent A Little History book, as we wondered through the chapbook exhibition at Poets House which had copies of some Olsonia, & after hearing/watching Kyle Waugh’s presentation on chapbooks. At any rate, this morning, post-dream a desire to hear Olson’s voice, & so googled him & found these, here now, to share:

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Lost & Found Series IV Launch

April 1st, 2014 · Book Launch, Literature, Poetry, Poetry Festival


Thursday, April 3, 4pm

Lost & Found Series IV Launch

Ammiel Alcalay, Iemanjá Brown, Emily Claman, Stefania Heim, erica kaufman,
Bradley Lubin, Kate Tarlow Morgan, Kristin Moriah, Conor Tomás Reed,
Talia Shalev, Wendy Tronrud, Kyle Waugh

Room C198

Join us for a celebration of the publication of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative Series IV, an award-winning, internationally recognized publication of original research and extra-poetic work edited by Graduate Center students and faculty. Editors will read, perform, present multimedia, and discuss their projects, which include the Pauline Kael and Robert Duncancorrespondence; a film script by Ed Dorn intended for Stan Brakhage;Adrienne Rich’s CUNY teaching materials from the early years of Open Admissions; Before Gloucester, portraying poet Vincent Ferrini’s years as a factory worker, and After the Harlem Renaissance, the later poems of Helene JohnsonLost & Found Series IV will be available for pre-publication purchase.Cosponsored by the PhD Program in English. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Free and open to the public. All events take place at The Graduate Center, CUNY, 365 Fifth Ave btwn 34th & 35th. The building and the venues are fully accessible. For more information please click here, call 212.817.2005 or e-mail

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Octavio Paz, b. 100 Years ago today…

March 31st, 2014 · Essays, Intellectuals, Poetry, Translation


01-Octavio-Paz-gob.jpg-854x440… on March 31, & left eso mundo in April 1998. A day, thus, on which to take time to reread a few of Paz’s poems in Eliot Weinberger’s excellent translations, & probably an essay or so. On the day of his passing I was in Berkeley & wrote the following poem, in memoriam:

6:30 am on terrace of the French Hotel in
Berkeley, reading the New York Times
obituary for Octavio Paz while

across the street just
to the right of Chez Panisse
a pale watery sun

sits locked in-
to the criss-cross webbing
of a tall dark fir —

as if his going had
for a moment stopped
Sol in it’s tracks —

the world a bit colder
after the heat of Paz,
a bit older, less bold,

his ashes raining
now over
Mexican earth.

A light wind shifts
twigs, the sun it
seems to

move in-
crementally higher —
it all does go on

while you now sit with Benito
Juarez & Pancho Villa
& introduce them

to some yankee poetas
Blackburn, say, and Olson still
mumbling “the wheels of the sun

must be unstuck”
& you argue for a

of the imagination &
we say, Octavio,
gracias for

releasing that sun!

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“Writing translation / translating writing” Master Class

March 30th, 2014 · Poetics, Poetry, Translation

MasterclassMaster Class with Pierre Joris

Class Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Time: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. CST
Duration: 1 day (class meets once, for 3 hrs.)
Instructor: Pierre Joris
Location: Online

Description: Study with poet Pierre Joris in this one-day online class. “Writing translation / translating writing” inverts the traditional relationship of original text & translated copy & reinscribes the activity of translation as core process of the act of writing. Students will be simultaneously involved with writing & with translation from a language of their choice into English in a range of forms proposed by their own practice & cultural.

The class runs for 3 hours and will be held in our online, video-conferenced classroom, so you can attend from your own home, from anywhere in the world. Our students attend class from all over the world, including recently from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Morocco, the Philippines, Singapore, Scotland, and, of course, the United States.

Class size is limited to 10 students. Only a few seats left! SIGN UP NOW, HERE!

Please note: after registering you will receive an email with instructions on how to log into the virtual classroom.

Details,  here.

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Happy Hundredth Hrabal!

March 28th, 2014 · Book Launch, Book Review, Europe, Novel, Translation

A king without a country, but with a vast realm of imagination. – The writer Bohumil Hrabal, Prag 1993. (Picture: Miroslav Zajic / Corbis / Dukas)

A king without a country, but with a vast realm of imagination. – The writer Bohumil Hrabal, Prag 1993. (Picture: Miroslav Zajic / Corbis / Dukas)

Today is the 100th B-day of the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) &, by a quirk Hrabal would have approved of, yesterday the post man brought Hrabal’s Harlequin’s Millions, translated by Stacey Knecht & published by that ever excellent press, Archipelago Books. One of the most subversive figures of Czech — actually of East European, & even plainly of European mi-century literature — Hrabal is the ultimate gabber, or, the Germans would say, Bafler. Interesting word, this “bafeln: it’s Yiddish roots – באפעלן \ba-FEL-en\  link the original meaning to a sequence that etymologically derives from Middle High German “bevelhen,” from Old High German “bifelahan, bifelhan,” itself from Proto-Germanic *felhanan (to conceal, hide, bury, trust, intrude) and the Proto-Indo-European root *pele(w)- (to hide) before it. Cognates include Middle English “felen,” Modern English “feal,” New High German “befehlen.”  Thus to command, order, convey, communicate. But turned on its head, bafeln has become derision of authority, just talking, gabbing, joking, telling tall tales, etc. — not as the commanders do, but as the little people do, those to whom Hrabal lends his voice, his humor, his vision, undermining successfully the reinforced concrete cathedral of social realism (as Alena Wagnerová put it today in the NZZ). As Hrabal says elsewhere, “A respectable book isn’t meant to help the reader fall sleep more easily, but should make him jump out of bed in his his long johns to deliver a few smacks to the writer’s head.”

Treat yourselves & get Harlequin’s Millions, which is, as the publisher’s site accurately says, “a beautiful novel peopled with eccentric, unforgettable inhabitants of a home for the elderly who reminisce about their lives and their changing country. Poised on the threshold between joy and melancholy, this novel allows us into the mind of a woman coming to terms with the passing of time.” Ivan Vladislavić’s blurb reads

Hrabal is a master at using the roles, rules and atmospheres of a particular place – the railway station of Closely Observed Trains, the hotel dining rooms of I Served the King of England – to explore a world of human experience. In Harlequin’s Millions, the setting is a castle on the edge of a “town where time stood still,” formerly the seat of Count Špork, now a retirement home for the district’s pensioners. In this apparently confined space, he unfolds an expansive drama of old age and death, the fragile beauty of memory, and the persistence of desire. The book is infused with the memory of “old times” and a melancholy awareness of lost youth and faded beauty. Time does not stand still, it flows on relentlessly, and we carry the past with us only in stories. Hrabal’s light, cascading prose, with its resistant undercurrents of pauses, diversions and repetitions, is perfectly suited to his themes. He carries you along on a sensuous rush of detail, and then suddenly bumps you against the bedrock of history. This is a mesmerizing novel, beautifully translated


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Homage to Juan Gelman

March 27th, 2014 · Essays, Homage, Poetry, Translation

gelman-juan-243x329The L.A. Review of Books just published a superb homage to recently deceased poet Juan Gelman by Víctor Rodríguez Núñez &Katherine M. Hedeen. Opening paras below — for the whole essay, click here.

Juan Gelman or “about a truth that didn’t believe in death.”

March 23rd, 2014

The Spanish language edition of this article is available immediately below the English. We also present selections of Juan Gelman’s poetry below, in both Spanish and English, translated courtesy of  Katherine M. Hedeen and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez. 

WHEN WE LAST SAW Juan Gelman, on the morning of January 12, just 48 hours before his passing, it didn’t seem like death was near. He was noticeably frail, but he also enthusiastically rang a tiny bell to call his nurse. He spoke in whispers, but with precision and clarity. In his wheelchair, a poncho covering his shoulders, a blanket covering his legs, he was dignity personified.  He gave us a solemn report on his health: the relentless anemia, the beginnings of lung cancer. He explained his decision to hold out from home, to not go through with chemotherapy. He was well aware of everything, including our translation projects. The conversation never once slipped through his fingers, and as always, his great wit was present. He even spoke of Cervantes, one of the captivity narratives, where he’d found some excellent verses. He offered us coffee, served in lovely china cups, and we gladly accepted. The Mexico City winter light filtered through every cranny of his apartment in Colonia Condesa. We were sure of his determination to fight for his life.

Juan Gelman is the most read, most influential Spanish-language poet of our times. With 30 books published, he is the winner of the Cervantes Prize (2007), the top literary honor in Spanish-language literature. He worked as a journalist and translator, spent many years exiled in Europe and Latin America, and remained an ardent critic of Argentina’s military dictatorship throughout his life. He was above all faithful to poetry as a transformative act — as the quest for a more humane society, and a way to broaden our understanding of the world through universal dialogue. The Argentine novelist Julio Cortázar said that Gelman’s work must be read “by remaining open, allowing meaning to enter other doorways than those of syntactical structure,” for “only in this way can the reader discover the reality of the poems, which is none other than the exact and literal reality of the horror and death, but also the hope, that define Argentina.” (Gelman, Unthinkable4).  His death marks not just the end of an era in poetry written in Spanish, but also the passing of a man who never forgot he was part of a family of Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine — an Argentine underdog until the very end.

[ctd. here]



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March 26th, 2014 · Poetry readings, Translation

In Modernist Revolutions.Paradigms of the New and Circulations of the Word in American Poetry: Journées d’études internationales organisées par Clément Oudart dans le cadre de “Poéthiques” (laboratoire Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes, axe 5), Université Toulouse II-Le Mirail, 16-17 janvier 2014.

Lectures de poésies américaines et françaises contemporaines :
- extraits de “A Prank of Georges” (2010) de Abigail Lange et Thalia Field, lus par Abigail Lang, Elizabeth Willis et Pascal Poyet,
- poèmes choisis extraits de “8 Haricots” (2013) de Abigail Lang, lus par Abigail Lang,
- Brouillon 104, extrait de “Pitch: Drafts 77-95″ (2010) de Rachel Blau DuPlessis / “Brouillons” (2013), lu par Rachel Blau DuPlessis, traduit et lu par Jean-Paul Auxeméry.

* Illustration : The Rose (II) de Cy Twombly (2008) © Cy Twombly Foundation.

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