Two Words: The Blog of the Center for the Art of Translation

Cerise Press

Posted on August 30, 2011, 03:02:00 PM by Scott Esposito

We've just discovered another great source of translations—the online periodical Cerise Press, which is now in its third year.

The current issue features, among other things, translations of the poetry of Lorand Gaspar translated by friend of the Center Stephen Kessler and Daniela Hurezanu.

You can find a whole lot more by having a look at the website's archive, right here.

How to Invest in Our Future

Posted on August 15, 2011, 03:04:00 AM by Erin Branagan

Now that it’s August, and stores have been stocking back to school supplies for weeks, it feels appropriate to turn our attention to the academic year about to start. A new school year still carries a sense of fresh possibility, and we are especially excited about a new report issued recently by the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities which strongly supports arts education. The report is titled “Reinvesting in Arts Education”, and while it’s definitely not short, there is plenty of meaty content to chew on.

As enthusiastic supporters of arts education, especially through our Poetry Inside Out literary arts program, we were happy to see that the report makes the case for integrating arts education throughout the K-12 curriculum, not treating it as an “extra”.

If you only read part of the report, the introduction by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is probably your best choice. It includes thoughts like, “Nothing—nothing—is more important in the long-run to American prosperity than boosting the skills and attainment of the nation’s students. . . . Closing the achievement gap and closing the opportunity gap is the civil rights issue of our generation. . . . Experiences in the arts are valuable on their own, but they also enliven learning of other subjects, making them indispensable for a complete education in the 21st Century.”

We were especially excited to read this, since we have seen for more than 10 years how students in the Poetry Inside Out program become more engaged, imaginative, and creative at the same time as they are learning useful reading, writing, and thinking skills.

You can read the full report here.

If you’d like to learn more about the Center’s Poetry Inside Out program, read about it here.

A Short Guide to Kono Taeko

Posted on August 4, 2011, 03:29:00 PM by Scott Esposito

In July we published "An Odd Owner" by Kono Taeko at TWO LINES ONLINE. It was a very strange, and equally delightful, story by one of the major living Japanese writers.

Now I see the the blog "in lieu of a field guide" has posted a nice little bio of Kono and her work. It says in part:

Kōno Taeko, 85 years old, must be the grand dame of Japanese letters. Her outputs were praised, most deservedly, by writers like Ōe Kenzaburo ("At once the most carnally direct and the most lucidly intelligent woman writing in Japan.") and Endo Shusaku ("Kōno Taeko is the female writer I most admire among all the Japanese authors. Her unsparing gaze penetrates the depths of human nature; and she sets forth what she finds there with absolute precision."). The blurbs came from the back page of Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories, a collection of ten short stories, all translated by Lucy North (except for the last, translated by Lucy Lower), and published in 1996 by New Directions. All the stories were originally written in the 1960s (1961-1969) and concerned women and their unstable or uncertain marital relationships. Kōno's genre of writing was classified as transgressive fiction owing to her use of elements of sadomasochism and aberrant behavior.

The whole post is very much worthwhile, as it's a smart and engaging introduction to this distinctive author. And don't forget to check out "An Odd Owner" at TWO LINES ONLINE.


Posted on August 3, 2011, 10:37:00 AM by Scott Esposito

We've just published the August 2011 edition of TWO LINES Online. The offerings include a previously unpublished (in English) excerpt of a false biography by Mexican experimentalist Mario Bellatin, whom translator David Shook describes as:

among the world’s most eclectic, both in his writing and in his personality. Born without a right hand—though he normally wears an imaginative hook from his collection of a dozen—he’s forced to “write with his entire body.” Bellatin studied film in Cuba and theology in Peru, where he was born, and their influence features prominently in his work, often compared to the short films of David Lynch and David Cronenberg. Several of his novellas have appeared in English, including Beauty Salon (City Lights), in Kurt Hollander’s translation, and Chinese Checkers (Ravenna Press), in Cooper Renner’s translation, which collects three important novellas, including Hero Dogs. Bellatin is published widely throughout Latin America and Europe by major presses and cartoneras alike, and his next two books are under contract to appear in French translation before they are published in Spanish.

We also have two poems from the masterful Dutch poet Remco Camper, widely considered among the leading living Dutch poets.