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An Enduring Community

Looking back on twenty-three years of persistence and community.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

This has been a mantra for many of us recently as we negotiate a new reality unfolding in shocking ways each day. We know there is important action to take, but we must also conserve our energy for the long haul. Work helps, one foot in front of the other, engaged in what we deem important. Being especially busy helps even more.

Our entire team has been extraordinarily busy. In order to prepare our new website for launch, we needed to review, arrange, catalog, and classify all the work of twenty-three years. The process was overwhelming. It was electrifying.

Among other things, we needed to update the biographies of at least 1,100 authors and translators who have been published in Two Lines over the course of more than two decades. For me personally, that process (or my tiny part of it, anyway) was a tonic—therapeutically immersive and tremendously gratifying.

It was particularly delightful to encounter the early biographies of now prolific and highly acclaimed translators who, when they first appeared in Two Lines, were just getting started. There was Geoffrey Brock back in 2001, with poems from what would prove to be an award-winning collection of Cesare Pavese‘s poetry, long before his critically acclaimed anthology of Italian poetry or any of his translated fiction (or even his own prize-winning poetry, for that matter). There was Jeffrey Angles in our 2006 issue, before he had published his award-winning translations of Japanese poetry.

Then there was Isabel Fargo Cole who appeared in our pages in 2002, before she had published any books in the United States; she has now published half a dozen works of fiction from German, including one of our own titles, The Sleep of the Righteous by Wolfgang Hilbig (longlisted for the 2015 Best Translated Book Award and a finalist for the CLMP Firecracker Award in fiction), with another Hilbig translation (Old Rendering Plant) forthcoming in November 2017.

The astounding Don Mee Choi first entered our pages in 2004, when her work had only previously appeared in magazines; she has now published more than ten books of translations from Korean, three volumes of original poetry, and a book of essays. The keynote speaker at the 2016 ALTA Conference, she also received the 2012 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize and has won numerous awards for her writing.

My daughter would accuse me here of stooping to the dreaded “I knew you when you were this tall” rhetoric. It‘s true, we feel incredibly fortunate that these translators found us early on (since that is how it really works, not the inverse) and that we could watch them achieve so much over the years. But more than anything this process has left us with a sense of enduring community. These translators have persisted, despite everything. We have persisted. You all, our readers and our audience, have persisted. Let us all persist.

It‘s been a marathon, not a sprint, and we still have miles to go. We hope you‘ll come along.