Scott Esposito interviews Natasha Wimmer, translator of 2666 and The Savage Detectives. They discuss some forthcoming additions to the ever expanding Bolaño oeuvre (which will be potential additions to a future edition of our Bolaño syllabus.)
Susannah Hunnewell interviews Michel Houellebecq, France’s controversial literary icon, for The Paris Review’s “The Art of Fiction” series: “There is a need for intensity. From time to time, you have to forsake harmony. You even have to forsake truth. You have to, when you need to, energetically embrace excessive things.”
Just in time for today’s Booker announcement, a pair of shortlisters are now (or will be tomorrow) available stateside: In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut and The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. Ian Frazier’s big travelogue (generously excerpted in the New Yorker) Travels in Siberia is out, as is Adam Levin’s massive The Instructions from McSweeney’s. Three more: Djibouti by Elmore Leonard, How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu, and a gorgeous Library of America edition of “six novels in woodcuts” by pioneering graphic novelist Lynd Ward.
“When is it plagiarism, when is it homage? Especially in creative writing, I get tripped up on this distinction. A trick for writer’s block: write an imitation, steal moves, learn by mimicry. For my own poem-writing, I turn to other texts all the time. I pull language, take a word I like, sometimes fragments of phrases and twist them. I get inspired, I want to model after poems I fell madly for.” On discovering another writer’s plagiarism.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the world’s most translated books. In German alone, there are over 40 different translations. A new project published by Oak Knoll Press devotes three volumes to exploring the challenges of translating Carroll’s wit, puns, and linguistic tricks in 174 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.
Graywolf Press is having an All-American Sale this month, and that means you can celebrate Independence Day by grabbing any books with “America” in their title for 30% off. Each purchase will also include Elizabeth Alexander’s Praise Song for the Day chapbook – featuring the poem read at Barack Obama’s first inauguration.