Don’t forget to return your library books in Texas. This year an Austin man was arrested for failing to return a GED study guide that was three years overdue. Fines and arrest warrants are the new way to break even in towns with shrinking budgets. Other states, such as Iowa, Vermont, and Maine, are joining in.
It is a truth universally acknowledged (and recently addressed in Barclay Bram Shoekmaker‘s Millions review of Mo Yan‘s Frog) that literary translation is an imperfect art, and this list of mistranslated “literary moments” only offers more evidence for the claim. But for every serious blunder there’s also a truly ridiculous one (or more). For example, the French translated the title of Animal Farm as Animals Everywhere!, which sounds a lot like a charming children’s book and not at all like Orwell.
In an illuminating interview for Slate, James Wood revises his opinion on David Foster Wallace and discusses how aging can change critics. As he puts it, “At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff. I was reading poetry. How did Auden do his stanza forms? And I was trying to copy those. What’s a successful poem, what’s an unsuccessful poem? […] What’s a good sentence? I don’t think I’ve changed. I am as sincerely interested in novels that fail as I am in novels that succeed. I just want to work them out. It’s a pleasure for me actually.” Top it off with Jonathan Russell Clark’s essay on Wood’s The Nearest Thing to Life.
Portland-based Publication Studio is hosting a whirlwind series of events in New York next week. They kick off the weekend with an evening mixer at the Museum of Modern Art on Thursday, April 19; continue with a conversation between landscape architect Diana Balmori and PS co-founder Matthew Stadler at Printed Matter, on Friday, April 20th; and end with a lavish sit-down dinner, cooked by Ben Walmer of the Highlands Dinner Club in the Harlem speakeasy where HDC got its start, on Saturday, April 21.
If you’re in New York this weekend, join Belladonna* and Kundiman for a celebration of what would have been the 60th birthday of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (a full life cycle event in the Chinese/Korean lunar calendar). Nine poets, including Cathy Park Hong, Myung Mi Kim, Sina Queyras, and Anne Waldman, will perform a staged reading from Dictee, Cha’s best known work. There will be birthday cake, projected images, scholarly contextualization, and other surprises. Saturday March 5, at the Bowery Poetry Club, 2pm.
“There’s more to life than writing and publishing fiction. There is another way entirely, amazed as I am to discover it at this late date,” Philip Roth said in an interview with Cynthia Haven for Stanford’s The Book Haven. Besides his retirement from writing, Roth also discussed why he doesn’t consider himself an American-Jewish writer and his book The Ghost Writer. For more Roth, read our essay on lessons you can learn from his work.