“One is less likely to overlook or be unfairly harsh to a translator if one has been a translator, and one is less likely to fault an original writer for weaknesses in translated prose or poetry if one has a sense of the pitfalls into which a translator can stumble—a sense I am still developing after years of translating poetry and prose.” Over at Asymptote Journal, Sue Burke and Maia Evrona look at reviews of books in translation.
The Guardian asked a bunch of authors, including Hilary Mantel, Geoff Dyer, and Ian Rankin, which books they “regularly reread and which novels they are desperate to unlock the secrets of.” Check out John Banville’s abiding fixation on the works on F. Scott Fitzgerald.
As a child, Xiaolu Guo hunted birds and toads to survive. Now, as a writer in Britain, she’s written a memoir about her difficult childhood, which you can read more about in this review in The New Statesman. Sample quote: “Perhaps it is no coincidence that the reason that Guo gives for deciding to write in English is to be free of Chinese government censorship, a process that she describes as the wearing down of a rock’s sharp edges to a smooth pebble.”
“The Disney character I most strongly identify with is the Beast before he learns how not to emotionally attack everyone around him, so.” Over at The Toast, Mallory Ortberg tells us why she is the perfect candidate for the job of Fisher King. T.S. Eliot would be proud. Or likely horrified.
Try to define the word “poetry” and you’ll quickly find yourself in a maze of contradictions. It refers, most obviously, to printed verse, but it can also refer to especially lyrical prose, among other things. At The Paris Review Daily, Damian Searls uses etymology to get some answers. Related: Kate Angus on loving poetry but not poetry books.