At ZORA, Christina M. Tapper interviews legendary poet Nikki Giovanni, who “continues to give us words that hum and humanize and a hope that breathes new life into our imaginations” with her new collection, Make Me Rain. Their wide-ranging conversation covers politics, love poems, Toni Morrison, and evening rituals, plus Giovanni’s preferred author bio, which skips the accolades and tells the story of a child falling in love with words. “After a while, you get tired of hearing people make references to insignificant things. I’m not knocking it because the awards and things are nice,” she says. “But I like the idea of people recognizing, well, there was a little girl. And I’m not the only little girl who looked out the window and daydreamed. I wanted to share that. By doing that, I’m able to open up doors for young women who are not sure about how they want to view themselves or how they want people to view them.”
If you run into trouble in Iceland, blame the elves. 54.4 percent of Icelanders believe in the invisible creatures, and elves cause environmental protest today. “Beliefs in misfortune befalling those who dare to build in elf territory is so widespread and frequent that the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has created a five-page ‘standard reply’ for press inquiries about elves,” Ryan Jacobs writes for The Atlantic. Pair with: our essay on Icelandic writer Sjón.
Over at Words Without Borders, Marguerite Feitlowitz writes on teaching the art of literary translation. As she puts it, “Bringing texts from one place to another, from one tongue, context, history, and human body to another, is itself a political act. We can tell the history of the world through the history of when major texts have been translated—and where, why, and by whom.” Pair with this Millions piece on literary translators at work.