Jan 24, 2013


Established literary critic and historian Doris Mironescu has shrewdly reviewed our latest collection for the Iasi-based cultural journal, comparing MARGENTO to a Transatlantic Cruise Liner. (Romanian)

Transatlanticul Tanasescu
                                                                                            Doris Mironescu
Nomadosofia, volumul poetic bilingv de peste 350 de pagini publicat anul trecut de entitatea colectiva Margento (in fapt, de poetul Chris Tanasescu, lider al grupului de poezie-pictura-jazz-rock cu acelasi nume), este mai mult decit o carte. Este un eveniment care ar trebui sa dea de gindit. Volumul se profileaza ca unul dintre virfurile experimentale ale poeziei romanesti de astazi.

Ocazia poate fi folosita pentru a incerca sa intelegem in cite moduri se (mai) poate experimenta cu poezia, ce limite sint de infrint, care perete considera poetul ca trebuie spart ca sa deschida orizontul prea ingust – caci acesta e rostul experimentului, sa redefineasca marginea, rupind-o.

In primul rind e de observat ca Tanasescu refuza identitatea de autor al Nomadosofiei, punind in fata numele colectiv al trupei sale: cartea e scrisa de “Margento”, iar anexa lamuritoare de la final prezinta “trupa si traducatorii”, o serie lunga de nume intre care nu apar doar componentii propriu-zisi ai formatiei de pictopoezie rock, ci si multi altii. Philip Levine, Robert Pinsky, O. Nimigean, Charles Simic, David Baker, Claudiu Komartin, Iulia Militaru apar in carte alaturi de alti contributori, precum Apollinaire, Ibn Battuta, Elizabeth Bishop, Salvatore Quasimodo, Hafiz, Frank Zappa... CITESTE MAI DEPARTE...... 

Jan 23, 2013

New Issue of ASYMPTOTE - January 2013

A new issue of this uniquely ample, innovative, and inclusive international zine!

Editor's Note

Well, hello there, 2013! We barely noticed you starting what with all the exciting developments here at Asymptote. Not only are we turning two, we're also celebrating with eight events in seven countries across the globe and launching our first ever online fundraiser! Now, you may ask, has this had any effect on the new issue? Only that it's even more chock-full of awesome! Still, some kidding aside, we really are proud to give you this, our ninth issue.

For one, we got to talk to our favorite Francophile, Edmund White, about why Proust is "a more profound psychologist than Freud". We also have an excerpt from the new novel by Amélie Nothomb, the Belgian phenom behind Fear and Trembling; Life Form is about yet another cultural clash—this time with an American soldier in Iraq. But perhaps we are proudest of bringing you the first ever English translation from Toh EnJoe's 2012 Akutagawa Prize-winning novel, Harlequin's Butterflies. In the fascinating interview Toh also granted us, the Physics PhD elaborates on his "un-local novels", and how we must cherish the ability to enjoy strange things.

Our poetry section begins with the blue of the sky in Dagmara Kraus's gloomerang and ends with the yellow of a mountain in Nicolas Pesquès' The North Face of Mount Juliau, Six. Inbetween, we have work spanning diverse eras and geographies, yet the unanimous concern for place—internal, external, historical, political, psychological—recurs with force. In Shrikant Verma's Magadh poems, place is marked by the vagaries of death; Aleš Debeljak's Smugglers is rooted in the Balkans; and Chuya Nakahara's Goat Songs are embedded in the elements. Many of the nine poets included in this issue consider just what place is and how we imagine it—how we encode it in language.

For the first time, our table of contents now has taster lines by all poets, as well as teaser images for the visual section. All the more suitable, as this issue sees the auspicious debut of our new Visual Editor, artist Simon Morley, who has collected an intriguing group of creators, all of whom work with text or language in crucial and intriguing ways. Simon Lewty, for instance, delves into tachygraphy (that's shorthand, FYI) to explore the act of writing and the nature of learning a language. The wonderful book artist Johanna Drucker, on the other hand, makes the intriguing claim that she too is a translator, albeit a graphic one. Performing her own graphic somersaults on the fiction, creative nonfiction and drama in our pages is our guest artist from Italy, Michela Caputo, whose playful, flowing style puts the icing on the cake of this 2nd anniversary issue.

As usual, there's a ton more, notably a small feature on the relationship between author and translator, with a generously personal essay by Howard Goldblatt on his relationship with Huang Chunming. Reif Larsen, the author of the widely acclaimed T.S. Spivet (translated into umpteen languages), returns to tell us about the crucial skills a translator must possess, not only through the interview he did with his Dutch translator, but also in a Wes Andersonian trailer we will be releasing shortly on our Facebook page and Tumblr. Other highlights include Uljana Wolf and Christian Hawkey's Ilse Aichinger translation, Dylan Suher's defense of Mo Yan, Vasily Grossman's visit to Armenia, and Gérard Mace's imagined (?) Museum of Shadows in Prague.

Before we leave you to discover this splendiferous new issue, we'd like to gently remind you to also check out our events and our fundraising campaign (also accessible from our newly revamped Donate page). And above all to spread the word, as there's so much more in store: after our African Feature in the Apr 2013 issue, our first ever Drama Feature in our July issue (check out the submission guidelines here), for instance, and an international translation competition that esteemed intellectual Eliot Weinberger just agreed to judge 2 days ago! (Details to follow.) Remember, you heard it here first.

          —The Editors       

      MORE HERE!!!!!!!!!

Jan 22, 2013


Read an amazing fragment from Julian Talamantez-Brolaski's forthcoming "Phonosemantics & The Real" and two poems from Advice for Lovers, on Jerome Rothenberg's blog:

From “Phonosemantics and the Real” 

Shakespeare was almost certainly homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.  The sonnets provide no evidence on the matter.  - Stephen Booth, ed. Shakespeare's Sonnets. 

If you look closely enough at word, you'll find it contains its opposite.  George, porridge, Norwich, porch and goy ridge all rhyme with orange. Why this antithesis between decoration and use?  Is a tiger less efficient because of its stripes?  Plato's cloak was so magnificent that Diogenes leapt on it ...

Lucus a non lucendo – an absurd conclusion, explanation or non sequitur.  Literally 'grove from not giving light,' i.e. a dark grove (lucus) is so called because it does not shine (lucere)—an illustration of the etymological procedure (see Quintilian) of deriving a noun from another having a contrary sense (Webster). 

That art is thievery is a commonplace--lyre is homophonous w/ liar.  This only coincidentally says something about poets... MORE HERE!!!!!!

Jan 16, 2013


Two excellent reviews by the legendary Robert Kelly on Pierre Joris' brilliant website Nomadics


Robert Kelly 

A note on two newly published translations I’m anxious to let the world know about:

Stuart Kendall, Gilgamesh. New York, Contra Mundum, 2012
Thomas Meyer, Beowulf, a translation. Brooklyn, Punctum Books, 2012.

Where does the tension come from that runs the poem?
What’s missing in almost all translations of the old stuff (the classics, the canon, that fleet of inscrutable foreign vessels lined up, sailing in against our ignorance) is tension. Tension means stretching, pulling the fabric taut, making the hearer (reader) hold the breath.

Scholars are mostly not good at holding anybody’s breath. (I think of a few exceptions—Magoun’s Kalevala, Tedlock’s Popol Vuh, Arrowsmith’s Petronius) but they are indeed exceptions.

But here come two grand triumphs of poetry bringing old instances of itself to new life. Simply said, a good translation of a poem must be itself a good poem.

Stuart Kendall’s new translation of the Gilgamesh tablets, Thomas Meyer’s newly published but decades-old translation of the Beowulf manuscript—these are our ancestral narratives: one of the whole western world, one of our own Northern Paranoid Lifestyle culture, whose languages we still are.

All great epics are always about slaying the monster. And here Beowulf and Gilgamesh in a strange way seem almost... MORE HERE !!!!!!

Jan 11, 2013


A book to treasure.

"An intelligent companion to much twentieth-century and contemporary
European poetry, and some prose.... [John Taylor] offers the non-specialist a series of
practical starting points from which to explore contemporary European poetry." --Times Literary Supplement

"(An) exploratory enthusiasm felt in almost every essay. To us Taylor (. . .) miraculously crosses time and space to suddenly appear in Milan, Ljubljana or Salonica, pulling out not only Bonnefoy, Kaplinsky, Brodsky, Celan, Zagajewski, Nemes Nagy, Sebald, Kassabova, Pavese or Montale, but also Erba, Kocbek, Papadimitrakopoulos, Kielar, the 'Dutch Fiftiers'. . ." --Elzbieta Wojcik-Leese, Poetry Wales, Autumn 2009

"An American, long resident in France, John Taylor is one of the critical wonders of the Western European world. Awesomely knowledgeable and invariably fair-minded, his book [Into the Heart of European Poetry] presents essay-length considerations of contemporary poets from Luis Cernuda and Yves Bonnefoy to Radmila Lazic and Marzanna Kielar." --Dennis O'Driscoll, "Tuesday Top Ten", The Book Depository

Available HERE !!!!!!
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