At Asymptote, we sometimes wonder what it means to exist within a translation culture. Does such a thing even exist? Are readers and writers actively grappling with this strange process of leaping from one language to another? Then we get a barrage of emails answering us with a resounding 'Yes!'
A sampling of this culture is within our brand new October issue, which includes work by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, accompanied by a note from his translator Jay Rubin; animal stories by A.L. Snijders translated by Lydia Davis, who is working for the first time from the Dutch; the very latest poems by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, an essay by Dale Peck, and so much more.
With every issue, Asymptote gains new territory—and by that we mean languages that have never previously been featured in the journal. A most exciting acquisition for us came via the admirable work of James Byrne and ko ko thett, who offered us a selection of their anthology of contemporary Burmese poetry. And we feature for the first time too writing from the Hindi, Tamil, Filipino, Dutch, and Croatian, making it a total of 39 languages in our ever expanding archive of global literature.
We also have a lyric essay by Slovenian poet Aleš Šteger translated by Brian Henry, who won a Best Translated Book Award for Šteger's The Book of Things; a thrilling excerpt from Liao Yiwu's God is Red; Dubravka Ugresic's survey of Croatian literature; a primer on love and sex via Lust, Caution's Eileen Chang, a review of Jean-Philippe Toussaint's The Truth about Marie; not to mention two interviews—one with Motoyuki Shibata, Paul Auster's renowned Japanese translator, and another with Samia Mehrez about the Arab uprisings.
October's special feature speaks to the thriving translation culture in which we live: if what we read feeds into what we write, then certainly poems can be homages, or even conversations with the ancestral head of a Syrian sun cult, Pablo Neruda, or the contemporary American poet Caroline Wright. We are pleased to celebrate the work of poets who engage diverse sources in their writing.
The written work in our journal is beautifully attended by the work of our guest artist Yohei Oishi. This issue also features the visual poetics of Thomas Broomé and Simon Morley, who gives us a video featuring mysterious sounds from outer space.
We'd like to remind you that wherever possible, we try to include original texts, translator's notes and audio recordings that can be accessed from the right-hand column of each article. We hope you click around and discover more and more to enjoy. A small change to our internet presence is that we've begun using Submittable (formerly known as Submishmash) for unsolicited submissions. We read through the year, so do send us your translations. Note that our Special Feature call for the April 2012 issue is for original English fiction centering on "the unsaid".
This is Asymptote's fourth issue and one that ends the year, we're happy to say, with a bang. In recent months, we've had some wonderful and hugely positive mentions in the English-speaking media: Publishers Weekly wrote an article on us; The Center for the Art of Fiction chose us as a Featured International Journal; and we were a staff pick at The Paris Review Blog. Many thanks for your support so far, but do keep talking about us!
Editorial Team for Issue Oct 2011
Lee Yew Leong (Taiwan/Singapore)
Lee Yew Leong (Taiwan/Singapore)
Aditi Machado (India/USA)
Caridad Svich (USA/UK)
Florian Duijsens (Holland/Germany), Aamer Hussein (Pakistan/UK), Sayuri Okamoto (Japan) and Anthony Luebbert (USA)
Incoming Contributing Editor:
Sim Yee Chiang (Singapore/Japan)
Masthead for Issue Oct 2011
Visual/Feature: Lee Yew Leong
Poetry: Aditi Machado
Drama: Caridad Svich
Interview: Nazry Bahrawi
Photo Illustrations and Cover: Yohei Oishi
Design: Lee Yew Leong and fFurious
Legal Counsel: Lindy Poh
Interns: Katharina Laszlo, Sara Noor and Emma Jacobs
Asymptote would like to acknowledge the support and/or contributions of: Balkenende Chew & Chia (Advocates & Solicitors), Jane Hirshfield, John Kinsella, Sven Birkerts, Lee Cochran, Darcy Cohan, Phan Nhien Hao, Gabrielle Brooks, Paul Abels, Howard Goldblatt, 黄崇凯, Levi Asher, Gabe Habash, Dawn Raffel, Robyn Creswell, Gaël Bomblain, Huang Yin-Nan, Rosemary Freriks, Yvonne Koh, Guo Bingxiu, Jing Xianghai, Maureen N. McLane, Ingrid Winterbach, Lloyd Schwartz, Rachel Hui-Yu Tang, Jonathan Drummond, Jay Rubin, C.J. Anderson-Wu, Francesca Spedalieri, David Palumbo-Liu, 王志偉, Azra Raza, Praveen Krishna, Chen Show Mao, Deanne Tan, Camelia Raghinaru, Paco Mitchell, Matt Borondy, and Lane Emmons.
Thanks go too to Tan Seok Ho and Michael Odom for their generous donations.