- Yiyun Li
- Gerard Beirne
- Cole Swensen
- Etienne Lepage
- Sadik Kwaish Alfraji
- Nathanaël on Hervé Guibert
Despite the very real horrors presented by the Disneyfication of this once pagan ritual, there is value to the idea of Halloween. Dressing up, we can embody—and face up to—our worst fears (whether they be the undead, clowns, or Honey Boo Boo).
This new edition of Asymptote engages with fears in myriad ways, from the onset of Alzheimer's in Paco Roca's Wrinkles (our first excerpt from a graphic novel) to the fearlessness in the face of AIDS in Hervé Guibert's The Mausoleum of Lovers. You'll certainly feel a chill up your spine reading Berlin reporter Sarah Khan's investigation into the paranormal. There are more ghosts than meet the eye though; ghosts are everywhere in this issue: whether they be of memory (Iraqi video artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji), of love (Étienne Lepage's deliciously foul-mouthed Howl Red), of language (Nathanaël's brilliant translation-as-wake hypothesis), or of estranged lands (Aamer Hussein's 'Knotted Tongue'). Far from being morbid, these phantasmagoria have everything to do with the vitality of life, as the gorgeous paintings and ink drawings of American guest artist June Glasson suggest.
Our special feature on English-language poetry considers language itself to be a strange place—uncanny, full of striking familiarities, as concerned with revival as it is with decay. Here we present new work from poets around the world, including Cole Swensen, Ruth Padel and Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. The tension between these English-language poets and the translated poets in our issue is wonderfully keen: as Afzal Syed Ahmed writes, "In your language every line begins from an opposite end." So where indeed does language begin? The question lingers as one reads Lutz Seiler, Eduardo Milàn, Arseny Tarkovsky, and so on. In the case of MARGENTO, language is music, and interrogated as such in the extraordinary recording that accompanies the poem.
Celebrated author Yiyun Li provides even more delectable fodder to this question when she reveals in a conversation with Clare Wigfall that she does not want her fiction, so acclaimed in America, to be translated into the Chinese. Hot on the heels of Mo Yan's Nobel win (by the way, Yan's novels are translated into English by our contributing editor Howard Goldblatt, whom we are very proud of), Asymptote shifts the spotlight to the younger crop of Chinese writers in Part II of our Sinophone '20 under 40' (including one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people, race car driver and popular blogger Han Han). In our Criticism section, we are especially thrilled to give you a review of the latest Aira, and a thoughtful essay about translating medieval letters.
We'll round off with two announcements. For our 2nd anniversary in January 2013 we are planning something big: a proper global launch with events in cities such as Berlin, Beijing and New York. Whether or not you are a past contributor, whether or not you are based in these cities, we want you to get in touch with us if you'd like to give us support in any way, as our magazine expands. (Not to mention, the more donations we get (new giveaways are in the works!), the bigger our celebrations—and future plans for the magazine—can be.) We cannot wait to meet more of our translators, writers, and readers in the flesh! Finally, Asymptote will go to Africa for the April 2013 issue; please click here to view contributing editor Adrian West's submission guidelines. Happy Autumn from all of us!
Editorial Team for Issue Oct 2012
Lee Yew Leong (Taiwan/Singapore)
Florian Duijsens (Holland/Germany)
Lee Yew Leong (Taiwan/Singapore)
Aditi Machado (India/USA)
Caridad Svich (USA/UK)
Howard Goldblatt (USA), Aamer Hussein (Pakistan/UK), Sylvia Lin (Taiwan/USA), Anthony Luebbert (USA), Sayuri Okamoto (Japan/Italy) and Sim Yee Chiang (Singapore), Dylan Suher (USA), Adrian West (USA)
Masthead for Issue Oct 2012
Writers Feature/Interview: Lee Yew Leong
Poetry/English Poetry Feature: Aditi Machado
Drama: Caridad Svich
Illustrations and Cover: June Glasson
Guest Artist Liaison: Florian Duijsens
Design: Lee Yew Leong and fFurious
Legal Counsel: Lindy Poh
Interns: Emma Ramadan, Julia Sanches, Jacob Severn and Sharlene Teo
Tumblr Assistant: Paul Cooper
Incoming Visual Section Editor: Simon Morley
Incoming Assistant Editor: Nicholas Skidmore
Asymptote would like to acknowledge the support and/or contributions of: Balkenende Chew & Chia (Advocates & Solicitors), Renato Gomez, Steve Bradbury, Paul Morris, Ou Ning, Austin Woerner, Stan Hua, Jill Schoolman, Florence Lui, Jeffrey Waxman, Lin Chia Wei, Michael Stein, Josh Honn, Forrest Gander, Nadia Ho, Frederic Tuten, Heman Chong, Scott Esposito and Halle Murcek.