Asymptote’s Pushcart Prize Nominations

It's that time of year, and we're proud to recognize six wonderful pieces of literature!

We are thrilled to nominate the following six articles published during the past year for the Pushcart Prize. Please join us in giving a round of applause to both the authors and translators behind these incredible pieces.

At 997 words, Pedro Novoa’s devastating short story, “The Dive”, won Peru’s “Story of 1,000 Words” contest. Translating this nautical thriller cum family saga into English, George Henson made it an Oulipian exercise by keeping the English text under 1,000 words as well. Shimmering with poignancy, the multi-layered story delivers a powerful allegory about the blood ties that bind even when broken—the concatenation of islands we will nevertheless always be.

“To translate means, therefore, not only to exercise extreme vigilance over the movements of the original text, but above all to scrutinize the limits of one’s own language, as it creeps up to the original.” Via co-translators Rebecca Falkoff and Stiliana Milkova, Anita Raja’s magnificent essay frames “Translation as a Practice of Acceptance ” and argues that the translator’s greatest resource must be her own inventiveness.

The excerpts from Guillermo Fadanelli’s In Praise of Vagrancy, translated by Alice Whitmore, move easily between meditations on umbrellas and Gadamer’s interpretation of philosophy. Suspicious of the systematic, the essay “reflects a childlike freedom that catches fire, without scruple, on what others have already done.” The world is Fadanelli’s plaything, and he holds it up to the light, for the reader to inspect.

How to live with the shadow of absence? Poupeh Missaghi’s sensitive rendering of Habibe Jafarian‘s “A Son’s Story” conveys the voice of Sadr-ed-din, one of the sons of the great Shiite religious leader Mousa Sadr, who vanished on a trip to Libya in 1978. Jafarian describes the uncertainty faced by the son of this great man, whose unresolved disappearance haunts both those he has left behind and readers of this elegiac piece.

Vicente Huidobro’s “Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven” is a stunning prose poem based on the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Pushing metaphor to its limits, Huidobro turns figurative language into an actual geography of eros and loss: “—Isolde, Isolde, how many miles separate us, how much sex between you and me.” In this excerpt, translators Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong offer us a glimpse into the sumptuous work of one of Chile’s foremost avant-garde poets.

Martin Rock and Joe Pan’s “relational field” translations of Nenten Tsubouchi’s haiku are, in a word, dazzling. Poetic and homophonic versions, diagrammatic renderings, and prose commentary weave together like a web to pull you into each haiku and then turn you out—inside out, so you can read anew the poems and think anew about translation.


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