Looking for new books to read this year? Look no further with this edition of What’s New in Translation, featuring new releases translated from Kurdish, Dutch, and Spanish. Read on to find out more about Abdulla Pashew’s poems written in exile, Tommy Wieringa’s novel about cross-cultural identities, as well as Agustín Martínez cinematic thriller.
Dictionary of Midnight by Abdulla Pashew, translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, Phoneme Media (2018)
Review by Jacqueline Leung, Editor-at-Large for Hong Kong
Dictionary of Midnight is a collection of several decades of Abdulla Pashew’s poetry as he recounts the history of Kurdistan and its struggle for independence. Translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, the work includes a map of contemporary Iraq and a timeline of Kurdish history for those unfamiliar with the plight of the Kurds, something Pashew, one of the most influential Kurdish poets alive today, has taken upon himself to convey and to honor.
Today we bring you a poem from a lauded South Korean poet, Sin Yong-Mok, in a translation by Brother Anthony of Taizé that is sensitive to the sonorous aspects of Sin’s lines. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out the poetry section in the Winter 2018 issue of Asymptote.
God used up all the summer heat trying to sew the sound of rain inside rain. It was morning when, in order to retrieve one raindrop dropped by mistake, mists roamed the ground.
If there’s a leaky roof the water may be an abraded stone.
I enabled that stone to hear a sound of footsteps.
One day at an estuary I happened to pick up one raindrop. Nobody had stolen the sound of my footsteps.
Translated from the Korean by Brother Anthony of Taizé
In tribute to the total solar eclipse that was visible across the United States on Monday, we’re excited to present a poem written nearly 2500 years ago on April 6, 648 BC by Archilochus, a Greek lyric poet from the island of Paros who was well-known for composing poems based on his emotions and experiences. What remains of the poem Archilochus composed is a fragment that recounts a solar eclipse, where, needless to say, things get very weird very quickly. Translated by Aaron Poochigan.
Nothing’s unreasonable, nothing too much, nothing stunning,
now that Zeus the Father of the Gods has cloaked the light
to make it night at noontime, even though the sun was shining.
Terrible dread has fallen upon men. From here on out
all that we human beings have assumed will be in doubt,
and no one should be shocked to see, in briny acres, land
animals, walking creatures, having sex with dolphins, when
their four legs come to love the sounding waves more than the sand,
and dolphins with their flippers come to love a mountain glen.
Aaron Poochigan is the author of the thriller in verse Mr. Either/Or (www.mreitheror.com) and the poetry collection Manhattanite (www.aaronpoochigian.com).
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