Three Percent 2014 Best Translated Book Awards: Poetry Finalists

One of the finalists: Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets by Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova, translated from the Russian by Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Khasin, and Sibelan Forrester (Russia; Zephyr Press).

One of the finalists: Relocations: 3 Contemporary Russian Women Poets by Polina Barskova, Anna Glazova, and Maria Stepanova, translated from the Russian by Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Khasin, and Sibelan Forrester (Russia; Zephyr Press).

Three Percent has just announced the poetry finalists for 2014 Best Translated Book Awards. Check out the great lineup here.

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Archive of the Now

Dmitri Prigov's Videnie Kasparu Davidu Fridrikhu russkogo Tibeta

A worked discussed in my essay, Dmitri Prigov’s Videnie Kasparu Davidu Fridrikhu russkogo Tibeta (Caspar David Friedrich’s Vision of Russia’s Tibet). Reproduced with the permission of the Estate of Dmitri Prigov and Costanza Baldini.

I first attended the annual meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association a decade ago. It was a small affair gathering together a few hundred people on the somewhat desolate outskirts of Ann Arbor. In stark contrast, the ACLA’s latest annual meeting, held last month in downtown Manhattan, attracted over 3,000 delegates. In Ann Arbor, I remember hearing Haun Saussy launch a draft of the ACLA’s last once-a-decade Report on the State of the Discipline. Thanks partly to the intellectual excitement surrounding that event, I caught the ACLA bug and have attended most of the association’s annual conferences over the past ten years. I was not, however, able to travel to New York for the latest meeting and launch of the 2014–2015 report. I am therefore especially grateful to Jessica Berman and César Domínguez for giving me a virtual presence through an invitation to contribute to a still growing draft of the report, which is now online. My essay, “Archive of the Now,” takes its title from the wonderful multimedia website for innovative poetry run by Andrea Brady at Queen Mary, University of London. It begins with the curious story of how Brady’s website became collateral damage in a hacktivist action intended to target Internet research at Queen Mary funded by the UK Ministry of Defense.

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Giusi Tamburello on A Common Strangeness

I am very grateful to Giusi Tamburello for giving A Common Strangeness its first review in Italian, in the journal InVerbis. Tamburello describes A Common Strangeness as “un volume molto ricco e stimolante.” You can read her full review here.

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Andrea Bachner reviews A Common Strangeness

I was delighted to discover recently that Andrea Bachner has reviewed A Common Strangeness for CLEAR (Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews).  Bachner concludes the review very kindly: “If Edmond’s A Common Strangeness with its linguistic expertise, its cross-cultural scope, its masterful analyses, and its theoretical insights is at all indicative of the state of the discipline (or at least of some of the best work it can produce), I am not overly worried about the future of comparative literature.” Meanwhile, I can’t wait to read Bachner’s book Beyond Sinology: Chinese Writing and the Scripts of Culture, which has just come out from Columbia University and which promises to be a real treat.

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New issue of Deep South online

Deep South logo 2013A new issue of the University of Otago’s electronic literary journal Deep South is out now. Lynley Edmeades and Catherine Dale have done a wonderful job with the latest number. The site has at the same time been given a complete overall and fresh look by Gilbert May. May has also created a new index of past issues while thoughtfully preserving their individual look and feel. Those issues and their design are themselves a taonga or treasure for both New Zealand literature and those, like me, who are interested in literature’s intersection with the history of the World Wide Web.

For a while now, I’ve been suggesting that Deep South is New Zealand’s longest-running electronic literary journal, though I remain interested to hear from anyone who is able to cite a counterexample. The first issue went live in February 1995 and is still online in all its mid-1990s glory. This issue, then, predates what the National Library of Australia claims as Australia’s oldest archived webpage, a May 1995 edition of The Australian Observer. Of course, what the National Library is interested in is the date of archiving, rather than of creation or whether the page is still extant. Still, the oldest Deep South pages, which predate the Way Back Machine’s earliest snapshots of the web, have the genuine feel of 1990s web design in a way that is hard to replicate today.

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Chinese Literature Today reviews A Common Strangeness

CLT_Issue5_Cover_6“By putting texts of disparate cultural and even historical moments into physical proximity with one another, by reproducing and reading these artworks together in a powerful act of multilingual erudition, and by bring them into a generatively loose organization through the use of . . . literary theory, the book embodies some of the structures it describes: It is a lattice made from disparate materials, an oscillation between the global and particular, and a mobilization of the idiosyncratic and the complex against some of the basic narratives assumed to underpin the post–Cold War world.” ––Nick Admussen, Chinese Literature Today

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Helen Tartar

Photo by Bruce Gilbert

I was devastated to learn this morning of the death of Helen Tartar in a car accident. Over the coming days and weeks, there will no doubt be many tributes from eminent scholars and editors who knew Helen much better than I did. And if I can find the words, I will try to record some of my memories of her. But I want to say here simply that Helen was an exceptional editor and human being and that I was very privileged to have known her, if only a little. I owe her a great debt, not only for publishing a book whose failure to fit into the usual categories would have deterred many less fearless editors, but also for reminding me of the love of words and the passion for ideas that must be at the heart of scholarly publishing.

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