Thursday, January 16, 2014

Publication Updates + Reading @ Word, Jersey City (w/ Vincent Czyz)

In a previous post, I mentioned several forthcoming publications, and I now have the links. First, a snippet of my translation of Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer is now live at The White Review: excerpt from "Letters from a Seducer." I recommend browsing all the new posted links, which include Humphrey Davies' translation of an excerpt from Lebanese-Ottoman writer Ahmad Faris al-Shidaq's Leg Over Leg, self-translations of new poems by South African writer Antjie Krog, a snippet of Chinese writer Can Xue's Vertical Motion by Karen Gernant and Chen Zipeng, and an essay, entitled "Afterword: The Death of the Translator," by George Szirtes, poet and translator of Lászlo Krasnahórkai, which should part of the ongoing conversations in translation studies and comparative literature. (If you can find one in a nearby bookstore, I also highly recommend The White Review's Issue No. 9, which includes an interview with Russia's pathbreaking writer Vladimir Sorokin, and visual work by the late experimental filmmaker, poet and artist--and no relation!--Jeff Keen--no relation).

Also, one of the shorter (very brief) stories from my collection Counternarratives is now live at the venerable TriQuarterly, which is now a publication of the Northwestern University MFA Program in Creative Writing. "Mannahatta" imagines the moment in which João Rodrigues (Juan Rodriguez), thought to be the first non-native settler of Manhattan island (and thus New York), makes his decision not to return to the Dutch ship on which he works. I was particularly happy that this story, which I wrote last fall in the midst of teaching and administrating, has been published, and that TriQuarterly, which I have read and admired for many years, is the periodical doing so. Many thanks to them, and the piece includes a brief paragraph about Rodrigues in case you do not know who he is (and we all should).


Last night, at the invitation of poet and Culture Society publisher Zach Barocas, author and Rutgers-Newark alumnus Vincent Czyz and I read at Word Bookstore's new Jersey City branch, which Zach manages. Although the series aims to feature local poets reading poetry, both Vincent and I write prose as well, so we mixed things up a bit, making sure, however, to keep the "lyric" in play. Vincent read first and began with a beautiful prose poem, then read an excerpt of the first story in his collection Adrift in a Vanishing City, which I urge you to check out (and which Samuel R. Delany has praised in an essay on Vincent's work). 

I followed with a brief invocation of Amiri Baraka, then read two short excerpts from the Hilst, including the opening section published in The White Review. I concluded with a brand new poem, "Power," which I partially wrote during the wild, aleatory Red Rover Series reading, "The Vulnerable Rumble," organized and curated by Jennifer KarminLaura Goldstein and Laura Mullen at Outer Space Studio in Chicago as a special event for the Modern Language Association's annual conference. 

We fielded several questions from the good-sized midweek crowd--it's always heartening when people turn out for a reading on a Wednesday evening--and then chatted with attendees afterwards. One young man was seeking to find out ways of using technology to transcribe interviews and espousing ideas about the death of originality, so that when I suggested to him that he check out the work of Kenneth Goldsmith and Craig Dworkin, two names that came immediately to mind, it turned out that he had Goldsmith's Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in a Digital Age (Columbia University Press, 2011) in his pocket! 

Below are a few pictures of Zach and Vincent, and of Word, a store Jersey City and the surrounding area badly needs. Stop in, since it's accessible from all over New Jersey and New York City (it's just steps away from the PATH train stop at Grove Street), catch some of their events, but by all means, please buy some books there and support them if you can.

Zach Barocas, introducing the reading
Vincent Czyz, reading his work
And here are a few pictures from a couple weeks back, I think, shortly after the store's opening in December.
The café section of Word
A browser 
Another booklover 
The well-stocked shelves

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