Anomalous 7: Translation

Well, despite all sorts of technical difficulties including no internet this week, we launched the newest, latest issue of Anomalous! And I’m so happy about this issue. It has some really amazing artwork by Mike Edrington, for starters: After Life, a series of photographs made at the University of Iowa Natural History Museum and super eerie.

It also has one of the coolest translation features we’ve done. Last year I read engulf — enkindle by Anja Utler translated by Kurt Beals (Burning Deck) and it shook my world. I loved it so much I contacted Kurt to see if he had more work available, and we’ve been working together, along with Anja and our amazing programmer Greg Altman, to develop an interactive interface to present more of her poems. And so we give you Carried Out by Anja Utler translated by Kurt BealsThe text plays with the silence and blankness between languages, appearing and disappearing depending on where you click, some parts legible in English while others remain in German, and then switch. Click around and try it:

And when I draw, the trees reach out from their
soft tips, branch, swarm, out from
them and beyond, they: whip white
in the air, some bright on their
backs and me — I, I have finished
and drive them out. Then stay back, dark for us
alone, we; we have finally touched.

We have some other awesome translation works. Adrenaline Memory  by Melina Kamerić transalted by Jen Zoble from Serbo-Croatian deals with memory during and after times of war. It’s read deliciously by Jen. Definitely listen to this one:

Sometimes my memory is like a film in slow motion. So slow that it gets stuck on a single image. Other times it’s so fast that color and sound blur together. I remember the occasional odor. Of fear, the uncertainty of shivering skin. I remember the feeling, and almost nothing else.

Our third translation piece, translator and editor extrodinnaire Russell Valentino discovers and presents Pierre Menard‘s takes on an Alexander Blok poem. The multiple versions, reproduced precisely from Menard’s own manuscripts, are of immense value to those interested in Menard’s body of work. Valentino explores his meticulous and excruciatingly detailed process of translation as an act of re-writing, in order to reach the ultimate perfection of translation: the original.

That he translated into English with some dexterity should not be surprising, given his background on his mother’s side and the fact of his relocation, albeit temporarily, to England. Of particular note is the palimpsest quality of the final version, which contains hints and scratches of Blok’s original, though with the subtle alterations familiar from his life-long, if largely hidden, work on the Quixote.

And our fourth translation piece is a crazy work of poetry/prose apparent story i by Gastón Fernández translated from Spanish by Brandon Holmquest. It’s really really hard to talk about. It’s a complex, surreal narrative, typographically weird, repetitive, and hypnotic. Brandon does such an awesome job translating it, and reading it, the intense rhythms are almost overpowering:

there are palm trees in the hotel dining room in Río. Midday, he’s just arrived. Three on each broad side of the table, one of them him, one on each end. There are eight of us. I don’t like palm trees.
Do you like the music?
Sometimes, once in a while, I feel like nothing’s happened. Eyes closed, a feeling as of floating, or having already floated in the shadows and being sure of having known caverns in the air. There’s a photographic machine on the Colombian’s bed, he’s a kid they say, do we get to see him…? known dark caverns in the air.

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