November 21, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

MIa Couto
2014 Neustadt Prize Laureate Mia Couto

News, Reviews, and Interviews

Last weekend, PEN International asked the international literary community to stand in solidarity against censorship, recognizing several authors currently facing imprisonment for their works. This week, the Arabic Literature (in English) blog responds with additional imprisoned authors that deserve similar attention.

Helle Helle, arguably Denmark’s most widely-read author, was interviewed by English PEN this week about her writing process and working with translators, including how a single word can change an entire story.

The KGOU radio interview with 2014 Neustadt Laureate Mia Couto is now available to stream online! Listen now...

November 18, 2014 | Jeremiah Gentle

Blue wrinkled tarp. Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
“By staging their dialogue underneath the tarp’s camouflage, the play merges past and present.” Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

In June 2000 a group of soldiers from the Dominican Republic opened fire on, and killed, seven people in a tarp-covered truck they were pursuing in Guayubín. The cadavers of the six Haitians were buried in a common grave, virtually forgotten until a court ruling (albeit nonbinding) twelve years later found the Dominican Republic guilty of massacre (December 10, 2012, “Le Nouvelliste”).

Évelyne Trouillot’s The Blue of the Island brings these spirits back to life. By staging their dialogue underneath the tarp’s camouflage, the play merges past and present. The simple, often blasphemous, i...

November 14, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

Berlin Wall. Photo by Joede Sousa.
Photo by Joede Sousa

News, Reviews, and Interviews

This week, the world remembered the fall of the Berlin Wall, which took place 25 years ago on November 9, 1989. This week, the Mantle provided a summary of the PEN World Voices Festival, which focused on Central European literature since the fall. (For more on how literature has changed in Central Europe in the past 25 years, see our special section in the November 2014 issue.)

Jenny Erpenbeck, the German author who graces the cover of the November issue of WLT, talked about love, loss, and her new novel, The End of Days, with NPR during this week’s coverage of the Berlin Wall anniversary.

We sadly note the end of an empire: Glas, the Russian publishing house that has helped transl...

November 11, 2014 | John Felstiner

“Celan as Translator,” our huge and astonishing job here, could be taken over totally by a brilliant book sitting next to me. But Celan als Übersetzer (1997), has 623 pages of not easy German. To begin, here’s Paul Celan in middle life, with books:

Paul Celan

Within his studies, teaching, marriage, fatherhood, readings in Germany, and writing of poetry, translations took up much of the 1950s for Celan, and again in the 1960s. Many were paid jobs, others for his own interests, sometimes for both love and money. He translated over forty poets, plus Alain Resnais’s Night and Fog documentary and other items. He translated for Geneva’s International Labour Office and set translation exercises for students at the École Normale Supérieure. During nineteen months of forced labor, he wrote poems regularly while also translating Shakespeare sonnets, Verlaine, Yeats, Housman, Éluard, Esenin, and others. From then on his favored English-language poets were Shakespeare and Dickinson. ...

November 7, 2014 | Kaitlin Hawkins

Maaza Mengiste
Maaza Mengiste. Photo by Shevaun Williams

News, Reviews, and Interviews

Maaza Mengiste spoke with Mantle contributor Emmanuel Iduma this week about her photography projects, her writing process, and the inspiration behind her novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.

Two new issues of note to make sure you read this month: first, Poetry’s Translation issue, featuring works from Liu Xia, Ko Un, and Yves Bonnefoy; second, the Words Without Borders November issue, featuring contemporary Czech literature.

Last week, American poet Galway Kinnell passed away at the age of 87. This week, the Academy of American Poets remembered his life and poetry with an interactive farewell tribute on their...