A Translator’s List

I remember being impressed by a couple of lists of English words that Joanne Turnbull had compiled while working on her translations of Krzhizhanovsky’s The Letter Killers Club and Autobiography of a Corpse. In going through some of the books left by Michael Henry Heim (see my earlier posts on this here and here), I… Continue reading A Translator’s List

Teaching Undergrad Translation 2.0

Well, actually this is probably more like 5.0, since I taught a number of translation-focused undergrad courses at the University of Iowa between 2007 and 2012 or so, but this will be 2.0 for Indiana, where I taught this course, very humbly titled “How to Translate Anything,” for the first time in Spring 2022. That… Continue reading Teaching Undergrad Translation 2.0

Post-National Book Awards

I recently read for the National Book Awards in the translated literature category. It was a lot of work but also gave me the chance to read many excellent new translations, which is one of the main reasons I agreed to serve on the jury. The committee, which besides me included Nick Buzanski (our spreadsheet… Continue reading Post-National Book Awards

Menard’s Severyanin

Variaciones Borges recently published the latest installment of the Pierre Menard translations that I’ve been slowly working on. (Sincere thanks to Daniel Balderston for asking whether I had any more of those Menard pieces in the works. I did and I do.) This one re-frames a poem by a self-styled genius, ego-futurist Igor Severyanin, whose… Continue reading Menard’s Severyanin

Si Lalo Si

Ba Ren Chi recently topped 10,000 listens on Jamendo, and of the two pieces way out in front, this old tribute to the great Lalo Schifrin, which I gave the title “Lalo Si” when I wrote it around 1997, keeps tempting me to go back and tinker. The piano still sounds good, but there are… Continue reading Si Lalo Si

Life of Ivanna

The most ironic aspect of the 2021 documentary Life of Ivanna is Ivanna’s dream of having her own place, which actually pushes the film along its main trajectory. This claim requires a little context. Ivanna is a twenty-six-year-old Nenets mother of five living, at the beginning of the film, on the Taimyr Peninsula in the… Continue reading Life of Ivanna

Grand Inquisitors

Excerpting Dostoevsky’s “Legend of the Grand Inquisitor” for my Introduction to Russian Culture (lower level general education class), I find two relatively recent translations available online in a reasonable format for class. One is the Pevear and Volokhonsky version, which provides the whole chapter, the other a slightly condensed version of David McDuff’s 1993 translation… Continue reading Grand Inquisitors

Cold War Women’s (Reproductive) Rights

My reasoning is by analogy and somewhat backwards. If Mary Dudziak is right about Cold War civil rights (and I believe she is), then what one would expect to happen after the end of the Cold War would be a lessening of the federal government’s pressure on states to behave well. The Voting Rights Act… Continue reading Cold War Women’s (Reproductive) Rights