Uljana Wolf’s work, translated by Susan Bernofsky, excerpts from DICTHionary. A German-English Dictionary of False Friends, True Cognates, and Other Cousins, is like the best of the work jubilat always gives us, inventive, unusual, confusing, smart, and full of itself—always in the best sense. Here, dictionary letters and their representative words are followed by prose poems that play out the letters in clever streams of connected and disconnected images and opinions.
(Remember when you were a kid and you learned a new word, and suddenly you started seeing it everywhere? Didn’t I just say, not more than a few weeks ago, how taken I was with work by the provocative German poet Uljana Wolf while reviewing the first issue of Telephone? Is there a reason she is all of the sudden…everywhere? Or at least everywhere I look.)
Equally provocative and jubilat-like, a translation of South Korean poet Kim Hyesoon’s hybrid work (by Don Mee Choi); and poems by Joyelle McSweeney and Ken Chen. Of particular interest this issue, is a group of responses to the questions about American poetry reprinted from a Poetry Society of America survey, from K. Silem Mohammad, Julie Carr, Srikanath Reddy, Danielle Pafunda, Brent Cunningham, and Arielle Greenberg.
This issue includes, as well, an interview with Rae Armantrout, whose poem “Across,” is one of my favorite entries in the issue: “Of course ‘across’ / is metaphorical”; translations by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman of work by Martinique poet Aimé Césaire (1913-2008); and—wonder of wonders and thank you, jubilat, excerpts of Muriel Rukeyser’s verse biography of Wendell Willkie, One Life. I love Rukeyser, and despite what you might think, she’s very jubilat-like, too, pushing the boundaries, questioning the literary status quo, and creating her own hybrid possibilities.