Chaos, Crossing by Olivia Elias Translated by Kareem-James Abu-Zeid World Poetry Books, November 2022
In her English-language debut, with a foreword by Najwan Darwish, acclaimed French-language poet of the Palestinian diaspora Olivia Elias probes deeply into the upheavals of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Chaos, Crossing—translated by award-winning translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid—is a powerful chronicle of uprootedness, of times marked by inequality, injustice, and disconnection. These poems—presented here in a bilingual edition—seek the calm at the center of the storm, the still point amidst the chaos. Poet of the Palestinian diaspora, born in Haifa in 1944, Olivia Elias writes in French. She lived until she was 16 years old in Lebanon where her family took refuge in 1948, then in Montréal-Canada, before moving to France. Characterized by terse, laconic language and strong rhythms, her poetry shows a deep sensitivity to the Palestinian cause, the plight of refugees and human suffering in general. Her work, translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, has been published in numerous journals and in anthologies.
Night by Ennio Moltedo Translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz World Poetry Books, November 2022
Written during the Pinochet dictatorship but not published until democracy’s return, Ennio Moltedo’s Night is a masterpiece of controlled rage, mourning, resistance, and astonishing humor, and the first of his books to appear in English translation. Moltedo, whom Raúl Zurita called “one of the finest, greatest, most curious and honorable poets of Chile,” is at once lyrical and political, a dramatist, a historian, and a critic. Ennio Moltedo (1931-2012) spent his life in the small Chilean coastal cities of Valparaíso and Viñ a del Mar. Born to Genoese immigrants, he is a poet of the New World Mediterranean: inspired, chastened, and challenged by the ancients, and in conversation with his contemporaries, including Huidobro, Girondo, Neruda, and de Rokha. A revered “poet’s poet,” he published eight individual collections of poetry, as well as an anthology of Romanian poetry co-translated with Neruda, and a chronicle of Neruda’s life (Neruda: poeta del cerro Florida). Longtime director of the University of Valparaíso Press, Moltedo also wrote criticism, journalism, and text for books of visual art and cartoons.
Goddess of Water by Jeannette L. Clariond Trans. Samantha Schnee World Poetry Books, September 2022
Mexican poet Jeannette L. Clariond’s Goddess of Water draws upon Mesoamerican cosmogony to lament the present-day epidemic of femicides in Mexico. The author’s sixth book in English translation reconstructs the myth of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui, employing the lyricism of Nahuatl philosophy and investigating gender construction and fluidity in Aztec mythology. Printed in a bilingual edition, the cycle of poems is accompanied by a glossary of the Nahuatl words and Aztec concepts critical to its comprehension. In Samantha Schnee’s keen and urgent translation, this collection of poems presents a surprising window on an invisible war waged against thousands of Mexican women. Clariond astounds us with her ability to painstakingly analyze a phenomenon that has drawn attention around the globe. Translator Samantha Schnee is the founding editor of Words Without Borders. Her translation of Carmen Boullosa’s El libro de Eva, a finalist for the Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Novel Prize, will be published by Deep Vellum in 2023.
John Scotus Eriugena at Laon and Other Poems Poetry by Jacques Darras, Trans. Richard Sieburth World Poetry Books, September 2022
John Scotus Eriugena at Laon is the “long overdue volume” of Jacques Darras, celebrated French poet of place and nature, and prolific translator and scholar of American and British poetry. The title poem recounts the journey of a ninth-century Irish monk to the cathedral city of Laon in the heart of Picardy to translate a recently discovered Byzantine manuscript into Latin—the first such transmission of ancient Greek thought northward into Carolingian Europe. Eriugena’s pithy formulation of neo-Platonism—omnia quae sunt lumina sunt—echoes forth in Pound’s Pisan Cantos as “all things that are are lights.” This is the radiance that pulses through the theophanic nature poetry of Jacques Darras, celebrant of northern rivers, islands, seas, and bard of Picardy. His lifelong commerce with the English language as the translator of Shakespeare, Blake, Whitman, Pound, Bunting and MacDiarmid is here met by Richard Sieburth’s wide-ranging and award-winning forays into French. Richard Sieburth is the translator from the French of works by Nostradamus, Scève, Labé, Nerval, Baudelaire, Artaud, Leiris, and Michaux. His translations from the German include Hölderlin, Büchner, Benjamin, and Scholem. In addition, he is the editor of a number of Ezra Pound’s works.
Simultaneities and Lyric Chemisms Poetry by Ardengo Soffici, Trans. Olivia E. Sears World Poetry Books, September 2022
This publication is being heralded as “a vital reconstruction” of Italian Futurist poet Ardengo Soffici’s visual poetics, presented for the first time in English in Olivia E. Sears’s exacting translations with a foreword by Marjorie Perloff. With unexpected lyricism, buzzing between the entropic and the erotic, Soffici’s unrelenting poems manifest his milieu’s fascination with the metropolis. Guillaume Apollinaire called it “very important work, rich in fresh beauties.” This facsimile-style edition—with a foreword by Marjorie Perloff, helpful annotations, and an informative afterword by the translator—offers a glimpse into the vibrant early avant-garde, when modernity held tremendous promise. Ardengo Soffici (1879-1964) was an Italian painter, poet, and art critic associated with Florentine Futurism. Years spent in Parisian artistic circles spurred Soffici to champion an artistic renewal in Italy, introducing French impressionism and cubism and a vibrant magazine culture. Olivia E. Sears is a translator of Italian poetry and prose, specializing in avant-garde women writers. She founded the Center for the Art of Translation and the journal Two Lines, where she served as editor for twelve years.