Join us for a night of translation as we welcome award winning translators and writers: Fady Joudah, Sinan Antoon, Susan Bernofsky, Jeffrey Yang, and Ghassan Zaqtan. Renowned writers in their own right, they will read literature spanning China and Japan to new innovations in Palestinian poetry, including work by Mahmoud Darwish and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, arguably two of the most significant world writers in recent years. Ghassan Zaqtan‘s tenth poetry collection Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me has been lauded by critics as representative of the next generation of Arabic poetics. Yale Younger Poet Fady Joudah will read his translation of Ghassan Zaqtan’s work while Zaqtan recites selections in the original Arabic. Cole Swensen says Joudah’s “brilliant translations capture not only sense, sound, and rhythm, but also pulse, infusing the English language with a new sensibility.”
Iraqi American poet and novelist Sinan Antoon will read his translation of In the Presence of Absence, by the late Mahmoud Darwish, well regarded as Palestine’s national poet. Antoon has written intensively on war and living under totalitarian regimes, including the widely translated fictional prison memoir I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody. Antoon was nominated for the 2004 PEN Translation Prize for his translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry. Susan Bernofsky will read The Naked Eye by Yoko Tawada, an edgy, surreal urban fabulist praised by Wim Wenders and likened to Haruki Murakami. Distinguished for her work in bringing Robert Walser to English audiences, Bernofsky reportedly encountered difficulty translating Tawada, who wrote The Naked Eye, since Tawada wrote the novel in pieces, parts in German and others in Japanese, translating each until they completed each other. Poet Jeffrey Yang, the author of An Aquarium and Vanishing- Line, will read translations of Nobel Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo’s June Fourth Elegies: Poems. Liu Xiaobo has written a poem each spring since the Tiananmen Square protests, mourning the lives lost under violent state repression.
This event will be moderated by Iranian-American poet and author Roger Sedarat, a professor of creative writing, poetry, and literary translation in the MFA program at Queens College.
*This event is co-sponsored by Archipelago Books, a not-for-profit literary press dedicated to promoting cross-cultural exchange through international literature in translation