Translation Events Coming Your Way in NYC

Here’s what’s on tap this week and next:

• Thursday Nov. 14 – Saturday, Nov. 16: New Literature from Europe Festival. Not really a translation event strictly speaking, since the authors are appearing without their translators this year, but a good chance to hear the work of nine outstanding writers representing nine European countries, and the two main events will at least be moderated by a translator (Michael F. Moore). Oh, and representing Germany will be Ilja Trojanow, a really splendid writer whose life got more complicated last month after he wrote an article criticizing the NSA and as a result was refused permission to board an airplane to the U.S.; apparently his travel ban has now been lifted, at least for the time being (I wouldn’t count on his keeping his mouth shut in the future either). The festival kicks off with a big reading at the Center for Fiction at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 17 E. 47th St. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

• Friday, Nov. 15: Polish poet Anna Frajlich will join her translator Ross Ufberg for a trilingual reading (Polish, Russian, English) and discussion about the translation of poetry.  This one’s an afternoon event, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Columbia University campus: International Affairs Building, Room 1219 (Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room).

• Also Friday, Nov. 15: Brooklyn Rail Fiction editor Donald Breckenridge (a long-time lover and supporter of literature in translation) hosts a “crafted reading” of a translation-in-progress (first ever into English) of the Marquis de Sade’s novel Aline and Valcour by Jocelyne Geneviève Barque and John Galbraith Simmons. To be presented by Allan Graubard and Caroline McGhee featuring music by Cole Porter. Mellow Pages Library, 56 Bogart St. (Morgan stop on the L), 7:00 p.m.

• Wednesday, Nov. 20: The Bridge Series is back, this time in a co-presentation with Two Lines Press of two acclaimed translators from the French, Charlotte Mandell and Jordan Stump, presenting The Fata Morgana Books by Jonathan Littell (Mandell) and All My Friends by Marie NDiaye (Stump). This reading/discussion will be held at the Bridge’s usual venue, McNally Jackson Books at 52 Prince Street, but with a later start time than usual: 8:00 p.m. More details here.

• Saturday, Nov. 23: In connection with a thrilling new exhibition of manuscripts by Robert Walser and Emily Dickinson at the Drawing Center in Soho, I’ll be speaking about translating Walser’s microscripts as part of a little celebratory symposium around the launch of The Gorgeous Nothings, a facsimile edition of Dickinson’s “envelope poems” co-edited by poet Jen Bervin and Marta Werner and with an essay by Susan Howe, all of whom will be participating as well. I’m part of this party because Microscripts was the catalog for the Walser portion of this exhibition three years avant la [handwritten] lettre. 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. at the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street.

• Also on Saturday, Nov. 23 is a symposium at Poet’s House on Occitan poetry entitled Trobadors – featuring readings, discussions, a musical-poetical performance and a “Gascon Dinner” – that unhappily does not contain the word “translation” anywhere in its write-up, but several of the participants (Pierre Joris, Deborah Kapchan, Richard Sieburth) are well-known translators, so my guess is that translation and the discussion thereof will play a role. Reservations required, especially if you’d like to stay for dinner. See the Poet’s House website for the full program, reservation instructions and other details. 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., 10 River Terrace at Murray St.

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  1. Pierre Joris says:

    Oh yes, Susan, of course the Occitan event features translation (sitting here right now working on some of them) — it is so much core to the event that we plumb forgot to mention it! My humble apologies — Pierre

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