Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
(Well not until next summer, but still...) I got word today from Words Without Borders that they love my translation of Réquiem and are going to publish it in their "Homages" issue next July. I'm tremendously excited about this! I remember a line of Edith Grossman's to the effect that the way to be a translator is to assert that you are a translator, to just go ahead and do it; and now I feel like I am a translator, like I am going ahead and doing it. I also heard from John Carvill of the brand-new site oomska that he wants to publish my translation of Pablo Antonio Cuadra's "Black Boat". This is great... I think I will look around for a new story to start working on, maybe something by Soledad Puértolas.
Monday, July 18th, 2011
My copy of the forthcoming issue of Two Lines -- journal of the Center for the Art of Translation -- arrived in today's mail. A nice feeling to see my name there; my translation of the first chapter of The Art of Resurrection is my first contribution to Two Lines, hopefully there will be more to come.
And -- well, this seems like some kind of sign to me, to me who is always looking for portents: The editor's note from Luc Sante mentions in its second sentence "the late Kenneth Koch, one of my greatest teachers" -- so soon after I'd been thinking about Koch in the context of translation...
Thursday, September first, 2011
The September issue of Words Without Borders is online today; the featured story is my translation of Requiem, by Slavko Zupcic.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
“War is hell,” said Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration: he said it following the killing of 16 civilians, among them children, by a deranged sergeant in the Afghan province of Kandahar. This massacre unleashed on the world a series of images that one cannot look at without being reminded of similar massacres from the Vietnam War — for instance, My Lai.
The Utopian's blog publishes my translation of Vásquez' latest column for El Espectador: the original is "Los Avergonzados", from last Thursday.
-- "Shame", by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
On the subject of shameful killings: Founderstein's Michael Austin has exactly the right take on the killing of Treyvon Martin in Florida last month. (via Russell Arben Fox)
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
— Death takes us all. — That was all we would say when customers asked us how we had made the decision to go into the funeral home business here next to the medical school, when they asked us how we could have chosen such a name for our business as Bárbula Copies.
Sunday, April first, 2012
My latest endeavor into translation hits the streets today: To Troy, Helen, by Fernando Iwasaki. This is my second translation to appear in Words Without Borders; their April issue is devoted to fiction about sex. (The sentence they pick as the header for the story, "She had undressed me then as if she were peeling a piece of fruit," is nice. It's one of a couple of Iwasaki's similes that I find I can't precisely grasp but that I still have enough of a muddled understanding of to render well. And it gives a nice sense of the story's verbal feel.)
Monday, April 30th, 2012
I got word yesterday that Metamorphoses, the journal of literary translation at Smith College, accepted my translation of Slavko Zupcic's story, "Tescucho, Italia" -- nice! This is the first piece that I have had accepted after submitting it to a couple of magazines and being rejected. Glad I kept sending it out. It will appear in the fall 2013 issue of Metamorphoses.
Saturday, July 14th, 2012
Strange -- the first impression I am getting from Aaron Bady's essay on García Márquez
(well besides noting his really extraordinary observation about Von Humboldt’s Personal Narrative) (and well, besides the insistent impulse that it be linked to in the same breath as to Juan Gabriel Vásquez' essay on literary influence and misunderstandings) is that it ought to be rendered in Spanish, that it could make really pleasant reading in Spanish. Some initial fumblings below the fold.
El otoño del patriarca: olvidar vivir por Aaron Bady
Cuando los críticos intentan explanar el génesis del Cien años de soledad (que es él mismo un tipo Génesis), encontramos en general dos modos fáciles de acceso: el joven Gabo transcribe los cuentos fabulosos de la abuela, así concibe en los orígenes modestos de la cultura colombiana, un modernismo del Realismo Mágico. O también, hay la Revolución Faulkneriana y su relato, que Pascale Casanova y sus discípulos proponen: acá demuestra el William Faulkner un modo particular de ser escritor en lugar periférico; y así ha el García Márquez aprendido a ser colombiano por leer el Mississippi , se ha juntado al Modernismo a través de imitar los Modernistas quienes lo precedían. Y también podríamos adjuntar a esos el relato de García Márquez el periodista , y muchos otros también.
ENTREVISTADOR: Ya que discutabamos el periodismo, ¿cómo se siente ser de nuevo periodista, después de tan largo tiempo como novelista? ¿Le hace usted con otra sensibilidad o con otra visión? GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: Siempre he estado convencido de que mi profesión verdadera es periodista...
A mi me parece el segundo volumen de la Narración personal de viajes a los regiones equinocciales, durante los años 1799 a 1804
de Alexander Von Humbolt el punto perfecto de partida: el explorador y científico distinguido se sorprendió, mientras viajaba en la selva venezolana y eludía los tigres y anguilas eléctricas, en encontrar a un Ben Franklin selvático:
We found at Calabozo, in the midst of the Llanos, an electrical machine with large plates, electrophori, batteries, electrometers; an apparatus nearly as complete as our first scientific men in Europe possess. All these articles had not been purchased in the United States; they were the work of a man who had never seen any instrument,who had no person to consult, and who was acquainted with the phenomena of electricity only by reading the treatise of De Lafond,and Franklin’s Memoirs.
Senor Carlos del Pozo, the name of this enlightened and ingenious man, had begun to make cylindrical electrical machines, by employing large glass jars, after having cut off the necks. It was only within a few years he had been able to procure, by way of Philadelphia, two plates, to construct a plate machine, and to obtain more considerable effects. It is easy to judge what difficulties Senor Pozo had to encounter, since the first works upon electricity had fallen into his hands, and that he had the courage to resolve to procure himself, by his own industry, all that he had seen described in his books. Till now he had enjoyed only the astonishment and admiration produced by his experiments on persons destitute of all information, and who had never quitted the solitude of the Llanos; our abode at Calabozo gave him a satisfaction altogether new.
It may be supposed that he set some value on the opinions of two travelers who could compare his apparatus with those constructed in Europe. I had brought with me electrometers mounted with straw, pith-balls, and gold-leaf; also a small Leyden jar which could be charged by friction according to the method of Ingenhousz,and which served for my physiological experiments. Senor del Pozo could not contain his joy on seeing for the first time instruments which he had not made, yet which appeared to be copied from his own. We also showed him the effect of the contact of heterogeneous metals on the nerves of frogs. The name of Galvani and Volta had not previously been heard in those vast solitudes.
Tal vez conocen ya bueno éso los expositores García Márquezianos en español (tal vez me parezco al señor Pozo cuando inventaba de nuevo la rueda desde la periferia): no encuentro en el crítico inglés a ninguna referencia en este pasaje. Los paralelismos entre José Arcadio Buendía y el señor Carlos del Pozo son impresionantes, y impresionante es que ambos escritores llamen a la aspiración frustrada para estar a la vanguardia del descubrimiento científico como «soledad». Cien años de soledad
en un momento incluso se quita el sombrero a Von Humbolt, cuando el Melquíades senil vuelve repetidas veces en sus monólogos confusos al nombre del explorador del siglo XIX y también a la palabra «equinoccio», que es tropo Humboltiano.
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
A couple of things have been happening lately in the world of "poetry by J. Osner"... The chapbook of the Universidad Desconocida workshop was presented at the kickoff event for the workshop's second year. It features three of my poems and lots of beautiful writing from other students -- and I've just finished a translation of Isabel Zapata's "Sleepwalker's Lullaby" from the chapbook. ...Two of my poems (both from Analogies for Time) were published in Issue 5 of Street Voice (I think it is the first time I have ever appeared in a poetry journal), and I'm in touch with the editor about submitting some more work.
Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Marta Aponte Alsina's recent novellette Mr. Green is available on Kindle in Spanish; and now you can read the first few pages in my translation, at Tupelo Quarterly.
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