Biographies of Contributors



PAUL VALÉRY (1871-1945). As a young symbolist writer, he came under the influence of Mallarmé, who was to be his cherished friend and mentor. In 1892 after an emotional crisis, he gave up poetry for scientific and philosophical studies for twenty years during which he produced some important prose works. He was then persuaded by André Gide in1912 to return to poetry, and revised and published his collection of old poems, The Album of Early Verse (1920). This followed in publication but not in composition The Young Fate (1917), a long interior monologue tracing through the course of a night the heroine's modulations of consciousness, a lifelong preoccupation to which Valéry would devote tens of thousands of journal pages (his Cahiers). In 1922 he published his most important and well-known collection of poetry, Charms, which includes his most famous poem, "The Graveyard by the Sea." Thereafter, he returned once more to his philosophical reflections, which have become of increasing interest. As a poet he pursued a highly musical, intellectual poetry, which eschewed the free verse of his contemporaries for a formality and purity of which he remains among the last proponents.

STOYAN VALEV is a Bulgarian novelist (When God Was On Leave; Time To Be Unfaithful; The Bulgarian Decameron), short-story writer and playwright.

LAJOS VARGA (b. 1932, Hungary) Poet, essayist. Studied Hungarian language and literature at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, taught in a Gimnazium in Budapest until 1956; then imprisoned for three years for "subversive views," communicated to his students. Not published during the Communist regime until the early 1990s.

PAULA VARSANO is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Smith College. A specialist in classical Chinese poetry and poetics, she taught until 1997 at the Université de Montréal, where she became acquainted with the arts and literature of Québec. She has just completed a book on the Chinese poet Li Bo, Tracking the Banished Immortal: The Poetry of Li Bo (701-762) and its Critical Reception, currently in press. Her translation of François Jullien's book on Chinese philosophy and aesthetics, Éloge de la fadeur (In Praise of Blandness) is also due to appear this year.

CARMEN VÁSCONES' most recent book is a Collected Poems called Oasis of Voices (2011-Casa de la Cultura). Translations of her poetry by Alexis Levitin appear in Birmingham Poetry Review, Bitter Oleander, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Per Contra, Moon City Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Osiris, Mandorla, and Mid-American Review.

PILAR VÁZQUEZ (Madrid, 1952), editor and translator, holds a degree in Modern Philology from the Universidad Complutense, Madrid. She translates from French and English into Spanish for prestigious Spanish publishing companies (Alianza, Taurus), the press (El País) and cultural institutions (Friends of the Prado Museum Foundation, The National Art Center Reina Sofia). In 2000 the British Centre for Literary Translation of the University of East Anglia (Norwich) awarded her a fellowship to the School of English and American Studies. Mary McCarthy, Tracy Chevalier, Mark Spragg, Sarah Schulman, Alan Lightman, Henry Roth, Tobias Wolff and especially John Berger are among the authors she has translated. Her next project is a translation into Spanish of Berger's most recent book, Here is Where We Meet.

ALEJANDRO EVANGELISA VÁZQUEZ DE MOREIRAS was born in A Coruña, Spain, but studied primary and secondary education and two years of aeronautical engineering in Dublin, Ireland. He holds an Airline Pilot Transport Licence and is an Aeronautical English language examiner. He is fluent in English, Spanish, Gaelic and Galician. He currently works as an English teacher in A Coruña and translates the poetry of Luz Pozo Garza and Elisa Vázquez de Gey.

ORHAN VELI (ORHAN VELI KANIK, 1914-1950) was born in Istanbul, where he worked as a translator and died at the age of thirty-six. A popular poet, founder of the Garip Movement Together with Oktay Rifat and Melih Cevdet, he founded the Garip ("strange") Movement, also known as the First New Movement, rejecting the ornate stylistic conventions of traditional poetry in favor of simple, straightforward vernacular language.

TOMAS VENCLOVA (1937- ) Born in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Studied Philology at the University of Vilnius, then Semiotics and Russian Literature with Yury Lotman at Tartu University. A prominent dissident poet and intellectual, he was forced to leave his country and come to the West in 1977. He received his PhD from Yale in 1985 and has taught at many distinguished universities, including the University of Vilnius, UC Berkeley, Ohio University, UCLA, Harvard University, and, for the past nineteen years, Yale. He has written dozens of articles, three scholarly books, and contributes to the New York Review of Books and The New Republic. Venclova's several books of poetry have been published in his native Lithuanian and also translated into several other languages, including English, Polish, Hungarian, and Slovenian. Stanislaw Baranczak calls him "not only the best living poet of the Lithuanian language, but also the best poet that Lithuania has ever had." He received international literary prize Vilenica in 1990 and an honorary PhD from the University of Lublin in 1991. His most recent book of poetry, Winter Dialogue, was published in English in 1997 and includes a forward by the late Joseph Brodsky and an epistolary dialogue between Venclova and Czeslaw Milosz about their shared connection with Vilnius.

ILIAS VENEZIS (1904-1973) was a novelist and short-story writer and a member of the "Aeolian School" of Greek writers, which is known for works that capture the spirit Greek life, especially the wrenching effects on society and individuals of the Asia Minor Catastrophe of 1921. His most famous novel, Aeolian Earth (1943), chronicles—in a poetic and moving style—the experiences of a young boy much like himself growing up in Asia Minor. His first novel, Number 31328 (1924), is a thinly veiled autobiography detailing Venezis's own experience in a Turkish detention camps at the time of the Asia Minor Catastrophe.

VERGIL (PUBLIUS VERGILIUS MARO) (70-19 B.C.E.), Roman poet, was born near Mantua, Italy. His early work, The Eclogues (37 B.C.E.), idealized rural life. His Georgics (30 B.C.E.) is a didactic poem of rural life exalting labor. His last work, The Aeneid, was intended as a national epic, narrating the legend of Trojan exile Aeneas as he settled what would become Rome.

BELLA VERNIKOVA grew up in the Brezhnev era and was convinced of the need for a Perestroika in Soviet Russia long before its finally occurring. She was born and raised in Odessa, the Black Seaport famous for musical prodigies, smugglers, gangsters; its mud and dirt; and for its heroic defense against the Nazis in World War II. Her love for her city is an important theme and gainsays an underlying disillusionment. Her work has appeared in leading Soviet literary magazines such as Raduga (Rainbow) and Yunost (Youth).

BORIS VIAN (1920-1959) Poet, novelist, playwright, translator, singer, jazz musician, composer and "Prince of the St.-Germain-des-Prés" artist quarter in Paris. As opposed to Sartre and others, Vian refused to be "engagé" and co-founded the Collège de Pataphysique to mock the literary establishment. Boris Vian has been an idol of French youth, especially for his surrealist love story L'Ecume des Jours (Froth on a Daydream) and for his anti-War song "Le déserteur." Suffering from a heart condition, Vian tried to sleep as little as possible to benefit from life to the utmost. He calculated that at the age of forty, he would have lived as long as someone 102 years old who had slept normally. "Je suis Snob" is one of his many recordings, and the translation is meant to be sung just as the original.

PETER VIERECK (1916-2006) Poet, translator, and professor of Russian history at Mount Holyoke College. Received Guggenheim fellowships in both poetry and prose and the Pulitzer Prize for his book of poems Terror and Decorum.

CLAUDE VIGÉE was born at Biscwiller, Alsace, in 1921, into a Jewish family that had settled in the region three centuries earlier. When the Nazis occupied Alsace, he and his family were forced from their home. By now a medical student, he helped organize the Jewish resistance movement in Toulouse during the Vichy period (1940-1942). His first poems were published in the Resistance journal, Poésie 42. In late 1943 he entered the United States as a refugee. There he earned a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures and held teaching appointments at Ohio State University and at Brandeis University. In 1950, he published his first book of poems, La lutte avec un ange (Wrestling with an Angel). Other volumes followed and in 1972 a volume of collected poems (1939-1971) entitled, Le soleil sous la mer. In 1970 he arrived in Israel where, as Professor of French and Comparative Literature, he taught at Jerusalem's Hebrew University until his retirement in 1983. Claude Vigée's work has won various prizes both within and outside France.

BRANCA VILELA writes in both Spanish and Galician. About to publish her third book of poetry, she has won several literary prizes in Spain. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies and she participates actively in regional, national, and international cultural initiatives. Her poetry is steeped in the imagery of the rugged Galician coasts and seas. These poems come from her book Anclas varadas en la memoria (Anchors Beached in Memory) which we are in the process of translating.

RENÉ VILLARD was a Breton journalist, English teacher, and military interpreter on the Somme front during the World War I. In 1939, he published a single volume of poems, De l'aube au crépuscule (From Dawn to Dusk) with a preface by his schoolmate, colleague, and friend, Max Jacob. He died in 1940.

LARA VILLARO was born in La Plata, Argentina in 1976. Binario, her first book of poetry, was published in 2005. Her poems and short prose have appeared in journals and literary anthologies in Argentina, and on online literature and poetry portals including Tuerto Rey and Diagonautas. In 2006 she participated in the "Newest Platense Poets" roundtable in La Plata and received the National Poetry Award from the Regamolina Institute in Buenos Aires. Most recently, she was invited to read her work at the International Poetry Festival 2008 in Rosario, Argentina. She holds a degree in Social Work from the University of La Plata, and is currently writing her first novel.

FRANÇOIS VILLON (1431-1463?), whose poetry represents some of the most enduring lyrics in French literature, was a university graduate; but he was also an alleged murderer and thief. Imprisoned on at least three occasions, his criminal activities are known mainly from police records of the times. Sentenced to be hanged along with accomplices for a robbery in 1456, he was spared by a parliamentary decree in 1463 and banished from Paris for ten years. This is the last known fact about Villon's life. His extant works are: The Legacy (1456), The Testament (1461), and some miscellaneous poems, mostly ballades, some written in the slang of the Parisian underworld.

ATTI VIRAGH was born in Budapest and graduated from Columbia University, where he was a recipient of the Van Rensselaer Prize for poetry. He is currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley.

ELIO VITTORINI Born 1908 in Sicily, lived most of his life in Milan (died 1966) where he worked as editor, translator and leader of the Resistance among the intelligenzia. Like most of his friends, he spent a year in prison for his writings. Best known in the U.S. for In Sicily (New Directions 1949).

BRONISLAVA VOLKOVÁ (born 1946, Decín, Czechoslovakia) Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, she directs the Czech Studies Program. Between 1984 and 1993, she published four volumes of poetry in PmD Publications, Munich, revealing a voice that modulates the emotional inflections of Czech speech with delicacy and deftness. The poet Miroslav Holub has likened her to free verse to "the threads of a spider web stretched in an open space." A selection of her poems in her own translation appeared in 1993. (The Courage of the Rainbow, The Sheep Meadow Press, New York). The poem included here is from the forthcoming bilingual volume Vstup do svetla/Entering Light.

OLGA VOLKOVA is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at Indiana University, specializing in British and Russian Romanticism and Translation Studies. Her work has appeared in Dreiser Studies, Toronto Slavic Quarterly and NTU Studies in Language and Literature.

CHRISTINA VANDER VORST is a doctoral student in Romance Languages at the University of Oregon who is doing research on sub-Saharan literature of war.

LIANA VRAJITORU graduated with a PhD in English at the State University of New York in Binghamton and now teaches in the English Department at South Texas College, McAllen, Texas. Her translations of Traian T. Cosovei, Aurel Dumitrascu, Mariana Marin, and Elena Stefoi (all with Adam J. Sorkin) have appeared in Poetry New York, Faultline, Pif Magazine, Kalliope, The Kit-Cat Review, Smartish Pace, Runes, and Frigate.

BEB VUYK (1905-1991) Dutch-Indonesian writer; survived Japanese concentration camps in Java (including interrogation by the Kempetoi [Secret Police]). Way Baru is considered her masterpiece.