Thalia Pandiri


After a special issue on translation in Sub-Saharan languages and literatures (Spring 2002) we are once again offering a general issue which includes translations of poetry and prose from a wide range of languages and cultures. Some (including poems by Villon and Quasimodo translated into English, and of Emily Dickinson translated into Spanish) are re-translations of familiar texts, but most of the authors featured in this issue are unfamiliar to English readers, and many of them are contemporary. James O'Brien presents two modern masters of the Japanese short lyric form. From Brazil and Portugal comes work by three very different artists whose individual styles have in common stylistic innovation and linguistic virtuosity. Alexis Levitin translates the exquisitely spare and evocative poetry of Carlos de Oliveira, whose series Stalactites (published here) and Lichens are reflections on poetry, especially as he writes it. Charles Cutler brings to us Adília Lopes, who refers to the disturbing and original, "nasty girl" poetry she writes as "little stories." If Lopes' poems are stories, the "fictions" of Zulmira Ribeiro Tavares are paragraph-long gems which we have treated as prose poems, publishing them bilingually.

Oppression, whether by a dictatorial regime or by the parameters imposed by international politics in the service of global capitalism (an enemy more ubiquitous and less visible); the struggle to survive with dignity; sorrow and anger over an enslaved beloved homeland and the people subjected to brutality and exploitation, are themes that shape—more or less overtly—the poetry of Chilean Juan Cameron (translated by Cola Franzen) and of the virtually unknown Colombian activist Consuelo Avila, presented here by Lorena Terando. Radically different from the moving but naive poetic voice of Avila is the work of Romanian poet Radu Andriescu, who has collaborated with Adam J. Sorkin in translating his poetry and prose poems into English for the first time. His poems also convey an intensity of feeling, but they reveal a sophistication and educated worldliness wholly foreign to Avila (though not to Cameron) despite the apparently colloquial, sometimes slangy style Andriescu uses so masterfully, as immediate and casual as an email to a friend.

Also new to the pages of this journal is internationally acclaimed Basque author Bernardo Atxaga, who translates his own poetry and prose from Euskera into Spanish, and who has recently composed poems in English as well. We are particularly grateful to have some of his work in this issue, and to have him introduced by Reyes Lázaro to those of our readers who do not know his work.

Stephanie Kraft, who has introduced short fiction by contemporary Polish writers to our readers in previous issues, offers a short story by Kornel Filipowicz. Two Colombian writers, Hernando Tellez and Julio Paredes, are also likely to be new to many of our readers. While Mikhail Bulgakov is well known, the adaptation of his novel Master and Margarita for the stage by actor, director and writer Veniamin Smekhov, long the moving force behind Moscow's innovative Taganka theater is wholly new to non-Russian audiences. From Greece, the work of ten contemporary fiction writers translated by several hands affords a small glimpse of the contemporary Greek literary scene. This special section on the Greek short story is introduced by award-winning translator and comparatist Martin McKinsey.

Several exciting newly translated works, by Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobson, Amazonian poet-novelist Nicomedes Suarez-Arauz and Macedonian poet Bogomil Gjuzel, are reviewed in this issue. We hope you will be inspired to seek them out; all three of these handsome and well-translated books have been published recently and are readily available.

We are very gratified by the quantity of submissions we have been receiving, and by the quality of the issues we are able to produce, thanks to the work and dedication of many different people: our contributing editors, our many anonymous readers whose careful reviewing and editorial suggestions make it possible for us to set high standards; the student interns without whom production would be impossible; those like Shawn Lindholm at the Translation Center at the University of Massachusetts and Joanne Cannon at the Center for Foreign Languages and Cultures at Smith College who offer us technical support with patience and generosity. We are grateful also to the authors and publishers who have given us permission to reprint source texts and to publish translations, and we would also like to thank Lee Hall for permission to reprint her photographs and Nikos Houliaras for permission to reproduce his original art work. As always, I am grateful to Melinda Kennedy for her professionalism as an editor, her unflagging dedication to Metamorphoses, and her friendship and support. She has long been and continues to be the guardian angel of this journal. Any errors of judgment in this issue are, I fear, mine. And of course we are grateful to you our readers and subscribers, for you material and intellectual support. Without you we could not go on.

The Spring 2003 issue will be dedicated to Francophone literature, and will be guest-edited by David and Nicole Ball. The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2003. We welcome submissions of translations of literature written in French outside of France, and by writers and poets living in France, but whose work reflects their post-colonial heritage. We are interested in literature written in non-standard French and Francophone idioms such as Creole, Cadien and Quebecois, and by work in standard French from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and North America. Translations of work by non-French Europeans will not be excluded. (For the Call for Papers, visit our web site:

A general issue is planned for Fall 2003. All submissions must be received by March 15, 2003 but will be considered as they arrive, at any time before that date.

We hope you will find the present issue interesting and that you will give us your support not only as subscribers and readers but as contributors of new work.