Steve Donoghue writes in Open Letters Review: “His translation is so assuredly, handily superior to all its predecessors that it feels more like a starting point than an extension of tradition. […] In this painstakingly reckless rendition, The Steppenwolf reveals the odd, ungainly imaginative power that made it every bit the reading sensation its predecessor Siddhartha had been, a century ago. If Hermann Hesse is to find a new generation of readers, it will be through translations just like this one.”
Reviews of Franz Kafka: The Drawings
Franz Kafka: The Drawings has been getting excellent reviews! In Apollo Magazine, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst writes: “as windows into Kafka’s elusive, elliptical imagination they are fascinating.” And in Literary Review, George Prochnik says: “Wispy, thick, swirled and streaking, the dark lines burst outward, racing or splintering. The strongest impression one is left with while paging through this exquisitely produced volume of Kafka’s complete drawings is of minimally delineated figures in states of maximally dramatised unrest. […] In these drawings we see Kafka, unshackled from the cognitive cage of verbal meaning, remembering how to play.”
Franz Kafka: The Drawings
My latest translation Franz Kafka: The Drawings, will be out on May 31, 2022 from Yale University Press. The book includes more than 100 newly discovered drawings, plus texts (in my translation) by Andreas Kilcher and Pavel Schmidt, and an essay by Judith Butler. It’s a beautiful book (I just got my copies a few days ago!), and I can’t wait for it to be out there in the world!
Year-end praise for “Not a Novel”
My translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s latest book, Not a Novel, is included in World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2020, and it also made The Paris Review Staff’s Favorite Books of 2020!
Wireless Dada reviews
Wireless Dada has been getting some good reviews lately! In German Quarterly, Tobias Wilke writes: “Wireless Dada is an original and well-conceived contribution to the field of avant-garde studies, and more generally to the media-historical study of literature. The book combines the virtues of close textual analysis and broader discursive contextualization in ways that open up new vistas onto a number of much-discussed Dadaist texts.”
And Michael Subialka says in EuropeNow: “Wireless Dada helps us to uncover a new model for Dada poetics: the author is replaced with the transcriber, the cryptographer, the medium, and the telegraph operator. Not simply a movement protesting the destruction of war and the logic of industrial modernity leading to it, Dada is also a complex recognition of the new systems of information linking the globe and tying seemingly disparate creators into a network of vibrating voices filling the modern skies.”
Jenny Erpenbeck and I were both interviewed by David Naimon for his radio show and podcast Between the Covers — if you don’t know it already, he does great in-depth conversations with authors, and sometimes with their translators, too. The interview with Erpenbeck is online here. The bonus segments are generally only available to supporters, but he’s kindly given me permission to post the interview he did with me, so if you’re interested, have a listen!
Reviews of Not a Novel
My translation of Jenny Erpenbeck’s book Not a Novel is out this month from New Directions, and it’s already gotten some great reviews. Kirkus calls it “an ideal introduction to the life and work of an exceptional artist.” Lithub calls Erpenbeck “a powerful voice singing the past into the present’s melody.” Necia Chronister in World Literature Today says “The pieces in this collection are best savored one by one, and by taking time to consider Erpenbeck’s views on writing, artistic influence, social justice, the meaning of childhood, and more. Her words stay with you.” John Domini in The Washington Post says “the impact is of a master at work, someone who ought to be considered for the Nobel.” Read more about it here.
Concrete Poetry articles
I have two new(ish) articles out that deal with Concrete poetry from different angles: one in German about Max Bense’s Terry Jo, and one in English in the Journal of Lusophone Studies that discusses Bense and Eugen Gomringer, with some connections to Brazilian Concrete poetry. A third is on the way…
My book Wireless Dada Telegraphic Poetics in the Avant-Garde is out now from Northwestern University Press. Read more about it on their website. You can order the paperback edition directly from the publisher at a 25% discount using the discount code NUP2019.
Ai Weiwei / Refugee Symposium
This Saturday I’ll be presenting at the symposium “Art and the Contemporary Refugee: Narratives, Memorials, Communities” at the Kemper Art Museum, an event organized by Sabine Eckmann and Svea Bräunert in connection with the museum’s current exhibition, Ai Weiwei: Bare Life. My talk is entitled “Imagining Migration: Human Rights and Refugees in Erpenbeck and Ai Weiwei.”