Poetic Currency: A Poetry Dossier
Poetic Currency: A Poetry Dossier
Cover image: “Push” by Shira Stav
If you want to explain something you can start here
You keep shoes in which you can no longer
walk properly, that’s against something,
You receive an invitation
and say that you will come on foot,
and then you look for a pair
of those shoes
and you have plenty to choose from,
because you have so many
Halfway you realize
that you have forgotten to take
what you wanted to show them
and that is why you make
something that doesn’t even
show how hastily
it was made.
If you want to explain something about money
begin with: money is
for trading and saving,
and then ask,
as if you can put your hand up if you want to answer,
what else can you do that with,
both those things?
Putting up your hand
is like deciding whether to walk on
if what you have heard
is a price,
and hoping you’ll have something left later,
when you no longer know what you can quickly make from what
you can see.
State and market
If you are the highest representative
of the state
you walk across the market.
Where too little is being sold,
you buy what is left
before the wholesalers
make a low offer
when the day is almost over.
Or you offer loans
at an interest rate that is lower
than the banks are asking,
so the sellers can wait a day longer,
the state will earn money then too.
You start selling
what you have bought from them
when the prices have started rising
as if people are expecting
them to go up even further.
And if they themselves still have
what they can sell for those higher prices
you let them pay off their debts.
Remember, it’s also your job
to keep fear and pity
You do not need
to work for a factory,
you can also be a representative
with your own business,
you know what that is, don’t you?
A suitcase in each hand
of what you can produce in your factories.
You make each profit four times:
when the customer orders,
when it’s delivered,
when the customer pays,
when you get your commission.
You earn little,
then a lot,
but at the end of the year
you only need to worry about your factories and customers,
not about what your boss might think.
You have known your customers for so long,
they will be sure to pay.
It’s not going well,
your customers say,
maybe it would be better
if you slowed down a little,
and on business trips
only ate in grand hotels,
sleeping somewhere else.
translator’s note Besides being a novelist and a highly prolific poet, Nachoem M. Wijnberg is also a professor at the University of Amsterdam Business School. Wijnberg adopts a different form and subject for each of his volumes of poetry, and in his recent collection, Van Groot Belang (2015), from which the poems above are drawn, the poet turns particular attention to politics and history, along with specific economic issues such as money supply and taxation systems. In contrast to most social or politically-engaged poetry, the poems in this collection are investigations rather than statements of a position. Rather, the poet invites the reader to join him as he tries to learn more about his “unpoetic” themes. My translations will appear in the collection Of Great Importance, which will be published by Punctum Books in 2018.
Two girls return at midnight.
Unable to walk, they feel fatigue in blood,
their bodies dispense different smells —
Ma, open the door, my beloved Ma …
Distant ships blow whistles,
the old moon shines in the sky,
still the flow tide
keeps alluvial love in croplands.
Only it smells briny at nights — merciless stomachs,
unfamiliar doors every day —
Ma, open the door, my beloved Ma …
Starvation and darkness prevail outside.
Dustbins shine —
the great role of civilization.
Bones of thousands of underfed children
play atomic flutes in a sweet tune.
In exchange of people’s untimely deaths,
spaceships run towards distant planets —
Ma, open the door, my beloved Ma …
The two girls return at midnight, the boy doesn’t —
at colorful nights, gratifications swell up
in magnificent city quarters,
how easily bright faces become scary!
Blood-soaked powerful hands with pus,
and wounds full of microbes
tinge all flowers of life —
Ma, open the door, my beloved Ma …
With plough strokes,
hunger sprouts up from lands,
garment factories collapse — like ripe apples,
days are uncertain in workers’ rusty hands.
Innumerable sick claws pounce on food,
but the color of sunshine is still the same — the sun rises,
air brings nature’s untainted fragrances,
countless papers admire civilization every day.
From Moulik Mukhosh (The Original Mask, 1990)
Still, through that one door left open
People come and go
Still, ads and sales
Remind the eyes of that ‘rare opportunity’
Still members of parliament, presidents, and the capital behind them
Find new ways to bring
Old men and women to the polls
How everything is taken seriously
How wonderful that still, people keep themselves busy
How nice that still, people find things serious enough to keep going
How nice that still, people sleep with these thoughts
Wake up with them, with no time to see the empty hind of life
My time though has long been unbound
Like a nightmare, everything rolls before my eyes
Shop windows, streets, cities, airports, gardens, companies, stores
And sometimes, even children
I keep telling myself I have no right to spread the right of cynicism
That I should only keep it to myself
I keep telling myself that poetry, art and letters
Commit the worst atrocities
People are busy laughing, crying, sleeping, and waking up
And literature intrudes, wakes them up from the sweet nap of life
It makes them lose their intent
This should be classified among the most brutal acts of torture
This sacredness syndrome of writers, poets and intellectuals
I keep warning myself that writers are traitors
That it’s about time they shut up
That literature deceives people and throws them into an abyss
With no hope of return
People have worked hard to be busy
To forget what has gone on and is going on
To just keep going
And to sometimes vote or not vote
This has all been mapped, it’s no joke
I said the cashiers in the store are so rude
My Iranian friend’s panic-induced sorrow:
‘No, no, don’t be so quick to judge. It’s the rule of time and the system
They often have to wear adult diapers to pee in.’
Let me assure you I’m not planning to go communist on you
And I know you understand capital, labor and exploitation much better than I do
I’m just telling myself that if those cashiers decided to read
What I write
They’ll lose their job, and that’s unjust
Literature is dark
And I feel bad for that dear cashier who cannot take a break in it
That’s not fair!
But what is?
I keep telling myself that visible and invisible wheels of filth-wealth
Drove our breed of writers extinct
And persevering is pointless.
From Kalagh-e Sefid (A Stone for Life, A Stone for Death, 2013)
A Poor Christian Looks at the Peggy Sage Salon
From across the street all you can see is color:
an intense, orange-coral light in the windows
tinting the granite arcades of a bygone era.
It’s two in the morning on Świętokrzyska:
a sheenless, deserted river of clotted basalt.
Closer in, the black lettering turns lavender:
MANICURE STYLIST TAROT Behind the signage
in the lamplight’s fleshy glow, the interior boldly
reveals its night-time order: hairdryers on hooks,
tubes, sprays, and polishes with shimmery flecks
of seaweed, jojoba, vanilla, and green tea,
emulsions of salt, clay and mud prepared with pure
spring water — all doubled flawlessly in rows
of mirrors. Gorgeous people in gorgeous photos
(at the shore, posed in sun and wind) look so natural
you hardly see them.
A church, cinema, and bank
are nearby: opposite, a few doors down, set back,
to the right and the left. But only through this glass
does that warm, pink light beckon so lovingly:
Come, you who suffer, and all signs of fatigue,
pain, ugliness, age, and stress will pass from you.
Higher up, in a trembling nimbus of flashing dots,
shines some cryptic neon devoted to slim,
alluring gods: MEN’S STYLIST FOR WOMEN.
Warsaw, 10–12 January, 2005
translator’s note Jacek Dehnel’s “A Poor Christian Looks at the Peggy Sage Salon” is a response to “A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto,” Czesław Miłosz’s well-known poem about the burning of the Warsaw district after the Jewish uprising in 1943. While the earlier poem is a cri de coeur, in which the speaker fears judgment as a mere bystander to the Ghetto’s burning, Dehnel’s poem chronicles a more minor apocalypse: the advent of globalization after the fall of Communism. Describing a glitzy salon on Świętokrzyska [Holy Cross] Street, a thoroughfare in central Warsaw, known for its massive, Soviet-style architecture, his poem dwells on the architectural eclecticism, where socialist-realist buildings abut foreign banks and fast-food franchises. To Poles who grew up under Communism when western goods were hard to come by and travel outside Poland was often impossible, the incursion of global capital meant a life-altering change. The elevated diction of Dehnel’s poem lampoons the language of advertising—the near supernatural claims for some lotions, creams, and shampoos.
Dehnel is known for writing about contemporary subject matter in traditional rhythms and forms. Here he uses the classical thirteen-syllable line, which I’ve modified to variable syllabics, each line between ten and twelve syllables. To me, this supple, yet measured line helps convey the poem’s ironies: the contrast between the heavy, postwar buildings and this colorful salon, the Christ-like beckoning of the beauty products, and even the mysterious gendered phrase that closes the poem: “MEN’S STYLIST FOR WOMEN.”
O, My Bank
O my bank fuck me you know you want to fuck me good and you don’t
want any tycoon, no tycoon, no, yeah yeah yeah, oh my bank you want to
fuck me good and no tycoon will do, no, with the tycoon you have lunch
at Eyal Shani’s, and you eat shrimps in happy sauce, but with me you
have fireworks and desires and there is lots of Thanatos and that is, as you
know, as far as life stretches
O my brothers! Ignore me for whom do I toil writing poem for whom for
whom, for whom my eaters at the fancy restaurants of chef Eyal Shani
holding hands with married fingers that sign work papers you bear the
weight of the entire economy on your shoulders O on the way to the
demonstration against the tycoons and their platonic relations with the
bank I see you at the tapas bar eating Latin food and my flesh is empty,
and the sign I am carrying stays standing like a dick on Viagra, you are
my catastrophe on the way to the demonstration against the war
O you! O you who want to make money O you who want to get rich and
you who want to pay and you who want to eat and then create suffering
on fancy sports bikes, and you who wear a buttoned shirt and you who
wear a suit and you whose career is rising like a meteor and you who get
written about and you who get excited before entering First Class and you
who love white marble with veins, and you who know what the money is
doing and stay silent
O my bank fuck me I’ll do a suicide bombing in the lobby after I whisper
‘s-emek ars and nothing happens fuck me retroactively with a five-year
payment plan with signed documents and then I will go out into the sunlight
into the street after a rape that is not recognized by the authorities O! No
policewoman is going to come save me and not any women’s organization and
not the peace organizations and not the society for animals in distress
From Betsa (Avarice, 2014)
The Executive Fishing Workshop
Three major CEOs on a fishing expedition to Tiberius
caught the same fish.
Its body is now lying
on the cobblestone promenade,
attached to three hooks:
the failure of the workshop
The three CEOs are helpless,
near the big cold dead fish, whose gills are torn.
A fourteen-year-old walks by, almost touching,
his clothes — light-reflecting scales —
they’re worried he’ll ask questions
but he’s in a hurry to fuck his girlfriend,
his cock erect in Benneton.
The fishing lines of the three CEOs
have snarled together in a nub.
The three are still surrounding the poor fish
with their rods.
They’re not going to learn anything now!
They’re not going to learn anything!
A group of Breslav Hasids, roaring a bit, echo in the distance,
one of them wearing shoes made in Israel.
The insurance CEO decided
to do something.
He goes up to the fish and pulls forcefully on the thread
to draw out the hooks, but they’re stuck fast.
He flicks a lighter and the thin delicate threads catch fire, easily detached.
For a moment, a golden light is cast on the torn fish.
This CEO takes the dead fish
throws him over the stone wall, into the murk of the Sea of Galilee.
“He’s dead anyway, why throw him into the water?”
one of them says,
while this CEO wipes his hand with the corpse of a free newspaper drifting on the
From Noset ha-metosim (The Aircraft Carrier, 2015)
from manekinen (mannequins)
The Legend of Bank Houses
Half-official memoranda announce:
The gold hoard of the Federal Reserve Bank
amounted to four billion dollars
on the fourth day of March, nineteen hundred thirty-three.
And greater still than the value of banknotes
were heaping handfuls of yellow gold
worth half a billion more — O, what delight!
It happened in proud skyscrapers
of New York, Detroit, and Chicago
amid the classical hush
of walls and glass and steel.
Harvests of gold lay
like ample earth,
like heavy bliss.
Who could believe
how gold lays in mounds
like crooked fat earth
if they can’t touch it,
the world crammed full with gold blood.
Then, for three long weeks
gold ran fugitive
out from banks and offices
but the world requires order
and replaced banknotes and paper
Seven billion dollars
now flood the world,
Now open wide the bank shutters!
for dresses and houses and potatoes
and the world regains its fortune.
Legend of Gold Ships
Sometimes the sea is absent-minded cobalt
sometimes, melancholy ultramarine-blue
and gold is warm and tender
The ship Europa departed from Cherbourg
the Georgic, from Liverpool
and one mad ship called the Manhattan.
Ships transport gold over seas
round as life’s monotony
round pieces of splendor and joy.
Later, in bank-houses and offices
heaps of sweet yearning lie
in the New York Federal Reserve Bank
in the Union Bank in London and Madrid:
fateful things and fortunes
and the joy of the world: This happened . . .
If there were no gold throughout the world
one should spread it
as signs of life and joy
The sea is cobalt
the sea is ultramarine blue
shipments of gold pass over the sea
like oranges, like herring ships
nobody knows these shipments of gold
anonymous and fateful.
Why transport gold in crates
our longing and our joy
not by open sails
solitary and proud as legends…
Legend of Silver
Silver is a resigned metal
silver is gentle and provisional
like pearl-gray weary dusks.
Silver is indifferent
and so quite lonesome
like someone who no longer believes in anything,
who’s always distant from life.
And so silver went unaccounted for
by the world economy
in nineteen-hundred thirty-three.
But people cannot live without money
it buys and exchanges and sells
the sweet utility of our lives.
Life, traded for stuff
for dresses, shoes, potatoes
Who would want our life without money?
In first place stands gold:
what other metal can compare?
So warm, so bound up with life.
In second place stands silver
that indifferent material.
But proud gold was not enough
and there was more desire in the world
than red warm gold metal.
Thus silver lived to see
its proud and grotesque myth:
a piece of silver for a piece of life,
a piece of life becomes necessary for silver
things gain their fate thanks to silver
When finance potentates,
big concerns, oil pits, factories
of Fords, Deterdings and Kruegers
offer just a wink and a wish
then even silver
the pale, provisional body of metal
can stumble around the world, trying its luck
in the genre of a new legend.
translator’s note Dvoyre Fogel (1900–1942) was a Yiddish avant-garde poet, literary critic, and philosopher. Her style embodied a radical stillness, rejecting contemporary literary trends which valorized dynamism as the hallmark of modernity. Fogel adapted elements of Unism and Constructivism and collaborated with illustrators and typographers to develop a style she called “white words.” Fogel’s art criticism responded to the work of her circle, including Marc Chagall, Henryk Streng, who illustrated her book, and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, who painted her portrait. The poet Melekh Ravitch describes her: “Behind every word she spoke there were at least three books that she had read. She knew several languages, all as fluently as a native tongue. Only when it came to Yiddish did she understand every nuance and speak it in a way that showed she was prepared to learn more and more, with great devotion and love.” Although famous for her romance with the Polish writer and artist Bruno Schulz, she was also his philosophical interlocutor and critical reviewer.
These three poems appear in Manekinen (Mannequins,1934), a collection that renders the spaces of women’s labor and commerce — markets, bordellos, kitchens — in precise material detail. The opening stanza of “Legend of Bank Houses” references President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s closing of the banks on March 3, 1933 to prevent the public from withdrawing their money. This poem evokes Kabbalistic narratives of creation, remolded by Fogel’s ironic modernist sensibility. Rather than the breaking of the Divine Vessels, which mythologically scattered sparks of holiness throughout the world, Fogel’s legend accounts for the spread of gold into the world’s currency.
The formula according to which things
find their meaning through one another
Down sank the old eagle again. A second-rate Zeus.
There went the few cents rolling over to her, tip change in the ashtray.
The view: Hudson, fire escapes, a sleek, glass-covered
architectural mass. New York City at noon, imprinted
on his face, ‘giving him head’. How many had he granted
credit, ordered asylum for those Greeks in the documents, a
couple notes marked up, it wasn’t going to change the world.
Sometimes power clutched at stubborn legs. Influence,
sovereignty, tomorrow all rubbed out, the sheets changed.
The only thing of value was that which remained in the end.
And he was just an animal after all, wanting a little warmth.
Value passed on from him to things: his pleasure, her beauty.
He laid the coin in his mouth, pressed his jaws together,
and shut his eyes.
translator’s note Nora Bossong’s work often circles around issues of political and economic strife by turning to the emotional and sexual exchanges between human figures. “Currency,” published in the Die Zeit’s Politik und Lyrik (Politics and Poetry) series in 2011, is introduced as a poem about “the steep fall of a powerful man,” though one may also note the state of financial crisis in Europe at the time of publication, as well as the author’s meditation on meaning as value, recalling a particularly German philosophical inheritance.
Don Pedro told Saint Pedro about the time a jewelry
store saleswoman didn’t want to assist him because
he was dressed in workman’s clothes. The old jeweler,
noticing that the saleswoman wasn’t helping him, sold
him a gold chain at a special discount.
Saint Pedro told Don Pedro that this same gold had
been found by a child in a stream in Madre de Dios.
He used to work every morning, plunging his hands
into the mud. When the child ceased to be a child, he
killed his foreman.
“So you’re a leftist, my name-twin,” Don Pedro said.
“Could someone who guards the heavenly gates be a
leftist?” Saint Pedro responded, one eyebrow raised.
Don Pedro shrugged, grabbed his newspaper, and went
back to where he came from.
From Izquierda Unida (United Left;
Celacanto 2015/La Bella Varsovia 2016)
those quarters of the city were foreign to Gigo
tall, tall, the buildings foreign
the people—the beautiful women, foreign
a girl wearing an apron came
she placed five kuruş in his palm —
strangers were the people — strange —
Gigo had not gone out begging
translator’s note In this poem, Zahrad’s recurring character, Gigo, experiences the alienation of modern life through an act of kindness gone awry. In Armenian, the multivalent word that Zahrad employs for ‘foreign’ and ‘strange/r’ is the same — odar — a term also colloquially used for ‘non-Armenian.’ The exchange between the young woman and Gigo tells us all we need to know: not only have these strangers misunderstood Gigo, who has wandered into the wealthier parts of his own city, but in their misunderstanding, they have entirely devalued his personhood. All it cost was five kuruş — a small coin used widely since the days of the Ottoman Empire until the 1970s in Turkey.
The Bank of the Future
To make my difficult life secure
I’ll strictly limit business to the basics
up there in the Bank of the Future.
Substantial assets I doubt exist.
And I’ve begun to fear the first crisis —
suddenly payments will cease.
Rate of Exchange
(from “This Rumor of Darger’s Armies of Girls”)
Hay into gold
Lead into gold
Swans into boy princes
IFD soldiers into hermaphroditic fairies
Smuggle out rumors, witness reports
Smuggle in cellphones, olives, sickly sweet images
placid pastel PTSD hysteria
Join the witness protection program for cities and continents
Depicting only the small spaces seen as prisoners:
the corner of a wall, the legs of a chair
American chaplains carried rolled-up Yiddish newspapers
Come out, come out, wherever you are
Polari for puppet shows, in London fish markets
For circus showmen and professional wrestlers
(on cookies) I like ‘em plain
(on dishes) I like ‘em stacked
Reveal and conceal
False eyelashes and the cosmos
I knew very well, but just the same
Weren’t these my memories, my wars?
Scenes of flowery nubile paradises
Scenes of torture and massacre
Hide yourself in plain sight the way you’re ashamed of your body
Extract the Vivian Girls like hostages
Transform the cut-out tracings into real girls:
Their funky smell
Their worn leather jacket
How far they can spit in every direction
He disrobes her
To know what lies beneath the surface
The act of tracing unlocks secrets of girlhood
Vivian is vivacious is vivid is vital
Failed attempt to create the divine body
Close us. Destroy our mouths. Enter.
Torture us in other realities.
Gathering trash, clipping newspapers
Winding together long balls of twine
Taking daily notes on the weather report
Transcribing the Bible over hundreds of pages
Economical transformations of the original sources
Into something less stable or clear
Girls gone feral
You opened with a word
But fell through the floor into a lingering darkness
notes & rumors Henry Darger, a reclusive and eccentric janitor and dishwasher, spent the first decades of the twentieth century composing and illustrating a fantasy novel spanning over 15,000 typed pages, which he called, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. “Placid, pastel, PTSD hysteria,” is quoted in a letter from Kevin Killian. “Close us. Destroy our mouths. Enter. Torture us in other realities,” is from Style/Estilio by Dolores Dorantes, translated by Jen Hofer. “Failed attempt to create the divine body” is Gershom Scholem via Sara Larsen’s Merry Hell. “You opened with a word,” refers to the ptichta, common to rabbinic midrash, and echoes a Hasidic story in which a rabbi begins to explain the story of the rebellious Korach to his students, and the students magically find themselves falling through the opened ground, as Korach fell.
From “Great Transactions”
makes someone else’s money.
That is the exposed structure.
Transactions with no voice.
Transactions with two tongues.
Transactions with eternal life.
All desires are false desires, paradoxes, jubilation, a surplus that starts to
flow when you, I, come into mouthservice and culture’s yellow, blue and
green dreams light up in their squares.
Truth and justice, I want to cut
their hearts out
carefully, and use them as earrings; I’ll be all dressed up.
I’ll run out on the arc of life and buy my way into luxury.
I sink my teeth as I please into
desert and forest.
I won’t feel sorry for you when you don’t get yours, I will rejoice
my new ruthlessness.
Your money up in my ass.
The fact that every: you can be bought, is a humiliation,
every: you are for sale, is a humiliation. You can
always smell them, even though everyone here
sells themselves. With gratitude.
I am a rocking horse. Hitch me to your wagon.
From Third-Millennium Heart (Action Books, 2017)
Old is my race, too many winters
have I endured. I stayed in cities
after men found me, and their fire
first cleansed me. Now I abide
in a grim realm, my earthly brother,
my ward, author of my sorrow,
always watching, confining me.
He ripped me from our rock-home —
all my kind. I cannot harm him,
but round Middle-Earth, with my might,
I am his path to sin and slavery.
I must hide, from all, my secret skills,
my power, my tracks. Speak what I am.
[The answer to the riddle is under “Anonymous” in the contributors’ page.]
Anonymous. The 95 Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poems in the Exeter Book were written down during the 10th century and given to Exeter Cathedral by Bishop Leofric, where the book remains today. They address diverse topics, both secular and religious. Riddle 83 is concerned with money and wealth, a topic that continues, through the centuries, to fascinate poets and lay people alike.
Roy ‘Chicky’ Arad is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Noset ha-metosim (The Aircraft Carrier, Maayan, 2014). In 2005, he founded the arts and poetry journal Maayan, which remains in print today, and was one of the founding members of the art and social justice collective Guerrilla Culture.
Nora Bossong has been lauded in the contemporary German literary world for her poetry, essays, and novels, the first of which debuted in 2006. She lives in Berlin.
C. P. Cavafy lived in Alexandria, Egypt (1863–1933) and is widely considered the most distinguished Greek poet of the twentieth century. His canon consists of 154 poems acknowledged during his lifetime, while the Repudiated (37), the Unfinished (30), and the Hidden poems (75, including this one), were only published much later.
David Colmer is an Australian translator of Dutch-language fiction and poetry. His translations include three volumes of Nachoem M. Wijnberg’s poetry.
Jacek Dehnel, born in 1980, is a poet, novelist and translator. In 2005, he was one of the youngest winners of the Kościelski Prize for promising new writers. In 2018, Aperture, a poetry collection translated by Karen Kovacik (Zephyr Press), will be published in English, as will the novel Lala, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Oneworld Publications).
Dvoyre Fogel (1902–1942) was born in Burshteyn (now in Ukraine) and raised in a Polish-speaking home. Fogel spoke several languages but chose Yiddish for her experimental compositions, publishing two books of Yiddish poetry Tog-figurn (Day-figures, 1930) and Manekinen (Mannequins, 1934) and a book of montages, Akatsies blien (Acacias Bloom, 1935), which she translated into Polish herself.
Tahel Frosh’s debut poetry collection Betsa (Avarice, Bialik Institute Press, 2015) was published in 2014 to wide acclaim. She also co-edited the anthology Avodat gilui (Unveiling Work, Guerrilla Culture, 2013) and is a member of the art and social justice collective Guerilla Culture. She is currently working on a doctorate in literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam is the author of three books: Wings of Winds (Poetry, 2015), Humayun Ahmed: Selected Short Stories (Translation, 2016) and Aphorisms of Humayun Azad (Translation, 2017). His poetry and translation have appeared or are forthcoming in Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Poem, Critical Survey, Light, SNReview, Reckoning, Arts & Letters, Bengal Lights, and elsewhere. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of English, Assam University, India, and teaches English at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh.
Katrine Øgaard Jensen’s work has appeared in the Columbia Journal, The Washington Square Review, Denver Quarterly, Arc Poetry Magazine, Asymptote, and elsewhere.
Karen Kovacik is a translator of contemporary Polish poetry. Her publications include her translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist (White Pine, 2013) and the edited volume Scattering the Dark, an anthology of Polish women poets (White Pine, 2016). In 2011, she was awarded a fellowship in literary translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of the poetry collections Metropolis Burning (Cleveland State, 2005), Beyond the Velvet Curtain (Kent State, 1999), and Nixon and I (Kent State, 1998).
Katie Lally is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz, working primarily on Jewish diasporic and German-language literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. She is currently completing a dissertation on the literary and philosophical importance of the little-known psychoanalyst Victor Tausk.
Álvaro Lasso was born in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, in 1982. He is the founder and editor of Estruendomudo, one of the most important independent publishing companies in Latin America since 2004. Lasso has published Dos niñas de Egon Schiele [Egon Schiele’s Girls, 2006], The Astrud Gilberto Album (2010), and Izquierda Unida [United Left, 2015/2016].
Lida Nosrati is a literary translator. She lives in Toronto.
Ursula Andkjær Olsen is the author of nine collections of poetry, one novel, and several dramatic texts and libretti for operas.
Michael Pifer is Lecturer of Armenian Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. He is co-editor of An Armenian Mediterranean: Words and Worlds in Motion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
Yosefa Raz’s poems, translations, stories and essays have appeared in Jacket2, Guernica, World Literature Today, ZYZZYVA, Lilith, Tikkun, Glimmer Train, and Entropy. Together with Adriana X. Jacobs, she translated poetry for Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Haifa University, where she teaches and thinks about prophecy, outsider art, and the poetics of American bodies.
Bertha Rogers is a poet, translator, and visual artist. Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2000; and her translations and illuminations of the Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poems from the Exeter Book have been published in literary journals and anthologies, including the recent Translating Early Medieval Poetry: Transformation, Reception, Interpretation (Boydell and Brewer, 2017).
Rudra Muhammad Shahidullah, an acclaimed poet of Bengali literature, was born in Bagerhat, Bangladesh, in 1956. His poems are widely read by Bengali readers around the world. Romantic and revolutionary, as well as modern, Rudra is very popular, especially among the young generation of readers. He passed away in 1992.
Shahram Sheydayi (1967–2009) was an Iranian poet, writer, lexicographer, and translator.
Anna Elena Torres is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. She is currently translating Dvoyre Fogel’s poetry collection Manekinen (Mannequins, 1934).
Kelsi Vanada holds MFAs in Poetry (Iowa Writers’ Workshop, 2016) and Literary Translation (University of Iowa, 2017). She translates from Spanish and Swedish, and her poems and translations have been published most recently in Columbia Poetry Review, EuropeNow, Asymptote, and Prelude. Her first full-length translation, The Eligible Age by Berta García Faet, is forthcoming from Song Bridge Press.
Karen Van Dyck is Kimon A. Doukas Professor of Modern Greek Literature in the Classics Department at Columbia University. Her most recent anthology of translations Austerity Measures: New Greek Poetry (Penguin 2016) won the London Hellenic Prize.
Nachoem M. Wijnberg is the 2018 winner of the P.C. Hooft prize, the Dutch state award for a body of literary work, which is awarded to a poet once every three years. Wijnberg has two poetry books in English: Advance Payment (Carcanet, 2013) and Divan of Ghalib (White Pine Press, 2016), with a third forthcoming, Of Great Importance (Punctum, 2018).
Zahrad (1924–2007) was a prominent Armenian poet who lived in Istanbul.