Interview with Alice Inggs

Interview with Alice Inggs

One of the striking features of your translations of Nathan Trantraal’s verse is the use of dialect. What is your process for translating not just the meaning, but also the sense and sound of Trantraal’s poetry into English?

This was one of the most interesting aspects of translating this poetry. Nathan writes in the vernacular or “Kaaps” dialect, a variant of Afrikaans spoken almost exclusively on the Cape Peninsula in the Western Cape province of South Africa. He uses phonetic spelling for the most part, and, as there is no official Kaaps dictionary, there are no set “rules” (contrasting with “standard Afrikaans”). My first draft was a “straight” translation using conventional English spelling and grammar. The translation was technically correct, but the meaning and impression the originals conveyed was totally lost.

Interview with Jenn Shapland

Interview with Jenn Shapland

I find it refreshing that your work deals so explicitly with the personal. In the case of “Google Your Feelings,” you’re quite upfront in your discussion of your own anxiety. Do you find yourself drawing lines between what you’re willing and unwilling to share with readers, or is writing a place for you where nothing is off the table?

Things that are truly off the table are so far off the table I can't even see them, I don't even know what they are. Maybe someday I will. But I often gravitate toward subjects that make me uncomfortable, or that push social boundaries of some kind in writing about them. I've written about mental health a few times—my own anxiety in several pieces, depression and suicide in my hometown in "The Tracks." The hardest part of writing about mental health doesn't have to do with disclosure for me.

Interview with Hasanthika Sirisena

Interview with Hasanthika Sirisena

You fold in references to medical journals, Oscar Wilde biographies and turn-of-the-century magazines with dexterity, but also recreate entire historical scenes in the present tense. What prompted you to play with tense and chronology in these ways?

The truth is I’m that person. You know, The one who you can’t watch a movie with because she carries on a running commentary about how the actor playing the FBI agent from Mississippi is actually from Glasgow, and that he worked for two years with a speech coach just so he could do the role, and that he is married to so and so, and he was arrested for drunk driving in 2003, and by the way that murderous bear is all CGI... (I’m also famous for reading the entire plot of the movie on Wikipedia and ruining the ending).

Interview with Giacomo Sartori

Interview with Giacomo Sartori

You have described The Anatomy of the Battle as your most important novel...could you describe the qualities of the novel that make it so important in the context of your career?

In the initial plan, this novel was only meant to be the story of the last phases of my father’s illness when he died of a tumor in the last year of the last century. But then in the process of writing, the importance of his previous existence and especially of his fascist training became evident, even just in order to understand his behavior during his illness. By studying fascism, which I knew very little about, I understood that many qualities I had attributed to his personality or to chance were actually related to the particular historical era he lived in and to his visceral involvement in the ideology of the Mussolini regime. 

Interview with Raylyn Clacher

Interview with Raylyn Clacher

What are you reading and loving now?

I wish I were reading more poetry, but my daughter is 18 months old, so I’m spending most of my time reading Dr. Seuss and Llama Llama Red Pajama. I’m curious to see if any of those nursery rhyme qualities end up filtering down into my work. I did, however, read and love Jennifer Givhan’s Landscape with Headless Mama and I’m dying to get my hands on Mother-Ghosts, Leah Sewell’s debut collection. She’s a poet whose work I’ve admired for years.

Interview with Polly Barton

Interview with Polly Barton

The five stories we’ve published in Issue 2 all come from the same collection, Logic and Sensitivity Are Not Incompatible. What was it that originally drew you to translate this collection?

Nao-cola was one of the first Japanese authors I really latched on to, and I've always loved the way she writes, but when I found Logic and Sensitivity Are Not Incompatible I thought, wow. I'd never really read something like that before, where so much of the collection's intensity comes from the unapologetic variety of the stories contained within it. I liked the characters reoccurring in unexpected places, and the narrow path it treads between cohesion and total lack of it, piss-taking and poignancy. It seemed to me like a total madhouse of a book, and I really respected that.

Interview with Sholeh Wolpé

Interview with Sholeh Wolpé

In addition to your work in translation, you’re also a poet and a playwright. How do you see your work in these different fields affecting your writing more generally?

I am a poet and writer who translates. Not the other way around. I translate because I believe literature has the power to bring people of different cultures and languages together. These are dark times and as always, the light of literature and the arts is necessary to brighten our lives and bring us closer to one another. As a bilingual, bicultural poet, I feel it is my duty to do what I can, as effectively as I am able, to re-create our beloved poetry of Iran into English, as poetry.

Interview with Sarah Gerard

Interview with Sarah Gerard

What made you decide to center a book of essays around Florida?

I grew up in the Tampa Bay Area and have gone through phases of loving and hating my home state. I think, as a writer, it’s good to begin a project in this place of ambiguity, or two extremes of emotion. I noticed that even though I had wanted to leave Florida in my mid-twenties, I would feel defensive when non-Floridians would make jokes about the state being trashy—you know, like the “Florida Man” stories about a guy trying to pay for a beer with a taco, or something, or riding an alligator to the mall. They’re funny stories because they sound so absurd, but what are we really laughing at in them?