Chappell & Murphy, Bakken, Moss, et. al.
Carrie Chappell and Amanda Murphy on translating Sandra Moussempès: The feminist and multi-voiced dimensions of Sandra Moussempès’ work inspired us to collaborate on translating Cassandre à bout portant (Flammarion, January 2021). As academic and poet, respectively, and as two women originally from the United States, we felt especially drawn to the plurality her poems insist are a part of women’s
Zwart, Wellman, Rivard, et. al.
Jane Zwart on “Half the Time”: This poem owes its existence partly to Amit Majmudar, who invited me into a collaborative experiment called “mirror writing.” I have found the simple process magic. Amit and I take turns sending one another titles over email. For every new title, each of us improvises, solo, a poem to suit the title, sending it
Park, Andrews, Fried, et. al.
Suphil Lee Park on translating Im Yunjidang: Korea has a long history of diglossia and linguistic oppression, from its wide use of Chinese characters for writing up until the mid-twentieth century to the Japanese colonial rule that banned the use of the Korean language in public. Back in the day, women were not given a voice, let alone celebrated. Most
Pollock, Friman, Lehmann, et. al.
James Pollock on “Dryer”: “Dryer” is one of four dozen poems about everyday technology that make up my book Durable Goods (Véhicule Press, September 2022). I was inspired by Keats’s ideal of the chameleon poet who enters into things in imagination and takes part in their being. There is a great tradition of Dinggedichte that includes not only Keats but
Hassain, Schwartz, Hardwick, et. al.
Jahangir Hossain on writing “Lover Rain”: The year was 2015/2016. I was present at the Saturday Literature Chat of the Bangladesh Writers’ Club. Seeing a well-dressed woman there, I thought her outfit was not very beautiful. It was ‘Rainy Season’ then. I thought to myself: If it were raining, I would wash all her outfits and decorate her again with
Buckley, Levitin, Smith, et. al.
Christopher Buckley on “Heisenberg’s Principle”: Again the argument of science vs. faith/fate . . . the two main tenents of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle fitting in quite well, to my mind, and helping to illustrate the facts as they stack up against our beliefs. Since the late ‘80s I’ve looked to science and cosmology for corroboration to my doubts and dialectic,
Rosenthal, Stratton, Aizenberg, et. al.
Mira Rosenthal on translating Tomasz Różycki: The poems “A Room” and “Wild Strawberries” come from Tomasz Różycki’s tenth book, Litery, forthcoming in my English translation from Archipelago Books in 2023. The collection builds like a detective novel, following a lieutenant on the hunt for any clues that might lead 21st-century human beings out of a sense of emptiness and despair. Set against a
Hongo, Hirshfield, Andrews, et. al.
Garrett Hongo on “To a Soldier in Ukraine”: Like everyone else, I’ve been horrified by the invasion and killings in Ukraine. I thought of soldiers and innocent civilians having to face death without notice and I was reminded of the poetry of Tadeusz Rozewicz, the great Polish poet who wrote lyrics of humane sentiments, direct statement, and faith in the
Rhodes, Shapiro, Moldaw, et. al.
Martha Rhodes on “Embraced”: It’s awkward (for me) to talk about my own poems — I can just say that this particular poem was written about 4 years ago, the first poem written for the collection I am now working on — and very different tonally from the poems that have come since– so I am not sure I have
Brown, Kress, Waldrop, et. al.
Fleda Brown on “Someone is Walking a Pig”: There were the ordinary days. We call them that, now, since the multiple catastrophes, the apocalypse over the horizon. So the pig appeals to me, the simplicity of her. Might as well write about a pig in the hallway. I haven’t seen her for some time. I hope she’s okay. At the
de Voogt, Sadoff, Mitchell, et. al.
Alex de Voogt on translating Cavafy: In 1915, Constantine Cavafy wrote a poem with hemistiches, a set number of syllables per half-line and a particular meter. It was this new verse form with historical antecedents that he would use for eighteen of his poems. The last one, from 1929, was composed only a few years before his own death in
Kanchan, Burns, Scopino, et. al.
Virginia Konchan on “Liquidation”: “Liquidation” was written at the height of the pandemic, after reading a list of products made obsolete by technology; I thought of how ideas and social formations (even socializing itself) too, could be rendered obsolete by historical forces, some irrevocably so. The narrative litany that resulted concludes with a challenge to the quote that “elegy is endless,” which