Editor's Note: October 2017
Between the release of this issue and the last, this part of the world seems to have been stricken with every sort of natural disaster. Hurricanes and earthquakes have left regions of the American continent in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that is far from being resolved. There is the case of Puerto Rico, struggling to survive after Hurricane Maria, or the havoc wrought by September's earthquake in Mexico. However, other political and social crises, no less important, have worsened in recent months that--without fear of exaggeration--could very well be considered humanitarian crises as well.
We live in strange times. In this sense, we echo Daniel Simon's last editorial (November 2017) for World Literature Today. A few years ago, we were confident that everything was progressing. Today, intolerance, violence, and discrimination do not appear to have diminished at all. It is an issue of great urgency. All the world over, we find ever-more-alarming signs every single day. From literature's fragile and precarious perch, we ask ourselves: what can literature do about any of this? At first glance, little to nothing. Literature moves at its own pace, refusing to obey the demands of immediacy or style. Nevertheless, sooner or later, it crosses paths with reality. If there is something good about literature, it is that it never leaves reality in peace. In this sense, reading is a unique experience, perhaps one of the few human experiences through which we can gain access all the others in all their human dimensions. We read not only to understand that others exist, but also to feel and comprehend them through the vicarious experience that we call literature.
Therefore, Latin American Literature Today continues seeking to open up new, diverse spaces for creation and criticism. In this new issue we highlight, first of all, a dossier dedicated entirely to literature written by women. I refer to those authors of unconventional writings, or those who explore gender through literature. For example, in his article, "¿Soñaron nuestras escritoras ci-fi con canciones de cunas andoides?" [Did Our Women Sci-Fi Writers Dream of Android Lullabies?"], Marcelo Novoa explores the innumerable contributions put forward by unique Latin American women writers who have had to blaze their own trail through the predominantly male genre of science fiction. Likewise, in his article, "Una habitación, una casa, una ciudad propia. Cuatro prosistas latinoamericanas" ["A Room, a House, a City of One's Own: Four Women Prose Writers from Latin America"], Sebastián Diez analyzes the various aesthetic and literary contributions from the stature of Carmen Ollé, Adriana Valdés, Margo Glantz, and María Moreno; all writers who are committed to distinct, original writing that is anything but complaisant.
The other highlighted dossier is dedicated to translation. We firmly believe in it. Without translation, literature would be condemned to remain within the borders of its original language. In this issue, our Editor of Translations, George Henson, has prepared a special dossier: "Cinco escritoras en traducción" ["Five Women Writers in Translation"]. Inside, we discover Jazmina Barrera translated by Christina MacSweeney, Mariana Torres translated by Lisa Dillman, Jeannette Clariond translated by Samantha Schnee, Luisa Valenzuela translated by Grady Wray, and finally, Carmen Boullosa translated by Lawrence Schimel. Our work would remain incomplete, however, if we failed to include a space in which to reflect upon translation as an aesthetic and intellectual exercise. To comply with this objective, Latin American Literature Today works to publish, whenever possible, material attendant to the translations themselves. This includes, for example, the translators' notes, interviews between translators and authors, and even interviews between translators, where they discuss the subtleties and details of this silent trade, by which literature travels the world.
Finally, we must mention that our commitment to indigenous literature remains intact. In this issue, new works appear from the Mapuche authors Mariela Fuentealba Millaguir, Jaime Luis Huenún, and Natalia Toledo. This is made possible thanks to the work of Clare Sullivan, Arthur Dixon, and Sarah Booker. We also include Scott Weintraub's article, "La copia es el original: La problemática de las obras pósthumas de Juan Luis Martínez" ["The Copy is the Original: The Quandary of the Posthumous Works of Juan Luis Martínez"], in which the renowned University of New Hampshire researcher takes on the controversial posthumous publication of the work of Juan Luis Martínez, the Chilean poet. We are certain that this article will not pass unnoticed by those familiar with the matter, and that it will bring about yet more controversy.
There are many authors (both women and men) who, due to spatial constraints, are not mentioned in this brief note. However, in this limitation, we are confident that our readers will be able to find a good excuse to keep reading. Latin American Literature Today is a magazine that promotes literature from every part of Latin America without distinction or exception - or borders. We are happy to confirm that our magic carpet is still translation, an art through which the other is not so strange and distant, but someone whom we can see and feel, if only by means of those crafty black ants that we continue to call words.
Translated by Michael Redzich
Marcelo Rioseco is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and Editor in Chief of Latin American Literature Today. Since August of 2009, Marcelo has worked as a professor of Latin American literature in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics of the University of Oklahoma.
Michael Redzich is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He earned degrees in Spanish and Letters, and intends to pursue a legal education upon graduation. Michael came to OU in 2013 from Jackson, Wyoming, where he grew up with his parents and one brother. He spent the past two years living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and looks forward to seeing more of Latin America: the places, the people, the literature, and more.
The fourth issue of LALT highlights underrepresented but deserving voices from across Latin America, with a focus on women writers as well as special sections dedicated to genre-bending science fiction, indigenous-language poetry and prose, and the essential relationship between author and translator.
Table of Contents
- "The Poetry of Pedro Lastra" by Marcelo Pellegrini
- "Against the Eviction of the Poet: An Introduction to the Poetry of Juan Arabia" by Rodrigo Arriagada Zubieta
- "Physics and Poetry: An Introduction to Luis Correa-Díaz" by Alberto G. Rojo
- "Juan Ramón Jiménez, Parisian Perfumer" by Néstor Mendoza
- "In Memoriam: Rius for (Absolute) Beginners" by Radmila Stefkova
- "The Copy is the Original: The Problematics of Juan Luis Martínez’s Posthumous Works" by Scott Weintraub
- "A Room, a House, a City of One’s Own: Four Women Prose Writers from Latin America" by Sebastián Diez
- ESSAY: "Five Women Writers in Translation" by George Henson
- FICTION: "Pharos" by Jazmina Barrera
- INTERVIEW: "Eavesdropping": Snippets of a Conversation between Jazmina Barrera and Christina MacSweeney
- FICTION: "Tree Monster Boy Tree" by Mariana Torres
- INTERVIEW: “There is no better reader than a translator”: A Conversation with Mariana Torres by Lisa Dillman
- FICTION: "Series 201" by Luisa Valenzuela
- ESSAY: "Too Cute for Tiny Tale Tellers: Some Thoughts on Translating Series 201 with Luisa Valenzuela" by Grady C. Wray
- POETRY: "March 10, NY" by Jeannette L. Clariond
- INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Jeannette L. Clariond by Samantha Schnee
- POETRY: Three Poems by Carmen Boullosa
- Sarah Booker: Translation is like "Trying to Remember a Dream": A Conversation with Denise Kripper
- “Living out of place has led me towards the defeat of the real”: A Conversation with Pablo Brescia by Thomas Nulley-Valdés
- "Symphonies of Literary Violence: A Conversation with Pedro Novoa" by Gabriel T. Saxton-Ruiz
- "A Sample of Colombian Poetry" by Camila Charry Noriega
- "Poetics" by Juan Manuel Roca
- "Outdoors" by Amparo Osorio
- "Two Days for Lázaro" by Mery Yolanda Sánchez
- "Perfect Unreality" by Pedro Arturo Estrada
- "Light and Shadow Make Up the House" by María Tabares
- "Downpours" by Alejandro Cortés González
- "I Make My Way Through the Deserted City" by Lucía Estrada
- "Untitled" by Juan Guillermo Sánchez
- "The Snack" by Andrea Cote-Botero
- "Janis Joplin" by Henry Alexander Gómez
- "Eternal" by Margarita Losada Vargas
- "They say the last flame" by Tania Ganitsky
- "The House" by Jenny Bernal
- "From a Distance, You Can Only Ask" by Juan Afanador
- "Magdalena River" by Robert Max Steenkist
- El último apaga la luz by Nicanor Parra
- Lennon bajo el sol by José Adiak Montoya.
- Temporada de huracanes by Fernanda Melchor
- Pasos Pesados by Gunter Silva
- La derrota de lo real by Pablo Brescia
- La troupe Samsonite by Francisco Font Acevedo
- And We Were All Alive by Olvido García Valdés
- Cicatrices y estrellas by Francisco Véjar
- La sinfonía de la destrucción by Pedro Novoa
- Antonio Skármeta: Nuevas Lecturas by César Ferreira and Jason Jolley