New Poetry in Translation – Oct 2017
FASTNESS: A Translation from the English
of Edmund Spenser
October 15, 2017
Preorder – $17
"Trevor Joyce's superb introduction to his translation
of Spenser's English into our English tells us what we need to know about Spenser's time, his method, his politics, Ireland
then, and the making of a poetry that is twined around sound, syntax, and sense. This is a bracing book held fast by multitudinous events spinning
in unison. We see how the gods behaved towards Earth (a clod
of turf in space) savaging her
with bad weather. Wild Irish weather from mountains to sea, season to season, day to day:
ever mutable. The held-fastness of the words together give indigenous a new poetic meaning." –– FANNY HOWE
ABOUT THE BOOK
The Mutability Cantos have long been recognized as Edmund Spenser's crowning achievement, and along with his unfinished Faerie Queene, of which they appear to be an isolated fragment, they constitute a founding text of English poetry, and of the entire Romantic movement. In FASTNESS, Trevor Joyce gives us a poem which his subtitle describes as "A Translation from the English" of the Mutability Cantos. His introduction justifies this provocation on historical and poetic grounds. Spenser migrated to Ireland in 1580 and, as administrator and settler colonist, he served as an intrinsic part of England's colonial enterprise, and a participant in its barbarities. It was in his castle at Kilcolman in north County Cork that he wrote most of the Faerie Queene, including the Mutability Cantos, and it was in that Irish landscape that he situated many of the idylls of his epic poem. It was there too that he composed his "View of the Present State of Ireland," a prose tract which advocated the conquest of Ireland through a savage policy of scorched earth and induced famine, which provided a model for Cromwell's campaign fifty years after Spenser's death. It is the break made by Cromwell's conquest, and the massacres and ethnic cleansing which accompanied it, that radically alters the meaning of Spenser's text viewed in historical retrospect, and justifies calling FASTNESS a translation. Joyce's poem turns allegory inside out, foregrounding the political narrative which underlies the mythological surface of Spenser's text. The Mutability Cantos grafted Elizabethan colonial politics onto a base of classical mythology. In FASTNESS, Joyce strips out Spenser's poetic dialect, and refits the narrative with modern poetic vernacular, viewing this monument of English culture through four centuries of British imperial and colonial history.
ANNOUNCING THE WINNER
of the 2017 NOVELLA PRIZE!
Martín Silva de Choc, childhood survivor of an army massacre during the Guatemalan civil war, and now a language-school teacher in Guatemala City, falls in love with his American student, Abby, and follows her home to Chicago on a fiancé visa. Days before their wedding, however, Abby goes missing, and on a Halloween afternoon Martín embarks on a search that leads from the ghost-strewn yards of Chicago’s North Side to the Lincoln Park Conservatory—and ultimately back to his violent past. A story about repressed secrets and the limits of love, Day of All Saints traces the effects of historical trauma on individual lives.
Thank you to all who submitted manuscripts to us this year and to our final judge, Brian Ascalon Roley, who selected DAY OF ALL SAINTS out of a total of 114 prize entries. All entrants are eligible to receive a copy of the winning book. Request a thank-you novella.
NEW POETRY TITLES
JANICE A. LOWE
$18 – BUY!
"Leaving CLE is a beautiful document of
eccentric return. A collection of unforecast surprise, it keeps
giving home away, disbursing and
dispersing hard, pleasurable
weather like a new kind of lake effect. Cleveland is Brooklyn
is Chicago and elsewhere, everywhere in a set of absolute
specificities, upSouth, back east, out and out. There’s a
black cosmology of “difference without separation”
of which Denise Ferreira da Silva, sociologist, speaks. Janice
A. Lowe, poet, sings it so hard, makes her air such an
irreducible element of the general air, that you couldn’t
get away from it if you tried, which is fine, because
that’s the last thing you’ll want. Her sound, her
time, is everything you do." —Fred Moten
Read more about the book...
$16 – BUY!
These playful meditations
on sex, passion and, above all, the desire for a home, belie the intensity animating them. When Waldner names the "god" she wants "she," it's easy to overlook the erased option–"goddess" –that implies the co-existence of a male god. Waldner’s position is clear: the only singular god is she. And she, the only "Mercy" worth wanting, is the "good." Her Faithfulness, the story of Waldner’s peripatetic life, rewards a reading, to say nothing of her readers, faithful to the end. –Tyrone Williams
The difference between looking anywhere you can and looking
anywhere you want reasons the weather of these exquisite poems,
inside which malady, melody, severity, doubt, and pleasure
approach and pass to be claimed by a voice too beautiful to
ever stop listening for. Liz Waldner may be here to show us how
joy made sad gets to keep being joy, how to be beheld by
meanness and not be it. This is the work of a vital, profuse
mind undeniably at home in poetry.
$15 – BUY
Part futuristic fiction and part meditative memoir,
That Night Alive begins on the narrator's death date and moves backward in time to tell her story. She traces
her path as a successful crypto-reporter, navigating a life of secrecy and solitude and world travel. A counter-narrative intersects, told by the same woman as a young artist struggling to create a work of beauty.
That Night Alive investigates art and failure,
persistence and success.