October 2012 News

News from New Directions

Enrique Vila-Matas Events!

Acclaimed Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas will be making a few exciting appearances in the US later this month. Two of the events celebrate the publication of Dublinesque, while the third is in honor of a book entitled Writing Paris, a collaboration with Sylvia Molloy. 

Tuesday, October 23, 6pm
The Cervantes Institute
Dublinesque in New York
With Paul Auster and Anne McLean (In Spanish with simultaneous translation)
211 E 49th St.
New York, NY

Wednesday, October 24, 5pm
George Washington University
Dublinesque presentation
With Anne McLean translating
Marvin Center, Room 311
800 21st St. NW
Washington, DC

Friday, October 26, 7pm
McNally Jackson Books
Book launch of Escribir Paris / Writing Paris
52 Prince St.
New York, NY


Michael Henry Heim

We were sad to learn of the death of the great translator Michael Henry Heim over the weekend. Heim, a noted polyglot, translated works from a half dozen languages including Russian, German, Hungarian, Croatian, and French. He translated István Örkény's The Flower Show & The Toth Family for New Directions, and his translation of Romanian writer Max Blecher's Adventures in Immediate Irreality is forthcoming.  

As well as being a brilliant translator, he was an extraordinary advocate of translation and a great booster of talented young translators. It was Heim who first recommended translator Susan Bernofsky in what ended up being her first of many translations for us, Jenny Erpenbeck's The Old Child


New Books:
The Poems of Octavio Paz

edited and translated from the Spanish by Eliot Weinberger
with additional translations by Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Muriel Rukeyser, Charles Tomlinson

The definitive bilingual edition of the poems by the Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz — the perfect literary gift.

Here at last is the first retrospective collection of Paz's poetry to span his entire writing career, from his first published poem at age seventeen to his magnificent last poem. The whole is assiduously edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger – who has been translating Paz for over forty years – with additional translations by several poet-luminaries. This edition includes many poems that have never before been translated into English, new translations based on Paz's final revisions, as well as a brilliant capsule biography of Paz penned by Weinberger. This large handsome volume testifies to a life wholly devoted to poetry, a pursuit Paz deemed to be "the secret religion of the modern age."

A torrent of beauty, reflection, and analysis that saturated the century from end to end and whose great wave will survive us a long time. 
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A heroic career in literature…. He was always important. He was always relevant.
– Susan Sontag

More information here


Time of Useful Consciousness

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A new call to action and a vivid picture of civilization going right to the brink

At ninety-three, Ferlinghetti shows more power than most any other poet at work today. He describes his new book — his first since Poetry as Insurgent Art — as "a fragmented recording of the American stream-of-consciousness, always westward streaming; a people's poetic history in the tradition of William Carlos Williams's Paterson, Charles Olson's Maximus, Allen Ginsberg's Fall of America, and Ed Sanders's America: A History in Verse. 'Time of Useful Consciousness' is an aeronautical term denoting the time between when one loses oxygen and when one passes out, the brief time in which some life-saving action is possible."

Ferlinghetti was recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle, and was interviewed on KCRW's "Bookworm" by Michael Silverblatt. 

Learn more about the book here.


The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

by César Aira
translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

A poor beleaguered miracle worker, scorned by skeptics, bravely decides to use his supernatural powers

César Aira’s newest novel in English is not about a conventional doctor who pumps prescription medicine into the masses. Instead, Dr. Aira is quite the opposite; he is single, fortyish, poor — completely unexceptional except that he happens to be endowed with supernatural healing powers. In this magical book, Aira — part Kafka, part Marx Brothers, part Minotaur — sends the very human doctor stumbling toward the biggest trap of all. 

[Aira’s works are] dense, unpredictable confections delivered in a plain, stealthy lyrical style capable of accommodating his fondness for mixing metaphysics, realism, pulp fiction, and Dadaist incongruities.
— Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books

What a gift: to look forward to reading a new Aira novel from New Directions every year for the rest of one’s life.
— Thomas McGonigle, Los Angeles Times

More information here


Lightning Rods in paperback

by Helen DeWitt
now in paperback

Literary brilliance dressed as social satire dressed as a down-and-out salesman with a penchant for deviant sexual fantasies

Described as “the most well-executed literary sex comedy” of our time by Salon.com, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods is a novel that casts a quizzical eye on the hilarious wreckage of late capitalism. Here, the wreckage is a failed door-to-door encyclopedia salesman named Joe. Here's what reviewers had to say about Lightning Rods when it was published in hardcover:

A funny filthy volume… DeWitt is willing to take her satire as far as it will go, giving us the freedom to read it (or even misread it) as we choose… Its true brilliance lies in her careful deployment of language so common that we no longer see it. As any million-dollar litigation lawyer or two-cent literary critic will tell you, the devil is in the details.
— Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times

This is excellent: cold and crazy… The jokes are like hammers.
The New Yorker

More information here


New Directions at the ALTA Conference

The 2012 ALTA annual conference will be held in Rochester, NY at the Memorial Art Gallery and the Radisson Rochester Riverside from October 3–6. In attendance will be New Directions translators Susan Bernofsky, Katherine Silver, Marian Schartz, Bill Johnston, Willis Barnstone, Minna Proctor, Suzanne Jill Levine, Esther Allen, and Aron Aji, along with ND Publicity Director Tom Roberge. The entire schedule of events and panels is here — if you'll be in Rochester, come see them. 


New Bernadette Mayer poems

The Paris Review published three poems by Bernadette Mayer from her forthcoming poetry collection/project The Helens of Troy, NY. New Directions will be publishing this work as part of our revitalized Poetry Pamphlets series. 


Susan Bernofsky appointed teaching post at Columbia University

We would like to congratulate Susan Bernofsky on her recent appointment to Columbia University. She will be teaching translation and directing the LTAC (Literary Translation at Columbia) program in the MFA Writing Program at the Columbia University School of the Arts.

Ms. Bernofsky — whose recent translations of Robert Walser include The Assistant, The Tanners, Microscripts, and the forthcoming A Little Ramble —  is also working on a biography of Walser as a fellow of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center.


Readings & Events Featuring ND Authors

Our authors are rather busy this month, making appearances all over the country. 

Eliot Weinberger and Susan Bernofsky
In Conversation with Ingo Schulze
October 9, 6pm
Goethe Institute, New York
More information here

Forrest Gander
Reading and Discussion at Harvard's Lamont Library
October 16, 6pm
Harvard University, Cambridge
More information here

Eliot Weinberger and Peter Cole
Participating in tribute event to Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali
October 16, 7pm
Poets House, New York
More information here

Michael Palmer
A collaboration with The Magaret Jenkins Dance Company
October 18 – 21
The Jewish Community Center, San Francisco
More information here

Anne Carson
Reading at Barnard College's Heyman Center
November 1, 7pm
Columbia University
More information here

Peter Cole
Reading at The Library of Congress Poetry Center
November 5, 12pm
Library of Congress, Washington DC
More information here



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