I’ll Be Reading this Saturday in the Oakland Beast Crawl

July 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Beast Crawl logo

Issue Fifteen of the Hugh Behm-Steinberg-edited Eleven Eleven, the literary journal from California College of the Arts, will soon be available. Meanwhile, for those who can’t wait, I’ll be reading for it at an exclusive sneak preview event this coming weekend in Oakland’s Beast Crawl, a free literary festival now in its second year. It will feature more than 140 writers in a single night spread out over three hours and twenty-six local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafés, and storefronts. The name “Beast Crawl” derives from the Pig Latin for Beast, which is East Bay, symbolized by the classic Oakland image of the giant cranes that stalk our shore.

This Beast has four legs, each lasting an hour and offering as many as a dozen readings to choose from.

  • 1st leg: 5pm to 6pm
  • 2nd leg: 6:30pm to 7:30pm
  • 3rd leg: 8pm to 9pm
  • 4th leg: 9pm to 2am (After Party)

There’s a half hour break between literary legs for socializing and relocating to a new venue before the next reading begins. Crawl maps listing all the venues, curators, legs, and after-party locations are available online.

Eleven Eleven’s event, entitled “Four out of Fifteen,” is in the second leg of the crawl, and starting at 6:30, I’ll be reading alongside Monica Mody, Tedd Fluffqvist Trees (aka Ted Rees) and Caitlin Myer at the exquisite SomaR bar: 1727 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA. See you all Saturday, July 6th!


Jacques Gélat’s The Translator in Words Without Borders

July 6th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

My translation of an excerpt from Jacques Gélat’s clever and charming 2006 novel Le traducteur is up at Words Without Borders in this month’s Postrevolution Iran issue. I did this piece in the summer of 2010, so I’m glad it’s finally seeing the light of day in a subsection on Writing about Translation.

As with all dramatizations, Gélat’s founding premise of forgotten punctuation is a bit of a stretch: practicing translators regularly rearrange punctuation, and how punctuation use differs between languages is one of much discussion among translators. However, his observations of what the act of translation can mean on a more metaphorical level are quite astute.

Every translator has dreamed of writing someday, and I was no exception. Sheets of paper have long dawdled in my drawers; diverse notes, vague plans for novels, even the beginning of a short story. But I’d always given up under the pretext of having a translation to start or finish. In truth these projects didn’t inspire me; they lent me no élan. Perhaps there would be a day for writing, but moreover, and most importantly, you must know just how daunting writing is for a translator.

I make definitive assertion: no one knows books better than we do. Readers, critics, editors—none of them know the weight of a word, the structure of a novel, its most intimate arrangements, as we translators do. I’ll go even farther: in many areas, writers themselves are less aware than we are of their work. Quite often their style, an instinctive reflection of their affect, gets away from them; they toss it onto the page, too busy to chase it down and make out the logic whose very workings we translators follow with a jeweler’s loupe.

2013 PEN/Heim Translation Fund for Jean Ferry

July 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

PEN America logo

Huge congratulations to all my fellow PEN/Heim Translation Fund winners this year! My thanks to the PEN American Foundation, and to this year’s Advisory Board—Susan Bernofsky, Barbara Epler, Richard Sieburth, Lauren Wein, Eliot Weinberger, Natasha Wimmer, and Matvei Yankelevich, chaired by Michael F. Moore. I am very flattered to have my translations deemed “vivid and authoritative” in the press release, which includes a snippet from Jean Ferry’s story “The Garbagemen’s Strike.” The story is now available in its entirety for your reading pleasure online in the latest issue of Anomalous (#9). Wakefield Press will publish the prizewinning project, Jean Ferry’s only prose collection, The Conductor and Other Tales. It is due out in November. Click “Forthcoming” in the left sidebar for a fuller description.

That’s funding from PEN America and PEN England in the same year! Where else can you crow about that immodestly, if not on your own damn blog?

Summer Housekeeping

July 22nd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

The Translations page (in the left sidebar) is now fully up to date through mid-2013, including some forthcoming publications. – ed.

Some Comics I’ve Been Working On

July 23rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


Jean Ferry at Anomalous

July 24th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


Also up at Anomalous this month in print and audio is Jean Ferry’s “A Tear in His Eye,” which begins with these bewitching words:

Who among us, at that age when we grow curious about fantastical tales, hasn’t been captivated by the story of that character who describes himself as endowed by the creator with the face of a hyena, lips of bronze, eyes of jasper, and a reproductive organ much closer to the deadly viper than a harmless phallus?

What are you waiting for? Go read! The issue can also be downloaded in its entirety in pdf or Kindle format, or as an mp3 audiobook.

Some Comics I’ve Been Working On (I’ve Been Busy)

July 25th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink



Thomas Owen in T.J. Eckleburg #18

July 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


Issue #18 of The Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, the first print edition, is now available for purchase. It features the Pushcart-nominated  story “The Women Who Watch,” by Belgian fabulist Thomas Owen, first published in the online version of the same litmag last year. If you’d like to give it a listen instead,

Pete Milan can be heard reading it at the horror podcast Pseudopo


d, giving it all the creepiness it deserves. Here’s an excerpt:

A man was walking by: dreamy, so lost in thought that a blackbird, shooting by like a bullet, almost knocked him off-balance. He stopped, collected himself slowly. From where he stood, he could see the old lady in a sunbeam, spotlit like a person in a play…

Why had this little old stranger—banal, uninteresting, insignificant—caught his eye?  As he drew closer, she lost her hieratic aspect. Remaining still all the while, stuck on an imaginary tack like a little gunner, she began to come alive in a remarkable way. Frozen there almost ominously, her gaze fixed on his, exerting a kind of magnetism. Such that, beneath their imperious interrogation, he submitted to what could only be called a strange enthrallment.

Sometimes such gazes meet your own: they seem to know you, seek to pierce your silence. And so, anywhere at all, you might stumble across such women, who stare at you as at someone familiar.

Eckleburg glasses

Some Comics I’ve Been Working On (Keep’em Coming!)

July 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Brooklyn Quesadillas

Some Comics I’ve Been Working On… STRIKES BACK!

July 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


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