Eugène Savitzkaya in Best Indie Lit New England, Vol. 2

April 13th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


Black Key Press’ Best Indie Lit New England, or BILiNE, has Kickstarted its second volume to life. Thomas Dodson’s print anthology series showcases the best fiction and poetry published by independent journals in New England. I’m proud to report my translation of Eugène Savitzkaya’s “In Memory of Tabacchino,” first published in Anomalous, was selected for inclusion. Here’s an excerpt:

Tabacchino was a child. Tabacchino was a dormouse. Tabacchino was a dog, a bird, a squirrel, an almond tree, a living being. Child, dog, dormouse, bird, squirrel, or almond tree, he breathed, drank water, had a clean smell, a unique charm, and grew old. He bore inside him sap that flowed groundward through openings planned and improvised. The wind would muss his hair, rumple him, refresh and sometimes torment him. The first Tabacchino to get the coup de grâce was the almond tree: drought, then woodcutters. They wept then, lovers of almonds, the child first among them. No one could put the tree back as it had been. The dormouse, terrified by an owl, succumbed to a heart attack, rotted, and was scattered to the winds. Not the slightest sign of that bird in the skies now. Seek the dog’s grave in vain. Then came the child’s turn: crushed, ground, and scattered. 

Born in 1955 to parents of Ukrainian descent, Belgian Eugène Savitzkaya began publishing poetry at the age of 17. He has written more than forty books of fiction, poetry, plays, and essays, many of them published by Minuit, France’s leading avant-garde press. He received the Prix triennal du roman for his 1992 novel Marin mon coeur. Rules of Solitude (Quale Press, 2004; trans. Gian Lombardo), a collection of prose poems, was his first book in English. My translations of his work have appeared in AnomalousUnstuck, Gigantic, and Drunken Boat.

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