The Blog

Karen An-Hwei Lee's PHYLA OF JOY

Angela Veronica Wong

Karen An-Hwei Lee’s third collection of poems, Phyla of Joy on Tupelo Press, is, at its heart, a celebration, a request for us to see the beauty around us, and a reminder that even the most minute thing can become miraculous and expansive if we take the time to consider it. In Lee’s poems, we find community, spirituality, and philosophy; we are given exploration of legacy and language. Lee’s first poetry collection, In media res, won the Kathryn A. Morton prize from Sarabande Books and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Faber First Book Award, and her second book, Ardor, was also published by Tupelo in 2008.

Making World Literature

Russell Scott Valentino

At the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) for three weeks of working with translators from around the world as they do what they do. It's really not possible to describe this work other than to say it's humble and humbling at the same time.

The last two sessions have focused on translating Cynthia Ozick into Spanish (by Eugenia Vasquez Nacarino), Eduardo Galeano and Rodrigo Rey Rosa into French (by Alexandre Sanchez and Alba Marina Escalon respectively), Evelio Rosero into Dutch (by Jos den Bekker), and Abdellah Taia into English (by Rachael Small).

On Lavender and Longing: André Aciman's ALIBIS

Jericho Parms

In her 1990 A Natural History of the Senses, a grand tour through the luscious world of sight, sound, taste, and touch, Diane Ackerman wrote of the many writers “gloriously attuned” to that oddly powerful sense of smell. Among them, Proust held an affinity for lime-flower tea and madeleines, Woolf ruminated her “parade of city-smells,” Coleridge pondered the aroma of notebooks, Milosz mused on the freshness of his linen closet, Joyce recalled childhood odors of urine and oilcloths, and Flaubert recounted of the fragrance of his lover’s slippers.


Joseph Holt

Some writers’ blurbs beg for expansion into full-length memoirs. Take, for instance, that of Deni Y. Béchard, a writer “born in British Columbia to a loving and health-conscious American mother and a French-Canadian father with a penchant for crime and storytelling.” Here is a writer born into not only a conflict of cultures, but also conflicts of care and violence, self-preservation and self-destruction. In Cures for Hunger, his memoir of youth, Béchard attempts to reconcile these conflicts.


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