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Tablet & Pen

The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry

October 2010 Cover
Image: Diego Gravinese, Crowns of beauty and happiness, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 63 inches (in collaboration with Fernanda Laguna)

Beyond Borges: Argentina Now
Like Beyond Borges: Argentina Now on Facebook 
This month we join the publishing world in celebrating Argentina, guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair and a pulse point of the vibrant Latin American literary scene. As might be expected of the heirs of Borges and Cortázar, the writers featured here both reflect and extend the masters’ work, combining a touch of the fantastic with surprising turns of both plot and phrase. The prolific Ana María Shua sends an alien invader in a clever disguise.  Guillermo Martínez watches a couple struggle with chance and unimaginable loss.  Sergio Bizzio’s teens pull a disappearing act. Irish-Argentine Juan José Delaney considers mortality, while young star Samanta Schweblin practices unorthodox family planning. In two tales of the Dirty War, writer and journalist Mempo Giardinelli metes out a karmic revenge, and Edgar Brau finds the key to a prison break. Poet Maria Negroni stands at the mouth of hell. National Critics Prize-winner Andrés Neuman’s quarreling couple literally draws a line in the sand. The great Silvina Ocampo pens a gentle fable. And in contributions from other languages, Witold Gombrowicz's widow collects tales of his time in Argentina, and Lúcia Bettencourt reveals the secrets of Borges’s muse.

Elsewhere this month, Dimitris Athinakis talks texts with Peter Constantine and searches for an equation, and Yang Zi files a farm report.

Octavio the Invader
By Ana María Shua
Translated by Andrea G. Labinger
 While the woman was in the bathroom, Alex leaned on the cradle with all the weight of his little body until he tipped it over.more>>>

The I Ching and the Man of Papers
By Guillermo Martínez
Translated by Andrea G. Labinger
 In Tokyo, in Buenos Aires, in New York, every night, routinely, someone kills a loved one in his dreams. more>>>

God's Punishment
By Mempo Giardinelli
Translated by Andrea G. Labinger
“If I have to kill a thousand innocent people in order to unearth a single guerrilla, I will." more>>>

By Samanta Schweblin
Translated by Joel Streicker
It’s difficult to accept the idea of receiving Teresita so soon, but I don’t want to hurt her, either. more>>>

The Key
By Edgar Brau
Translated by Donald A. Yates
“Have you ever seen a human body decompose before? No? Well, you will now.” more>>>

Five Poems from Mouth of Hell
By Maria Negroni
Translated by Michelle Gil-Montero
The ephemeral, suddenly, dazzling, like the shrewd play of verses.more>>>

The Two Coins
By Juan José Delaney
Translated by Donald A. Yates 
Countless small spiders were spreading out over his skin in a kind of exotic dance. more>>>

A Line in the Sand
By Andrés Neumann
Translated by Alison Entrekin
“Don’t move.” Ruth was holding a wooden racket. more>>>

By Sergio Bizzio
Translated by Amanda Hopkinson
“You really make people disappear!?” more>>>

The Golden Hare
By Silvina Ocampo
Translated by Andrea Rosenberg
Not all hares are alike, Jacinto, and it wasn't her fur, believe me, that distinguished her from the other hares, not her Tartar eyes nor the whimsical shape of her ears. more>>>

Borges's Secretary
By Lúcia Bettencourt
Translated by Kim M. Hastings
I can’t, nor do I want to, unmask her, because in doing so I would destroy myself. more>>>

From Gombrowicz in Argentina
By Rita Gombrowicz
Translated by Lauren Dubowski
He could have written a book on the art of falling into disgrace.more>>>

Also in This Issue
Someone Around Here is Looking for an Equation 
By Dimitris Athinakis 
My fingernails grow; they reach the ceiling.
Translated by Karen Emmerich 

An Interview with Dimitris Athinakis 
By Peter Constantine 
Translated by Peter Constantine
There is an interesting trend right now where Cretan teenagers and hipster twentysomethings send each other text messages in fifteen-syllable iambic lines.  more>>>

Exploding Cow 
By Yang Zi 
Translated by Ye Chun, Melissa Tuckey, and Fiona Sze-Lorain
Docile black eyes stare out in terror. more>>>

Book Reviews 
Journal of an Ordinary Greif CoverJournal of an Ordinary Grief
By Mahmoud Darwish
Translated from the Arabic by Ibrahim Muhawi
Archipelago Books, 2010

Reviewed by André Naffis-Sahely 

Every artist, particularly if they happen to be a good one, is in a sense posthumous. more>>>

My Kind of Girl
By Buddhadeva Bose
Translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha
Archipelago Books, 2010

Reviewed by Tommy Wallach 

A brief encounter with a young couple in love inspires the men to pass the time by telling stories of love from their own lives. more>>>

Recent Dispatches

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature:  Week Two
By Susan Harris
Resuming last week's conversation, the speculation continues. Britain's suspiciously accurate Ladbrokes is yet to weigh in, but  Unibet has posted odds for candidates both familiar (Adonis) and ludicrous (Thomas Bodström), with Paraguay's thirty-year-old Néstor Amarilla the inexplicable favorite at 4:1. more>>>

The City and the Writer: In Antwerp with Ramsey Nasr
By Nathalie Handal

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains.
                              —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Can you describe the mood of Antwerp as you feel/see it?
She’s ambiguous—a vibrant blossoming culture on top, and a rusty brown sentiment beneath the cobblestones.

What is your most heartbreaking memory in this city?
Love, love, love . . .

Artists Talk: Israel/Palestine: Politics and Art in Sheikh Jarrah
By Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi and Chana M
On Friday afternoons the streets of Jerusalem begin to empty out. Friday is a holy day of rest for both the Muslims and the Jews of Jerusalem, and as the Jewish Sabbath is about to begin, the Muslims’ afternoon prayers have just concluded. But for the hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians who gather to demonstrate against the eviction of Arab families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, this quiet, sanctified hour is precisely the time in which the work and struggle begin each week. more>>>

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