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Tablet & Pen

The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry

Image:Baktash Sarang, Untitled, 25×17 cm, Mixed Media, 2009

Tablet & Pen: Writing from the Modern Middle East
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This month we celebrate the publication of our fifth WWB anthology, Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, edited by Reza Aslan. Both Tablet and Pen and this complementary issue of WWB present a different, more authentic perception of this complex region, one that arises from the diverse literatures of its most acclaimed poets and writers. These translations from Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu display the rich poetic tradition of the region and provide a new paradigm for viewing the mosaic that is the modern Middle East. In an essay appearing here for the first time in English, the great Khalil Gibran frames the discussion with an eloquent argument for the revolutionary power of language. Shahriar Mandanipour, ofCensoring an Iranian Love Story fame, snakes inside a family compound turned viper’s nest.  Famed Persian woman poet Forugh Farrokhzad contributes a ravishing hymn to desire.  Fouad Laroui recalls the advent of television in Morocco and the dawning of his life's calling. In work from two Turkish masters, novelist Sait Faik Abasiyanik asks if all thing
s come to those who wait, and poet Murathan Mungan seeks a desert assassin. Azra Abbas considers time and beauty, while her fellow Urdu poets Akhtar ul-Iman and Makhdum Moinuddin offer two views from (and of) the city. Shams Langeroody receives a cargo of sorrow, and Granaz Moussavi searches for hidden sunshine.

Elsewhere this month, Dror Burstein delivers the Dakar Courier, Gabriela Adamesteanu observes a Romanian girl coming of age, and Pravinsinh Chavda’s librarian checks out a patron.

from "The Future of the Arabic Language"
By Khalil Gibran
Translated by Adnan Haydar
Let your national zeal spur you to depict the mysteries of pain and the miracles of joy that characterize life in the  East. more>>>

Mummy and Honey
By Shahriar Mandanipour   
Translated by Sara Khalili
She had seen a rope in the middle of her room and when she bent down to pick it up, the rope had with insolent reluctance slithered into the folds of the bedding. more>>>

By Forugh Farrokhzad    
Translated by Sholeh Wolpé
I sensed my skin crack from love’s dilating joy. more>>>

My Father's Antenna
By Fouad Laroui   
Translated by Lydia Beyoud
Grandmother watched from afar, hidden behind the door, curious as a cat but fearing the devil and the jinns that hide inside European machines. more>>>

Desert Lights
By Murathan Mungan       
Translated by Aron Aji
Before winter arrives you must / hire a handsome assassinmore>>>

By Shams Langeroody      
Translated by Zara Houshmand
The sky is torn in shreds, and song and light / gush from its heart.more>>>

The Waiter
By Sait Faik Abasiniyiak  
Translated by Aron Aji
There, in a corner of the deck over the water, she sits like a ghost, facing away from the sea, silently smoking her cigarette.more>>>  

Sunshine in the Closet
By Granaz Moussavi         
Translated by Zara Houshmand
They become little stars and screech at the night more>>>

Our City
By Makhdum Moinuddin  
Translated by M.A.R. Habib
In its houses, corpses have stayed for years / renting. more>>>

By Akhtar Ul-Iman     
Translated by M.A.R. Habib
In this teeming city, is there none / Who might recognize me?more>>>

You're Where You've Always Been
By Azra Abbas     
Translated by M. U. Memon
Standing before a poster of Marilyn Monroe / Unbidden I salute her beauty. more>>>

Also in This Issue:

The Dakar Courier
By Dror Burstein   
Translated by Dalya Bilu
Only then they discovered that underneath the man were two giant eggs. more>>>

A String of Words         
By Pravinsinh Chavda
Translated by Mira Desai
A trembling fear, and a midnight phone call. more>>>

from The Same Way Every Day
By Gabriela Adamesteanu
Translated by Carrie Messenger
We had all heard rumors about an album of naked girls, from which guests invited to a tea in the City could choose the ones they liked. more>>>

Tablet & Pen

Book Reviews 
Cyclops CoverCyclops
By Ranko Marinkovic
Translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias Bursac and Vlada Stojiljkovic
Yale University Press, 2010

Reviewed by Valentina Zanca 

Cyclops is a semi-autobiographical, modernist tour de force by novelist and playwright Ranko Marinkovic, and it may be one of the most outstanding Croatian novels of the postwar period. more>>>

Hate: A Romance
By Tristan Garcia
Translated from the French by Marion Duvert and Lorin Stein
Faber and , 2010

Reviewed by Adam Eaglin 

A chic Parisian intellectual and arbiter of the fashionable, Elizabeth believes in pills, has been called “pretty” enough to believe it, is a self-professed bitch, and has terrible taste in men. more>>>

Recent Dispatches

From the Translator: Kim M. Hastings on Translating
“Borges’s Secretary”

By Kim M. Hastings
Not long after I translated “Borges’s Secretary,” I received a handwritten note thanking me for sharing the work and remarking, “it never seems to read like a translation.” What happier line for a translator to hear, especially as it came from Alberto Manguel, celebrated writer, translator, and one-time assistant to Borges (not his secretary, in the end, but something even more intimate, his reader, Borges’s access to books he could no longer read himself but had to have read to him). more>>>

By Geoff Wisner
In 1986, when the Swiss novelist and playwright Max Frisch won the Neustadt Prize, the New York Times described him as a “perennial Nobel Prize candidate.” Frisch died five years later, still without the Nobel, and these days he seems largely forgotten.
I first read Max Frisch — a novel called I’m Not Stiller — for a college course in existential literature. As the title of that book indicates, his plays and novels revolve around questions of personal identity and choice. more>>> From the Translator: Andrea Rosenberg on Translating Silvina Ocampo’s “The Golden Hare”
By Andrea Rosenberg
I knew I had to translate “The Golden Hare,” Silvina Ocampo’s mysterious fable, as soon as I read the first few sentences. Now often published separately as a children’s book in Argentina, it is the first story in Ocampo’s 1959 collection La furia (The Fury). Silvina, the less famous and more ethereal of Argentina’s most renowned literary siblings, is perhaps best known in the United States (if she is known at all) for her associations with other more prominent literary figures—she was Victoria Ocampo’s sister, Adolfo Bioy Casares’s wife, Jorge Luis Borges’s close friend—but she was a prizewinning poet and short-story writer in her own right and published more than two dozen collections of short narrative and poetry during her lifetime, as well as a novel and a play. She was also, to my great delight, a prolific translator, bringing such writers as Dickinson, Melville, and Poe into Spanish. more>>>
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