Monday, October 27, 2008

things to do instead of dying

So now I'm angling this differently. I read rule #1 and it said update the blog or it will die. Before, it was scraps of translation cast out whenever. Now I'm updating instead of dying. There'll be lots going on here from now on. Nobody wants to die. To start off, these are a couple of the things I'm doing right now:

Firstly, I've been working on two stories from Dorthe Nors' magnificent new collection Kantslag [we're calling it 'Karate Chop']. Not surprisingly, the one called Buddhisten has been turned into 'The Buddhist'. More unpredictably, Vadehavet has become 'The Wadden Sea'. This was news to me: that there is an English name for what I call Vadehavet, and that name is the Wadden Sea. I don't know if anyone has ever heard of it. But it doesn't matter: it's a wonderful name, especially in the context of Dorthe Nors' story, all Virginia Wolf-like. These stories are going off to journals in the US, maybe to Tin House magazine, maybe to McSweeney's Quarterly, maybe to the Boston Review.

Inspired by Jonathan Wichman's book Leth og kedsomheden, I recently did a selection of Jørgen Leth's poems around the theme of 'boredom'. These are still out being reviewed. In the meantime I've done another brief selection of seven 'poems and poetic fragments', as I've opted to collectively call them. There are two poems proper, both from Leth's 2000 collection Billedet forestiller [The Picture Represents]. These are supplemented by five 'fragments' which appeared in Banana Split #5 in 2005, having previously been published as parts of more expansive pieces in the aforementioned collection. The selection may become a chapbook for Calque, or they may come out elsewhere.

Thirdly, I'm working on two stories by David Foster Wallace from his 1999 collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. The first carries the portentous title 'Suicide as a kind of present' [Selvmord som en slags gave], the second, as yet untitled in Danish, is called 'Signifying nothing'. These are bound for Danish journals, or perhaps a Norwegian one if it can get its mail server sorted out and stop throwing things back at me. Wallace has only once before appeared in Danish translation, in 2001, when the journal Passage published another story from this same collection entitled 'Octet'.

So now this blog is not dead anymore.


Dorthe Nors said...

Interesting how you mention the Virginia Woolf-like qualities of "The Wadden Sea". I haven't thought about it myself, but "To the Lighthouse" was my all time favorite when I was around twenty. I read it over and over again, and I suddenly see, that there is a connection between "The Wadden Sea" and "To the Lighthouse". Well read, well read (and thanks for the amazing translations, I'm very grateful).

Martin Aitken said...

Thanks, Dorthe. And you're right - I really can't spell Woolf.