World Literature Today

World Literature Today is a bimonthly literary journal owned and published by the University of Oklahoma. It has been published since 1927 and is headquartered in Norman, Okla.World Literature Today, which was founded by Roy Temple House under the title Books Abroad, attracts students, scholars and general readers of foreign books from around the world. The publication started with 32 pages in 1927 and grew to 256 pages by its 50th anniversary. In 1977, the name changed to World Literature Today and is now the second oldest literary journal of its kind in the United States.World Literature Today is the sponsor of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, which is an award of $25,000 given every two years by an international jury of writers, critics and literary scholars. The publication is unique in its regular reviews of books from every part of the world, including those that are only iavailable in their native languages including Lithuanian, Esperanto, Maori, Basque, and Macedonian, before they are widely recognized. In 1975, World Literature Today published a special issue on the Greek poet, Odysseus Elytis, and four years later, in 1979, he won the Nobel Prize. The Swedish Academy cited the journal's special edition as a primary source for its decision for the prize. Two other famed writers who received the journal's Neustadt award and went on to win the Nobel include Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Czeslaw Milosz, a Polish poet. Daniel Simon is the Editor-in-Chief. The Managing Editor is Michelle Johnson.

Articles from Vol. 91, No. 5, September/October

40 Sonnets
Don Paterson. 40 Sonnets. New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2017. 64 pages.The sonnet carries more freight than any other form in the English tradition, which it entered early in the sixteenth century through Thomas Wyatt's loose translations of Petrarch....
Aberrant
Marek Šindelka. Aberrant. Trans. Nathan Fields. Prague. Twisted Spoon Press. 2017. 220 pages.Aberrant is a deliberately paced novel. Dealing as it does in sensory description, the narrative is by turns immaculately beautiful and incredibly boring.I won't...
A Good Prisoner's Handbook
1.My uniform is blue. That means I committed no crime. Or, rather, that they didn't catch me committing any crime. If I had had a forged social security card, for example, it would be falsification of a public document, and I could have served up to...
American War
Omar El Akkad. American War. New York. Alfred A. Knopf. 2017. 333 pages.Omar El Akkad's debut novel, American War, envisions a twenty-first-century United States that has been literally and figuratively reshaped by such forces as the climate crisis and...
Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe
Kapka Kassabova. Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe. Minneapolis. Graywolf Press. 2017. 400 pages.In the late 2000s, Kapka Kassabova undertook a trek along the southern border of her birthplace, Bulgaria. Through her journey, the author sought to...
Browse: The World in Bookshops
Browse: The World in Bookshops Ed. Henry Hitchings Pushkin Press, 2016Don't mistake Browse for a collection of breezy tributes to writers' favorite bookshops. The essays in this little red book are glimpses into the lives of fifteen international writers....
Brutus and Other Heroines: Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women
Harriet Walter. Brutus and Other Heroines: Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women. London. Nick Hern Books. 2016. 210 pages.British actress Harriet Walter (who won a Tony Award nomination for Mary Stuart on Broadway in 2009) offers feminist essays on...
Charges
Miscellaneous Elfriede Jelinek. Charges. Trans. Gitta Honegger. London. Seagull Books. 2017. 200 pages.Elfriede Jelinek adopts the narrative structure, setting, and themes of Aeschylus's Suppliant Women for Charges, a drama that delivers a powerful,...
City of Bones: A Testament
Kwame Dawes. City of Bones: A Testament. Evanston, Illinois. Triquarterly Books / Northwestern University Press. 2017. 218 pages.City of Bones: A Testament is an impressive collection of poems, divided into four parts, which employs a structure that...
Cloud Farming in Wales
Rhys Hughes. Cloud Farming in Wales. Sacramento, California. Snuggly Books. 2017. 164 pages.Prolific Welsh author Rhys Hughes is thoroughly wrung out. While Wales is not quite the wettest place on earth, it sure comes close. In his latest book, Cloud...
Congregating at Commonplace
In midtown Oklahoma City, independent businesses are thriving off of the community's desire for a new approach to urban living. Emerging from that environment, Commonplace Books sits in a brick building-an Oklahoma classic-on a quiet street corner, ready...
Croatian War Nocturnal
Spomenka Štimec. Croatian War Nocturnal. Trans. Sebastian Schulman. Los Angeles. Phoneme Media. 120 pages.The Balkan Wars spawned literature across genres, in languages from emigre English and German to nascent Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian. But Spomenka...
Dieu, Allah, Moi et Les Autres
Salim Bachi. Dieu, Allah, moi et les autres. Paris. Gallimard. 2017. 177 pages."God doesn't exist. Phew! I said it." This profession of lack of faith is found early in Salim Bachi's latest work, which combines autobiographical narrative with reflections...
Dorchester
There are few British authors for whom place played a more important role in their work than Thomas Hardy. By all accounts, Hardy was very protective of Dorset, the county that served as the setting for most of his novels and a good deal of his verse...
Editor's Note
Every story had a face, a first and last name, a mother or son, brother or sister, losses and days of triumph.- Leonora Flis, "Zeroes"The haunting photograph on the cover of this issue, by award-winning Greek photographer Aris Messinis, poignantly evokes...
For Isabel: A Mandala
Antonio Tabucchi. For Isabel: A Mandala. Trans. Elizabeth Harris. Brooklyn. Archipelago Books. 2017. 144 pages.A mandala is the product of an integrated art; a mandala is made to map the cosmos. But the cosmos comes in many shapes and sizes. Antonio...
Four Poems
The Statue of Silenus in the Capitoline Museumfor Irina YermakovaO famous guard before a nameless garden,bearded, shaggy, hugely tall, with pelts that fallover your enormous shoulders, much broaderthan an oxen's back,goat-legged, big-butted, poised on...
Foxlowe
Eleanor Wasserberg. Foxlowe. New York. Penguin Books. 2017. 312 pages.A commune-turned-cult cut off from the rest of the world is undone from the inside by one little girl and a woman's capacity for violence.Green has known no life other than the one...
Go, Went, Gone
Featured Review Jenny Erpenbeck. Go, Went, Gone. Trans. Susan Bernofsky. New York. New Directions. 2017. 320 pages.In her latest novel, Go, Went, Gone, Jenny Erpenbeck, 2018 Puterbaugh Fellow, addresses the current refugee crisis that has had far-reaching...
Heart's Beast: New and Selected Poems
Saleem Peeradina. Heart's Beast: New and Selected Poems. New Delhi. Copper Coin. 2017. 166 pages.As a publication format, the "new and selected poems" allows a poet's corpus to grow incrementally and retrospectively at the same time, with each new collection...
Heretics
Leonardo Padura. Heretics. Trans. Anna Kushner. New York. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2017. 528 pages.This rich and brilliant evocation of Jewish history will only burnish the already extraordinary reputation of the author of the acclaimed The Man Who...
Hostage
Guy Delisle. Hostage. Trans. Helge Dascher. Montreal. Drawn & Quarterly. 2017. 432 pages.Christophe Andre was working as a Médecins Sans Frontieres administrator in Ingushetia, just west of Chechnya, when he was kidnapped and held for 111 days. His...
Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner. lep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter. Tucson. University of Arizona Press. 2017. 82 pages.The lacunae in literary and cultural studies of the Pacific is here mended and woven into the fabric of the basket in Marshallese...
Inheritance from Mother
Fiction Minae Mizumura. Inheritance from Mother. Trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter. New York. Other Press. 2017 (© 2016). 446 pages.This novel, originally published serially in Japan's largest newspaper, begins with two middle-aged Japanese sisters discussing...
Iranian Diaspora Kuku
For me, kuku is a symbol of the Iranian diaspora kitchen. Some people make it with dill weed, some use cilantro, some use more eggs, some use walnuts instead of almonds. There are many variations of this Iranian national dish, but regardless it is a...
Lion Brothers
Leona Sevick. Lion Brothers. WinstonSalem, North Carolina. Press 53. 2017. 63 pages.Lion Brothers, Leona Sevick's first fulllength poetry collection, is named for the textile factory where the poet's Korean mother worked. While the collection is, in...
Literature as Delayed Dialogue: A Conversation with Kike
The Argentine author Enrique Ferrari, known in Buenos Aires as Kike (kee-Kay), has become more visible in the past two years. He writes by day, works cleaning the subway at night, and revises his work during breaks. A family man, father of three, martial...
Literature Class, Berkeley 1980
Julio Cortázar. Literature Class, Berkeley 1980. Trans. Katherine Silver. New York. New Directions. 2017. 303 pages.When one thinks of Argentine literature, two names immediately come to mind: Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, usually in that order....
Made Flesh
I met my wife, Maria Madeleine," the pastor began, "on the last day of classes during my second year at Uppsala University. The two of us were in a course entitled 'Flowers and Nature in the Work of August Strindberg.'" He said "Strindbari" the way it's...
Mapping the Interior
Stephen Graham Jones. Mapping the Interior. New York. Tor. 2017. 112 pages.American history is an atlas of the psychocultural scars that transformed indigenous people's autochthonous relations with the land into the measured/measurable marks of settler-colonialism....
May the End Be Well for All
The best place to lose our wiggly teeth was under grandma's queensized dining table, with a mouth full of grilled pork and fresh blood. It was there-veiled by the ivory of her vinyl tablecloth, alongside the dressed feet of our guests, beneath a spread...
Milosz: A Biography
Andrzej Franaszek. Milosz: A Biography. Trans. Aleksandra & Michael Parker. Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2017. 526 pages.The first comprehensive biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw...
Nota Bene
Nota BeneDavid Bergen Stranger The Overlook PressCanadian writer David Bergen's Stranger follows a Guatemalan woman who carves a path to the United States through a hostile world steeped in disparity and exploitation in order to retrieve her daughter....
Pearl: A New Verse Translation
VersePearl: A New Verse Translation. Trans. Simon Armitage. New York. Liveright. 2017. 153 pages.The difficulty of translation increases with the complexity of the text. With poetry, there's a great deal to be lost in translation. Simon Armitage's new...
Rendición
Ray Loriga. Rendición. Madrid. Alfaguara. 2017. 216 pages.Ray Loriga, born Jorge Loriga Torrenova in Madrid in 1967, has garnered the 2017 Alfaguara Novel Prize for Rendición (Surrender), an engaging, thought-provoking dystopian novel with absurdist...
Salt Houses
Hala Alyan. Salt Houses. Boston. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2017. 312 pages.For a debut novel, Salt Houses is a sophisticated one with an interesting plot and welldeveloped characters. It deals with one of the world's most complicated and continuing...
Selected Works from the African Diaspora
WHAT TO READ NOWSelected Works from the African DiasporaThis is not the Africa you knew. These books, some rooted in Africa but mostly embedded in multiple lands, explore issues of race, equality, immigration, cultural shifts, and more. At their core,...
"Swimming through Bricks": A Conversation with Simon Armitage
Prolific poet Simon Armitage (b. 1963, Marsden, UK) is also a novelist, playwright, lyricist, librettist, translator, and author of several books of nonfiction. In this interview, conducted while visiting Oklahoma City University in April as part of...
The Baghdad Eucharist
Sinan Antoon. The Baghdad Eucharist. Trans. Maia Tabet. Cairo. Hoopoe / American University in Cairo Press. 2017. 129 pages.Sinan Antoons novel, Baghdad Eucharist, translated by Maia Tabet, originally published in Arabic by Al-Kamel Publishers and shortlisted...
The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century
Adam Kirsch. The Global Novel: Writing the World in the 21st Century. New York. Columbia Global Reports. 2016. 112 pages.WLT readers are attuned to the complexities of what makes a novel global and of the limitations of strictly academic ripostes on...
The History of Grains
We had been tossing coins into the choppy waters over our numb shoulders, without uttering a word, and now our wishes for good luck were being fulfilled, unowned and ineffable.That my three brothers pulled an empty, unidentified boat from the sea astonished...
The New Voices of Fantasy
The New Voices of Fantasy. Ed. Peter S. Beagle & Jacob Weisman. San Francisco. Tachyon. 2017. 336 pages.The New Voices of Fantasy, edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman, promises the reader exposure to the next generation of fantasy writers....
The Papyrus Trilogy
Zoran Živkovic. The Papyrus Trilogy. Trans. Alice Copple-Tošic & Vuk Tošic. Belgrade, Serbia. Cadmus Press. 2016. 608 pages.Around the world, in over twenty-three countries and twenty languages, readers have long delighted in the works of visionary...
The Red-Haired Woman
Orhan Pamuk. The Red-Haired Woman. Trans. Ekin Oklap. New York. Knopf. 2017. 272 pages.For over two decades, Orhan Pamuk has given us the courage to remember the distant and the recent past, in signifiers and colors invisible before. That is why it is...
The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between
Hisham Matar. The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between. New York. Random House. 2016. 243 pages.So few books manage to convey the emotional anguish of searching for an answer as well as Hisham Matar's recent Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, The...
The Sacred Era
Yoshio Aramaki. The Sacred Era. Trans. Baryon Tensor Posadas. Minneapolis. University of Minnesota Press. 2017. 240 pages.Surrealist art, post-Christian dogma, reincarnation, and spaceships fueled by human consciousness: these are just some of the elements...
The Sad Part Was
Prabda Yoon. The Sad Part Was. Trans. Mui Poopoksakul. London. Tilted Axis Press. 2017. 189 pages.A schoolgirl struggling to see why one plus one equals two; a bus passenger writing with unusually large gaps between sentences; a young couple being too...
Thirteen Ways of Listening to a Blackbird
Hello PsychaleppoToyourHello Psychaleppo's third release, Toyour, draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources, some musical, some literary, and all celebrating the rich cultural history of the Arab world. The "band" is the brainchild of composer...
Ties
Domenico Starnone. Ties. Trans. Jhumpa Lahiri. New York. Europa Editions. 2017. 150 pages.Domenico Starnone is the author of more than a dozen literary works of fiction in his native Italy, and thanks to Europa Editions in the United States, we are finally...
Translating Eli Eliahu's Difficult Efficiency
"I like simple writing, straightforward and uncomplicated, and I try to write like that," Eli Eliahu said, upon receiving Israel's Matanel Prize in 2013. His work is characterized by this lack of pretension, and it lingers as much on the unsaid as it...
Two Flash Nonfictions
The Perfect NoteI'm fascinated by the story of that man whose wife asked him to write a note for their son who had been absent from school. While she hurries to finish preparing to leave for school with their child, the man wrestles with the note at...
Two Poems
CrossroadsAll winter I didn't write a poem, and I didn't remembereven one dream that I dreamt. I left a houseand a wife, rented an apartment, and everything I neededI found discarded along one road or another: bed,table, shelves, refrigerator. It's possible...
Verse Africa: The Malleable Poetics of Some Contemporary African Poets
Over the last several years as a writer, reader, editor, and educator who teaches courses on global poetics, I have been deeply struck by the significant emergence of female poets with roots in Africa. While African fiction is widely known, poetry has...
Vis & I
Farideh Razi. Vis & I. Trans. Niloufar Talebi. Sweden. l'Aleph. 2017. 112 pages.Vis & I is a love story but also, or even more so, a story of soul searching. An allusion to Vis & Ramin, an eleventh-century Persian epic love poem by Fakhruddin...
"We Carry Home within Us": A Conversation with Laleh Khadivi & Sholeh Wolpé
Persis Karim, a poet and the editor of three anthologies of Iranian diaspora literature, is the Neda Nobari Chair of the newly established Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University. In her new position, Karim is in the unique...
We Were the New Era (an Excerpt)
The next morning, a group of angry men were standing in the yard. They had brought crowbars and other tools with them. A large black Doberman was running around the leader, who called himself Thomas. Behind him were four others, including a beast of...
Who Can Identify Byomkesh? the Mystery of the Missing Indian Mysteries
The impact of British literature on India was profound, altering the poetry, fiction, and drama of the many cultures and languages unified by the empire, and it has lingered. Victorian attitudes in public entertainment remained powerful enough to embarrass...
Writing the Real: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary French Poetry
Writing the Real: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary French Poetry. Ed. Nina Parish & Emma Wagstaff. London. Enitharmon Press. 2017. 189 pages.Considering the breadth of poetry contained within, Writing the Real is a relatively brief but highly...
Zeroes
The binaries of life bite at 3 a.m.You don't need to fast-forward time.Envision vanishing before it happens.For those who care to look, profiles remain.They stumble upon them in the sunlight.She remembered standing in line waiting to be assigned a number,...
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