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. 90, No. 5, September/October

A Creature of Habit
It's not clear whether my husband is going to be ambassador for much longer, as he might be recalled from his position because of me, or he'll have no choice but to resign. We don't talk about this, of course. When he comes home from work, he goes into...
Ailleurs Est Maintenant
Krzysztof Siwczyk. Ailleurs est maintenant. Trans. Isabelle Macor. Paris. Éditions Grèges. 2015. 108 pages."Poetry, including the poetry I write, is of no use, no help to anyone. It is theodicy without an object, communion without lips. It is a pure...
A Mediterranean Blend
GLOBAL FREQUENCYA Mediterranean BlendAchref Chargui TrioTajaliyattAfoforo Music ClubTajaliyatt is the second album from the ambitious Achref Chargui Trio. Composed of the aforementioned Chargui, a Tunisian oud player, along with drummer Jacopo Adreini...
And after Many Days
Jowhor Ile. And after Many Days. New York. Tim Duggan Books. 2016. 246 pages.After seventeen-year-old Paul Utu tells his younger brother, Ajie, of his plan to visit a friend, he vanishes one afternoon in 1995. That event and its cost to his upper-middle-class...
An Ofrenda to Sacred Waters
The idea for this Gulf feature of World Literature Today goes back almost fifteen years to end-of-the-day conversations with my colleague (and co-editor of this section) Keith Cartwright in the building that some of Roanoke College's English professors...
As Long as Trees Take Root in the Earth
To honor Mabanckou on the occasion ofhis visit to the University of Oklahoma, sixgraduate students from OU's Departmentof Modern Languages, Literatures, andLinguistics-Alex Stewart, Christine Tomte,Fabrice Conte, Hannah Johnson, HichameNaciri, and Rokiatou...
Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora
MiscellaneousBeing Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora. Ed. Yasir Suleiman. Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Press. 2016. 370 pages.One hundred and two Palestinians in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States...
By Fire: Writings on the Arab Spring
Tahar Ben Jelloun. By Fire: Writings on the Arab Spring. Trans. Rita S. Nezami. Evanston, Illinois. Curbstone Books / Northwestern University Press. 2016. 120 pages.Where does one begin to speak of the Arab Spring, after all that has been expended in...
Cinco Esquinas
Mario Vargas Llosa. Cinco esquinas. Madrid. Alfaguara. 2016. 314 pages.Mario Vargas Llosa's latest novel is as much a psychological thriller as it is a compelling portrait of power and corruption in Peru's recent political history. Set in Lima during...
Confessions
Rabee Jaber. Confessions. Trans. Kareem James Abu-Zeid. New York. New Directions. 2016. 120 pages.Several artists stand out among the many voices that a new wave of translation has made available to anglophone readers; one of these is the Lebanese writer...
Damnificados
JJ Amaworo Wilson. Damnificados. Oakland, California. PM Press. 2016. 274 pages.It is said that historians provide accuracy while artists provide truth, which can be best illustrated by the novel Damnificados. According to author JJ Amaworo Wilson, the...
Death by Water Suite
(Heavy Water #74: going down)i.the version of my father's brother's drowning i was raised onand preferis the one in which his friends and cousins -having lost their week's pay to him at cardshaving drunk not quite enough to down the piddling affront...
Dinner with Dick Francis
Dinner with Dick FrancisWhen I was a newly minted assistant professor, Twayne's English Author Series contracted me to write an analysis of the Dick Francis novels. The only Francis novel I had read at that point had been enjoyable. The main character...
Dothead: Poems
Amit Majmudar. Dothead: Poems. New York. Knopf. 2016. 104 pages.Poet Amit Majmudar's one-hundred-page book is frequently eloquent, captivating, and powerful; however, it is also partisan, puerile, and facile.One of the best poems, "Interrogation," serves...
Editor's Note
In a country as big as America it is as impossible to prophesy as it is to generalize, without being tripped up, but it seems to me that there is room for hope as well as mistrust. The epic loses all its glory without the dream. - James Truslow Adams,...
Editor's Pick
EDITOR'S PICKGuus Kuijer The Bible for Unbelievers: The Beginning: Genesis Trans. Laura Watkinson Seven Stories Press, 2016The Bible has occupied a central position in Western culture since Constantine's conversion to the Christian faith. Once universally...
Elevation of a Port (an Excerpt)
xxxviiiThen they landed in large pastures, light aircraftsof gringo registrationfrom which somber blonde men descendedarmed with hypodermic needlesAnd in gloved assault they inoculatedfoot-and-mouth disease in the cattle that grazedpeacefully thereor...
En Attendant Bojangles
Olivier Bourdeaut. En attendant Bojangles. Le Bouscat, France. Finitude. 2016. 158 pages.In this short novel, an unconventional and, apparently, blissfully happy couple, as seen through the eyes of their son, dance their way through life, mostly to the...
Englaland
VerseSteve Ely. Englaland. Grewelthorpe, Ripon, UK. Smokestack Books (Dufour Editions, distr.). 2015. 200 pages.Steve Ely's Englaland evokes postindustrial scenes that become more richly meaningful as he connects the present to the past. The first poem...
Escape Attempt
Miguel Ángel Hernández. Escape Attempt. Trans. Rhett McNeil. Madrid. Hispabooks. 2016. 289 pages.I remember being disconcerted and dismayed when I came across a posting on the Internet publicizing an exhibit in a museum where a stray dog had been tied...
"Every Poet Has to Be Lonely": A Conversation with Tomasz Rózycki and His Translators
Tomasz Rózycki rose to both critical and popular prominence as an important voice of his generation in Poland when his fifth book, Twelve Stations, won the Koscielski Prize in 2004. Playing off of Adam Mickiewicz's national epic, Pan Tadeusz, the book...
Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s
William Marling. Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s. New York. Oxford University Press. 2016. 215 pages.This excellent study of the catalysts for four writers-Gabriel García Márquez, Charles Bukowski, Paul Auster, and Ha-ruki...
Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale That Begins with Fukushima
Furukawa Hideo. Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale That Begins with Fukushima. Trans. Doug Slaymaker with Akiko Takenaka. New York. Columbia University Press. 2016. 147 pages.Although the cataclysmic destruction visited upon Japan...
Houses
iThere is no possible house any longer.If there ever wasa first one mentioned,she is now in ruins and does not await returns,or transient guests still confusedwho arrive weary to scrutinize the dustand to keep her from endingin a nagging, dense, uninhabitable...
How to Become Globalized without Losing Your Mind: A Conversation with Alain Mabanckou
During his visit to the University of Oklahoma in April, Alain Mabanckou sat down with Rokiatou Soumaré-a graduate student in OU's Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics-to discuss his work. Their public conversation, in front of...
Human Acts
Featured Review Han Kang. Human Acts. Trans. Deborah Smith. London. Portobello Books. 2016. 224 pages.Human Acts is a very different novel from The Vegetarian, Han Kang's first novel recently published in English to numerous accolades, including the...
I Am Your Judge
Nele Neuhaus. I Am Your Judge. Trans. Steven T. Murray. New York. Minotaur Books. 2016. 406 pages.Nele Neuhaus is a best-seller in Germany and proposes to be one here. She may well succeed. It is easy to see why this is so when reading her latest book.The...
I Dreamt a Horse Fell from the Sky
Adil Jussawalla. I Dreamt a Horse Fell from the Sky. Gurgaon, India. Hachette India. 2015. 376 pages.Having been part of the resurgence of Indian poetry in English that was very much Bombay-centered, Adil Jussawalla brought out a brilliant debut collection...
In the Company of the Muse
Dike Okoro. In the Company of the Muse. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cissus World Press. 2015. 88 pages.Dike Okoro's recent collection of poems, In the Company of the Muse, is a work of substance in which the poet deploys versatile techniques to express his...
La Superba
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. La Superba. Trans. Michele Hutchison. Dallas, Texas. Deep Vellum. 2016. 400 pages.Anti-Europeans will see this extraordinary book as a knowing critique of a spoiled, corrupt, and quarrelsome lot of countries; pro-Europeans will...
Literary Detroit: A Marriage of Poetry and Pragmatism
There are cities that get by on their good looks . . . and there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living. - Elmore LeonardDespite, or maybe because of, Detroit's rough reputation and troubled economic history, the literary scene in the...
London Fog: The Biography
Christine L. Corton. London Fog: The Biography. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2015. 391 pages.Debates swirl as to whether and to what extent humans have affected and can affect the climate. Not surprisingly, studies...
Moods & Women & Men & Once Again Moods: An Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Erotic Poetry
Moods & Women & Men & Once Again Moods: An Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Erotic Poetry. Ed. Ruxandra Cesereanu. Bucharest. Editura Tracus Arte. 2015. 209 pages.This kind of anthology drops readers with modest or no knowledge of the poetry...
Mothering Sunday: A Romance
Graham Swift. Mothering Sunday: A Romance. New York. Alfred A. Knopf. 2016. 177 pages.On March 30, 1924, on what was known in England as Mothering Sunday-the day servants were given offto visit their mothers- Jane Fairchild, an orphan and housemaid at...
Negro Spiritual
You must know, Lord, who was Gabriel Valdés,called Plácido, that solicitous and elegant mulatto,my brother, who since then turned our old homethere in Matanzas into his abode.You will remember as well he was clever, agile, skillful,a chosen one, a prestidigitator...
New Voices in Vietnamese American Literature: A Conversation with Viet Thanh Nguyen, Andrew Lam, and Aimee Phan
Viet Thanh Nguyen became the first Vietnamese American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel, The Sympathizer, this year. His achievement was particularly emotional and rewarding for the Vietnamese American literary community because for...
Nota Bene
João AlminoEnigmas of SpringTrans. Rhett McNeilDalkey Archive PressEnigmas of Spring follows a young Brazilian man's journey from his home to Spain where his restlessness and lack of ambition set him down a path toward radicalization. Whether that journey...
Noviembre
Jorge Galán. Noviembre. México City. Planeta. 2015. 255 pages.On November 16, 1989, the US-trained Atlacatl battalion of the Salvadoran army broke into the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" (uca) and murdered six Jesuit scholars who had...
Pascin
Joann Sfar. Pascin. Trans. Edward Gauvin. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Uncivilized Books. 2016. 186 pages.Through a series of vignettes depicting the personal life and sexual escapades of Julius Mordecai Pincas (Pascin), French cartoonist Joann Sfar presents...
Private Life
Josep Maria de Sagarra. Private Life. Trans. Mary Ann Newman. Brooklyn. Archipelago Books. 2015. 493 pages.When news stories of low wages and mounting student debt are reported side-by-side with reality TV stars and wealthy elites, it almost seems that...
Quiet Flows the Una
Faruk Sehic. Quiet Flows the Una. Trans. Will Firth. London. Istros Books. 2016. 193 pages.When a trauma as perverse, crushing, and searing as the extended, violent breakup of one's nation occurs, it can take the most sensitive of souls a generation...
Savage Conversations (an Excerpt)
President Abraham Lincoln gave the order to execute thirty-eight Dakota Indians in Mankato, Minnesota, for their actions in the Dakota War against white settlers who had first stolen their lands, then their rations, and raped their women. At 10 a.m....
Sharp Blue Search of Flame
Zilka Joseph. Sharp Blue Search of Flame. Detroit. Wayne State University Press. 2016. 116 pages.If the American critic Stephen Burt's precepts for reading new poetry-look for a persona and a world, not for an argument or a plot-are to be heeded, then...
Son Jarocho, Rock and Roll, and Bridges between Cultures: A Conversation with Agustín del Moral Tejeda
Agustín del Moral Tejeda was born in Las Choapas, Veracruz, in 1956. An accomplished writer, journalist, editor, translator, and activist, he currently lives and works in Xalapa at the University of Veracruz. He has published two novels, Nuestra alma...
The Attempt
Magdaléna Platzová. The Attempt. Trans. Alex Zucker. New York. Bellevue Literary Press. 2016. 224 pages.Anarchy has not quite yet faded into the history books. This politico-philosophical movement, which espouses self-governing societies and opposes...
The Cowshed: Memories of the Cultural Revolution
Ji Xianlin. The Cowshed: Memories of the Cultural Revolution. Trans. Chenxin Jiang. New York. New York Review Books. 2016. 188 pages.The memoirs and fiction about Mao's Cultural Revolution (1966-76) that were published in the post-Mao People's Republic...
The Illiterati Café and Bookstore in Dharamshala
In the foothills of the Himalayas, a few hundred meters below the Dalai Lama's temple in Dharamshala, on a quiet, winding, monsoon-eroded road next to a motorcycle garage, sits the bookstore/café Illiterati. It has no sign outside, only a chalkboard...
The Lamentations of Zeno
Ilija Trojanow. The Lamentations of Zeno. Trans. Philip Boehm. New York. Verso Books. 2016. 164 pages.Zeno Hintermeier is named for the founder of Stoicism, a central tenet of which is that we should live in accord with nature and that we should promote...
The Lights of Pointe-Noire
Alain Mabanckou. The Lights of Pointe- Noire. Trans. Helen Stevenson. New York. The New Press. 2016. 202 pages.Without so much as a few lines' hesitation, Alain Mabanckou extinguishes a persistent, haunting myth within The Lights of Pointe- Noire: despite...
The Little Red Chairs
Edna O'Brien. The Little Red Chairs. Boston. Little, Brown. 2016. 320 pages.What if ?What if Radovan Karadzic-the mastermind of the infamous forty-four-month Siege of Sarajevo in which 11,541 Sarajevans perished-what if Karadzic did not in the war's...
The Mexican Flyboy
Alfredo Véa. The Mexican Flyboy. Norman, Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press. 2016. 338 pages.The Mexican Flyboy reads like a surrealist dream: it is a fairy tale for adults, a novel where clairvoyant superheroes (Mandrake the Magician) and historical...
The Queue
FictionBasma Abdel Aziz. The Queue. Trans. Elisabeth Jaquette. Brooklyn. Melville House. 2016. 217 pages.Building on an Egyptian literary dystopic tradition, Basma Abdel Aziz transforms queuing into a metaphor for the pervasive institutional and moral...
The Scold's Bridle
If there's one thing that we know bonds women of all backgrounds, of all political colors, in all kinds of business and profession, it's the classic experience of the failed intervention; you're at a meeting, you make a point, then a short silence follows,...
The Stone Wall
Something there is that doesn't love a wall.- Robert FrostEven from a distance we could tell something was wrong with the wall. When we went out to the pasture the ground seemed firm enough, although a few stones had been dislodged. Frost heave, we thought,...
The World of Alain Mabanckou
The Congolese have the reputation for being dapper dressers, fashionistas, for always appearing in public dressed impeccably. This art is known as the S.A.P.E., the acronym for the Society of Ambiancers and Persons of Elegance, and Alain Mabanckou is...
Three Poems
The instrument did not choose this ceremony.My mother offered me five strings, nounswithout a grammar.I leftmy mother's emptiness, to embrace my own.Whose darkness sits in the north,if no one can sing my sorrow?It arrives again, a tapatío Sunday.Sitting...
Translating Deceptive Simplicity in Poetry
Ana Blandiana is a poet of rich formal resources. Since her first book, First-Person Plural (1964), she has written in a variety of forms ranging from sonnets to traditionally rhymed quatrains to a looser verse form with irregular or random rhymes to...
Two Poems
The AntLet it go back to the anthill.If it brushes inattentively against your fingersclimbs themand daydreamsin the furrows of your hand,don't chase it away or squash it.Let it go back, as best it can, to the anthill.Guide it to where it belongs.Surely...
Two Poems
Thistles and GodsThistles and gods all withered in the sunLike the blanched remains of temples,Long and slender skeletons,Irrevocable examplesOf the burden of being immortal.As though it were a summer without endAnd all of time a single dayMade widow...
Two Poems
Your MemoryAnd then, I ask myself,How is it possible that you hide your facein the shadow of other languagesand refuse to understand the language of the wind?While you sleptyour fatherheard you talkingwith the Guardian Lords of Fertile Lands.Woman of...
Urban Reality and Classical Antiquity
A Conversation with Luis Alberto de CuencaLuis Alberto de Cuenca (b. 1950, Madrid) is perhaps the one Spanish poet today who has influenced most of the younger generations of poets. He recently received the National Poetry Award for his latest book of...
War Music: An Account of Homer's Iliad
Christopher Logue. War Music: An Account of Homer's Iliad. Ed. Christopher Reid. New York. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 2016. 352 pages.Christopher Logue's recent volume of poetry, War Music, holds Homer's deft portrait of the Trojan War up to the present's...
We Are All Blue: Two Plays
Donald Molosi. We Are All Blue: Two Plays. New York. The Mantle. 2016. 110 pages.Despite the significant growth of publication of African drama in the West, Botswana remains underrepresented to a large degree, perhaps even unrepresented until now. The...
WHAT TO READ NOW: Malaysia
The appetite for Malaysian fiction in the English-speaking world seems fixated on family sagas set in the Japanese Occupation of Malaya-stories largely irrelevant to the current sociopolitical challenges facing this Southeast Asian nation tussling between...
Where the River Parts
Radhika Swarup. Where the River Parts. Dingwall, UK. Sandstone Press. 2016. 307 pages.In 1947 India and Pakistan gained their independence from England and from each other. Millions fled from one side to the other to escape the violence; thousands more...
Wooden Diamond Rocket
Translators' note: The Diamond Sutra is one of the most frequently read Buddhist sutras. It is often read at funerals to wish the deceased person the wisdom of nonattachment, at which point they may leave the circle of reincarnation and enter Nirvana.as...
Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.