Celebrating International Translation Day

Tomorrow is International Translation Day! According to Three Percent, a brilliant resource for international literature, less than 1% of all books published each year in the United States are literary fiction and poetry in translation. This seems a great shame—we’re missing out on a wealth of wonderful reading and, as Three Percent points out, we’re also neglecting the opportunity to learn about other cultures:

Reading literature from other countries is vital to maintaining a vibrant book culture and to increasing the exchange of ideas among cultures. In this age of globalization, one of the best ways to preserve the uniqueness of cultures is through the translation and appreciation of international literary works.

If you’re keen to discover more contemporary international literature and learn about the wonderful work of literary translators, we’ve got a treat in store (and in the store) for you—we’re celebrating International Translation Day with a special event and a very special offer:

  • At 7pm tomorrow, renowned translators Kurt Heinzelman, Liliana Valenzuela, and Jamey Gambrell will give readings from their work—and we’re told that Kurt will also talk about the practice of translating from languages he doesn’t know… that should be interesting!
  • And we’re also offering a whopping 20% off all books in translation on International Translation Day!

If you think you might have trouble deciding what to choose from our fantastic selection, let us spotlight a few recent releases—originally written in languages as diverse as Slovenian, Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, and Japanese—to whet your appetite for a global literary adventure!

  • HippodromeHippodrome by Miklavž Komelj; translated by Boris Gregoric and Dan Rosenberg (Zephyr Press)

In Hippodrome, his first collection of poems in English translation, Slovenian poet Komelj references Futurist operas, NATO military action, personal friends, and literary and artistic heroes. His view is wide and deep, but throughout this book, and despite all these shifts in attention and approach, he builds a compelling and unique vision.

  • This Number Does Not ExistThis Number Does Not Exist by Mangalesh Dabral (BOA Editions)

An attentive critique on contemporary reality, this first US publication of Mangalesh Dabral, presented in bilingual English and Hindi, speaks for the dislocated, disillusioned people of our time. These compassionate poems depict the reality of diaspora among ordinary people and the middle class, underlining the disillusionments of post-Independence India.

  • The Temple of IconoclastsThe Temple of Iconoclasts by J. Rodolfo Wilcock; translated by Lawrence Venuti (David R. Godine)

Wilcock’s charming fiction in the form of a biographical dictionary features a cast of eccentrics, visionaries, and downright crackpots. Temple’s brief portraits blend mordant satire and profound imaginative sympathy, taking in the whole dazzling spectrum of human folly—including a handful of colors that only Wilcock’s Swiftian eye could possibly have perceived.

  • Don't Leave MeDon’t Leave Me by Stig Saeterbakken; translated by Sean Kinsella (Dalkey Archive Press)

When seventeen-year-old Aksel Morander encounters Amalie, it proves a turning point in his life—not only does he fall in love for the first time, but he is introduced to an unfamiliar world that reveals everything around him in a new light. This is an intense novel about loneliness and agonizing passion, by one of Norway’s most acclaimed contemporary writers.

  • Collected Haiku of Yosa BusonCollected Haiku of Yosa Buson; translated by W. S. Merwin and Takako Lento (Copper Canyon Press)

This is the first complete bilingual translation of the entire Buson Kushu, a comprehensive collection of the haiku of Yosa Buson (1716–83), originally published in Japan in the mid-eighteenth century. W.S. Merwin and Takako Lento worked for nearly a decade to co-translate these poems, filled with resonant philosophical inquiry and wisdom about the natural world.

New To Our Shelves

Here’s a handy roundup of some of the new Spring titles adorning our shelves, featuring two works in translation from Wakefield Press, a brand-new installment for all you Struggle fans, and an audacious reinvention of a classic tale.

New Books 01

“The Pig is the Sun….” So begins Oskar Panizza’s outrageously heretical and massively erudite essay on the pig, originally published in 1900 in his journal Zurich Discussions. Moving from the Rig Veda to the Edda to Ovid, from the story of Tristan and Isolde to Nordic celebrations of Christmas, from Grimms’ fairytales to Swedish folklore to Judeo-Egyptian dietary restrictions, the author contends, through painstakingly philological argumentation, that the miraculous swine occupies a central, celestial position as the life-giving force animating the entire universe, usurping the place of God as the beginning and end of all things.

This fierce fable of childbirth by German Surrealist Unica Zürn was written after she had already given birth to two children and undergone the self-induced abortion of another in Berlin in the 1950s. Beginning in the relatively straightforward, if disturbing, narrative of a young woman in a tower (with a bat in her hair and ravens for company) engaged in a psychic war with the parasitic son in her belly, The Trumpets of Jericho dissolves into a beautiful nightmare of hypnotic obsession and mythical language, stitched together with anagrams and private ruminations. Arguably Zürn’s most extreme experiment in prose, and never before translated into English, this novella dramatizes the frontiers of the body–its defensive walls as well as its cavities and thresholds–animating a harrowing and painfully honest depiction of motherhood as a breakdown in the distinction between self and other, transposed into the language of darkest fairy tales.

New Books 02

The much-anticipated fifth book of Knausgaard’s powerful My Struggle series is written with tremendous force and sincerity. As a nineteen-year-old, Karl Ove moves to Bergen and invests all of himself in his writing. But his efforts get the opposite effect—he wants it so much that he gets writer’s block. We raved about the first book in this series, and can’t wait to read this penultimate volume.

  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad; a work by Fiona Banner, with photographs by Paolo Pellegrin

For the latest in the Four Corners Familiars series, artist Fiona Banner recasts Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness as a luxury magazine with new photographs by Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin. First published in 1899, Heart of Darkness is a story of trade and corruption that proceeds from a boat moored on the banks of the Thames into the heart of the Congo. For her new edition, Banner commissioned Pellegrin, a conflict photographer who has worked extensively in the Congo, to photograph London’s financial center, its streets and trading floors, its costumes and strip clubs―the City of London as seen by a veteran war photographer. The collaboration between Banner and Pellegrin emerged from an initial invitation from Peer, London, to work with the collection of the Archive of Modern Conflict; a selection of Pellegrin’s images are now part of the Archive, filed under “Heart of Darkness, 2014.”

On Our Shelves: The Argonauts

We have a book recommendation for you today—and since this title is cat and staff approved, you really can’t go wrong!

The Argonauts

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson (Graywolf Press)

Maggie Nelson’s 2009 Bluets was a rigorous and engaging analysis of heartbreak and despair, filtered through an exploration of the color blue—and now, with The Argonauts, we have a similarly smart, genre-bending, inventive examination of Nelson’s most recent intellectual obsessions: emotional intimacy and sex, pregnancy and motherhood, and, at the heart of the book, the author’s romantic relationship with the fluidly gendered artist Harry Dodge. Just as Dodge rejects the familiar binary narrative that sees transgender people as ‘trapped in the wrong body’—“I’m not on my way anywhere, Harry sometimes tells inquirers”—Nelson rejects a culture that demands we pick a side in every debate, and instead embraces ambiguity and improvisation:

I looked anew at unnameable things, or at least things whose essence is flicker, flow. . . . I stopped smugly repeating ‘Everything that can be thought at all can be thought clearly’ and wondered, anew, can everything be thought.

And, fittingly, Nelson’s spare and swirling prose defies categorization, moving deftly from reminiscence to criticism to philosophy. Even a ‘conventional’ experience like motherhood becomes somehow stranger and richer when seen through Nelson’s fearless reflections. Her aim is not to define, but to question—to seek comfort and freedom in uncertainty and transition. If you’re looking for a beautifully written memoir that challenges you and thumbs its nose at traditional genre expectations, The Argonauts might be just the book for you.

Gifts Galore at Malvern Books

The festive season is well and truly upon us, my dears—and if you’ve left your shopping till the last minute, fear not, as all your essential Yuletide gifts can be found here at Malvern Books! We’re open every day until the 25th (with a slightly early closing time of 6pm on Christmas Eve), and to make your present-purchasing a little easier, we’re also offering a stupendously generous Holiday Gift Card Offer—for every $40 you spend, you’ll receive a $10 gift card. (Please note, the gift card can not be used on the day of purchase.)

As for what to buy… well, there are plenty of handsome new arrivals featured on our home page, but here are a few more top picks for the beloved bookworms in your life:

Hit ParadeBrooklyn’s Ugly Duckling Presse recently released Hit Parade, a bilingual Russian-English collection of poems by Semyon Khanin, Vladimir Svetlov, Sergej Timofejev, and Artur Punte, the four most acclaimed members of the Orbita creative collective, based in Riga, Latvia. Lyn Hejinian called Hit Parade “one of the best collections of poetry I’ve ever encountered,” so it’s a pretty safe bet that your favorite poetry lover is going to appreciate these greatest hits.

Last week we eagerly unpacked a new order from Chax, a Texan indie press founded in 1984 and dedicated to “increasing the impact of new writing in our culture.” We received a host of awesome titles, including Reason and Other Women by Alice Notley, The Complete Light Poems by Jackson Mac Low, Andalusia by Susan Thackrey, and Linh Dinh’s Some Kind of Cheese Orgy, which might just be the most enticing book title ever.

chax press

And don’t forget our lovely sidelines! We have holiday cards, t-shirts, mugs, bookmarks, and beautiful Leuchtturm notebooks in a wide range of colors.


The Freshest Farms, Fields & Fiction

What better way to spread a little midweek cheer than to introduce some new-to-our-shelves bits and bobs for your literary delectation?


We’re all a little bit obsessed with the absolutely stunning I only thought of the farm, a chapbook by Lisa Ciccarello (Doublecross Press). This hand-typeset, letterpress edition of 150 was produced in collaboration with Austin printmaker Laura Brown—and it’s only $10 for your copy of all this green goodness!

FieldsContinuing with our bucolic theme… if you’re looking for a beautifully designed journal that focuses on work by up and coming writers, poets, and painters, then fields is calling your name. Issue 4 includes a profile of Chicago poet and filmmaker Dakota Loesch; an interview with Austin slam poetry champion Loyce Gayo; short stories from Elisabeth Murray, Jo Vraca, and Torrie Jay White; poetry from Madeleine Barnes, Ally Covino, Brett Foster, and Brad Liening, among others; and artwork from Kimberly Benson, Diane Englander, Maggie Hazen, and Manik Raj Nakra (who created the lovely cover).

Into the Go-SlowAnd we also have a couple of new titles from the City University of New York’s Feminist Press, including Into The Go-Slow by Bridgett M. Davis. Go-Slow is a fascinating coming-of-age story that follows the narrator, Angie, as she attempts to come to terms with the death of her sister. Set in both Detroit and Lagos and covering a time period from the 1960s-80s, this novel deftly spans continents and eras and brilliantly captures the narrator’s loss of innocence and emerging sense of self.

A Beautiful Ugly Trifecta

We’re rather fond of Ugly Duckling Presse, a publishing collective run out of an old can factory in the heart of industrial Brooklyn. In fact, we’re one of their Partner Bookstores, which means we have a standing order to receive every new book they release. And this month we were delighted to get our mitts on the handsome Ugly trio you see below…

Ugly Duckling Titles

The Green Ray by Corina Copp — the first full-length collection of poems from Copp, a writer and theatre artist based in New York. Arava Review described Copp’s poetry as “a beautiful racket” and “a strange waterfall interruptive soundtrack,” which sounds pretty darn intriguing.

Costume en Face by Tatsumi Hijikata — Hijikata (1928-1986) was a Japanese choreographer and the founder of Butoh, a radical form of dance performance art. Costume en Face is the first publication of one of his notebooks; it contains fascinating notations concerning the art of Butoh, as transcribed by Hijikata’s “disciples.”

Alien Abduction by Lewis Warsh — Warsh has been a major figure in contemporary American poetry for over forty years, and this extraordinary new collection, his first full-length volume since 2008, will only enhance his reputation as a poetry icon.