The Betrayed

by Reine Arcache Melvin
Ateneo de Manila University Press

Melvin The Betrayed is set in a time of dictatorship and political unrest, and it tells the story of two sisters who love the same man. Their passion threatens to lead to betray each other as well as everything that their father stood for. Shy, idealistic Pilar initially resolves to continue her father’s fight against the dictator, while her flamboyant older sister Lali reacts by marrying Arturo, the dicator’s godson. Each tries to find their place in the violent world and continues against the struggle of political corruption and desire. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Reine Arcache Melvin now lives in Paris. Her short stories have appeared in literary reviews and anthologies in the United States, France, and Philippines.

 

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Some Unquenchable Desire

by Bhartrihari

translation by Andrew Schelling

Shambhala Publications, 2018

schelling1schelling2Although little is known about his life, the Indian poet Bhartrihari’s poetry shows himself “torn between sexual desire and a hunger to be free of failed love affairs and turbulent karma.” Bhartrihari was a linguist, courtier, and hermit, and he used poetry to look at themes of love, desire, impermanence, despair, anger, and fear. Some Unquenchable Desire covers themes of love, sex, and disappointment, as well as Hindu mythology, and Buddhist philosophical concepts to recall ancient India through the voice of one of its most celebrated poets.

Schelling has also translated Erotic Love Poems from India: 101 Classics on Desire and Passion. The poems in this collection were compiled in the eighth century, and it offers different perspectives of erotic love that range from graceful to playful and intensely passionate while hinting at divine transcendence. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Andrew Schelling is poet, translator, essay writer, and editor. He edited for a samizdat literary journal and studied Sanskrit and Zen Buddhism. His translation for Dropping the Bow: Poems from Ancient India received the Academy of American Poets award in translation in 1992. Schelling teaches at Naropa University.

Stealing with the Eyes

by Will Buckingham
University of Chicago Press, 2018

Stealing with the Eyes.inddAs an anthropologist in training, Will Buckingham went to the Tanimbar Islands of Indonesia with a mission to meet three sculptors: the crippled Matias Fatruan, the buffalo hunter Abraham Amelwatin, Damianus Masele, who was skilled in black magic, but who abstains out of Christian principle. Stealing with the Eyes acts as part memoir and part travelogue, and focuses on the story of these three sculptors. After getting involved with witchcraft, fever, and sickness, Buckingham questions the validity of his anthropological studies before eventually abandoning them.

Buckingham’s encounters with these sculptors also interweaves Tanimbarese history, myth, and philosophy that dates back to ancient times. This story reveals the tension between the past and future, and raises questions on how to make sense of a world that is in constant flux.

Will Buckingham is a writer of fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. He is currently a reader in Writing and Creativity at the Faculty of Humanities at De Montfort University and the author of Sixty-Four Chance Pieces and Lucy and the Rocket Dog.

(Adapted from the publisher’s description)

Poetry and Islands: Materiality and the Creative Imagination

by Rajeev S. Patke
Rowman & Littlefield, 2018

9781783484102An island is either a destination, or a home, or a place of exile and imprisonment, or simply a place to sojourn. It is an ideal vehicle for journeys treated as allegories, or for acts of finding that turn into acts of losing, or the reverse transformation. An island is not a continent; yet it can be an archipelago. An island is both a place in itself and a pretext for imaginings that need a local habitation and a name. It can give relief, and pleasure; or it can frustrate, isolate, and negate. Above all, it both invites and resists — or contains or constrains — the imagination.

In all cultures and times, the poetic imagination has fed on the natural attributes of islands.

Poetry and Islands explores how islands become repositories of human longings and desires, a locus for some of our deepest fears and fantasies. It balances historical and geographical reference with a selective approach to poems and poets in English, and in translations into English. The study of particular poems in which islands figure in exemplary ways is balanced by a more detailed discussion of the poets who have played a major role in shaping human responses to islands on a global scale.

(Adapted from the publisher’s description)

 

Day and Dastan: Two Novellas

by Intizar Husain
Translated by Nishat Zaidi and Alok Bhalla
Niyogi Books, 2018

DayandDastan

The first novella, Din (Day), is a realistic story about the physical displacement and emotional paralysis individuals feel when forced to move from their family homes. As in Husainʻs other works, Indiaʻs partition haunts the tale like an inexplicable shadow, creating a nostalgic and heart-breaking mood. The second novella, Dastan (Story), is a traditional tale of wonder set in time of turmoil and uncertainty when mysterious forces cause havoc in nature, and societies rise up suddenly to avenge old wrongs. The rivers suddenly break their banks; an old haveli is left desolate; a princess weeps beside a fountain; a parrot shows a soldier the road to take; and hope of poltical change is fatally lost. Both novellas were translated from Urdu. (Adapted from publisherʻs description)

Intizar Husain was born in Dubai, India, in 1925 and migrated to Pakistan in 1947. His published works include seven collections of short stories, five novels, nine plays, travelogues, and essays in Urdu and English. He passed away in 2016.

Nishat Zaidi is a critic, translator, and an English professor emeritus at the Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. She co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Husain (Manoa Journal, 2015).

Alok Bhalla is a critic, translator, and editor. He co-edited Story is a Vagabond: Fiction, Essays and Drama by Intizar Huisain and was co-translator of A Chronicle of the Peacocks: Stories of Partition, Exile and Lost Memories.

 

Woman of March: Poems

TSUMURA-YUMIKO

by Yumiko Tsumura
Finishing Line Press, 2016

Woman of March gives us a glimpse of Yumiko Tsumura’s childhood Pacific War memories of Japan as well as her life in the US, rich with intimate perceptions, invested with transformative powers, and depicting a life path of discoveries, losses, and reaffirmations. Her power of observation is clearly seen through her  precision in these autobiographical poems.

Today again
the young men died
believing in
mountain climbing

Tsumura’s poems are not haiku but haiku-like, emerging as epiphanies upon white paper. They are a testimony to a life lived in specific, deep consciousness. (Adapted from publisher’s description)

Yumiko Tsumura was born and educated in Japan and has an MFA in poetry and translation from the University of Iowa. She has taught at universities both in Japan and the US.  Her books of translation include Kazuko Shiraishi’s poetry collections from New Directions.

Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees

980bc04e50f7eba0586b67f750fe2c01edited Laren McClung
foreword by Yusef Komunyakaa
W.W. Norton & Company, 2018

Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees answers questions that have remained unanswered for over fifty years: what is the difference between history and the past, how do people come to terms to what they have inherited, who is given a voice and who remains silent, and what resolutions result from examining the past. This anthology by descendants of Vietnam veterans and refugees―American, Vietnamese, Vietnamese Diaspora, Hmong, Australian, and others―confronts war and its aftermath. It is an affecting portrait of the effects of war and family―an intercultural, generational dialogue on silence, memory, landscape, imagination, Agent Orange, displacement, postwar trauma, and the severe realities that are carried home.

While Inheriting the War depicts the burdens of the war, and refuses to deny brutal realities, it presents literature that unifies. It crosses cultural and generational boundaries, and connects veterans, writers, and readers. (Adapted from publisher’s description and press release)

Laren McClung teaches at New York University, and is a poet and the author of Between Here and Monkey Mountain. Her father served one tour in Vietnam (1968-1969) deployed with the 173rd Airborne. Her poetry has appeared in several journals and reviews, and she has been the recipient of a Teachers & Writers Collaborative Van Lier Fellowship, an Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran Workshop Teaching Fellowship, and has led workshops in poetry at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in the Creative Writing Program at New York University.