Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wednesday Night Sessions: A Monthly Reading Series

If you're in the Detroit area we have a great reading scheduled for tomorrow night with David Blaine, Chris Tysh, and Keith Taylor joining us. The reading runs from 7-8pm at Mentobe Cafe in downtown Farmington. Hope to see you there!

Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus

This past weekend, I went to view the exhibit Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, which opened at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on November 20. The exhibit brings together about 60 pieces from Rembrandt, his students, and other artists influenced by the master and includes drawings, prints, and paintings. Though it may seem to be relatively small, there's enough detail in each piece to absorb the viewer for several minutes each. Rembrandt, often known for his use of light, was innovative in his depictions of Jesus by basing them on Jewish models from his neighborhood in Amsterdam; many other artists prior to Rembrandt tended to use mainly Northern European models in their paintings. The exhibit also does a very nice job of presenting Rembrandt's work in the context of his life in Amsterdam, a culturally diverse, conservative but tolerant city. Two of the pieces not to be missed include the painting Supper at Emmaus and the very detailed and outstanding print Christ Healing the Sick (also known as The Hundred Guilder Print). Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, which is organized by the DIA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Musée du Louvre, will be on display until February 12, 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Absinthe #16: Gonca Özmen

Keep It For Me

Keep the statue of your feet for me
Keep that shy bloom in your vase for me

I was there in the tedium of a blank page
Desolate houses on my face

O wherever I look I see a nature unkempt
If I were to pass right through you
It’s my grief that slows my passage

Keep for me this wounded consciousness
Of mortality

I’m the time for birds to migrate
The evil of a snake you raise

O great peace of the unknown

Wind brought fear
Placed it like this between us

Bring silence to an end, and begin again

by Gonca Özmen, translated by George Messo, from Absinthe #16

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ALTA Conference in Kansas City

A few weeks ago Jessica, Logan, and I packed the car up and drove 13 hours from Detroit down to Kansas City to attend the conference of the American Literary Translators Association. This is definitely my favorite conference and it was great to see some of our old friends and to meet new ones too.

While at the conference I recorded a few brief videos with several of the attendees and will be sharing them on this blog over the course of the next few weeks.

Usually when I go to the ALTA conference the highlight for me is attending the bilingual readings organized by Alexis Levitin, and this year was no different. My favorite session was the Germanic languages reading, particularly Emily Banwell's translation of a novel excerpt by Rayk Wieland and Roger Greenwald's hilarious reading of his translation of poems by Niels Frank. I would definitely recommend picking up Roger's translation from Book Thug.

An odd moment occurred when Open Letter Books publisher Chad Post and I were grabbing an early coffee before one of the sessions ended. A group of electricians (from another conference) walked by the coffee and treats table and, after noticing a sign mentioning that the snacks were for the ALTA conference, one man said "literary translators" in a disdainful tone one might use when referring to a group of people as "assholes!"

Not sure what that was all about.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Absinthe #16: Ilse Kilic

Whether or not you would have wanted to read this piece for an event such as the “Night of Bad Texts” is another question altogether.  Rather not, you say, for, what kind of reason could there possibly be to read a text aloud that you find bad, for you would no doubt be inclined to say with a wink of an eye that it's actually good, the text, namely either bad in a good way, or good in a bad way.

from "Mo", a story by Ilse Kilic in Absinthe#16

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Absinthe #16: Line-Maria Lang

"It wasn’t me.  It was mostly the chicken.  The chicken was always pushing.  The rabbit was the one who went along with the worst; right up until it had second thoughts.  It was the one who ruined everything sometimes.  But it was the cow who exposed us.  It was the cow who just couldn’t keep its mouth shut, who was the schemer, who gossiped about me to the others and about the others to me.  The ape was the humorous one, the one who could always get me laughing afterwards.  The horse was my friend.  They sat on my right hand.  The chicken on my thumb, the rabbit on my index finger, the cow on my middle finger, the ape on my ring finger, and the horse upon my pinky."

from "The Chicken, the Rabbit, the Cow, the Ape, and the Horse" by Line-Maria Lang in Absinthe #16.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Absinthe #16: Jesper Wung-Sung

They had buried Mort the Wart in the yard.
          Of course, they had not actually buried Mort the Wart in the yard. Not all of Mort the Wart, for his head was sticking up out of the lawn. It had been necessary, though, to gag him. To put a stop to his yelling. The cries. The screams.

from "Close Only Counts When You're Doing Your Damnedest" by Jesper Wung-Sung.

Read the entire story in Absinthe #16.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Acid Washed and Anthony Burrill

For those of you in the greater metro Detroit area, you may have heard that after two years, Cranbrook Art Museum reopened this weekend. As part of the opening series of events, the museum brought in the British graphic artist Anthony Burrill and the French electro band Acid Washed to present a lecture and concert. Burrill, maybe most recently known for his screen prints using oil from the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, discussed his work in graphic art, video, and installation. Burrill had a video piece soundtracked by Acid Washed in dialogue with a Frank Stella piece from Cranbrook's permanent collection featured in the new exhibit No Object is an Island. Burrill has worked in collaboration with the band on artwork for album covers and providing background visuals for their live shows. After Burrill's lecture, Acid Washed performed their music, a mix of Detroit techno, electro, acid house, disco, and ambient sounds. If you do not already know either of these artists, I encourage you to check them out.

To see Burrill's work, please visit his website: http://www.anthonyburrill.com/
To hear some of Acid Washed's music listen below and look for their new album in Spring 2012:

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Be sure to sign up for our new monthly e-newsletter with updates on what's new with Absinthe, events of interest, recommendations of European books, music, films you might have missed, and more. The first edition goes live this week. Sign up at our facebook page (www.facebook.com/absinthenew) by clicking the "sign up" tab on the left, or at our blog, Absinthe Minded (http://absinthenew.blogspot.com/).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Finlandia Prize Finalists Announced

They have announced the six finalists for the Finlandia Prize for Literature. The winner will be announced on December 1. The winner will receive a 30,000 euro prize.

The six writers include previous winners and debut novelists: Laila Hirvisaari, Rosa Liksom, Kristina Carlson, Eeva-Kaarina Aronen, Laura Gustafsson, and Jenni Linturi.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Order Absinthe #16 NOW

The new issue features great poetry and prose from Abdelkader Benali, Gastao Cruz, Hans Durrer,  Niels Hav, Line-Maria Lang, Katya Metelitsa, Gonca Ozmen, Chris Tysh, Michael Stein, and Jesper Wung-Sung, along with our book & music recommendations. In addition, art by Pedro Matos appears on the cover and in an 8-page portfolio.

Order here.