PEN America Blog
"The poems are incredibly powerful and, in performance, even magisterial; the difficulties fade away and the force of the poems—chanted, sung, whispered—transcends many linguistic and cultural barriers."
Gozo Yoshimasu, an aurally and visually stunning poet known for his Talmudic density, struggles to respond to the 3.11 nuclear disaster in Japan. In her deft, polyvalent translation, Okamoto has given the lie to those who consider Yoshimasu's poetry untranslatable.
In a major rediscovery, Burnett brings us the work of Urzidil, a writer from the Prague Circle whose fiction only blossomed later in life, as a writer-in-exile in the United States. Burnett captures both the humanity and the erudite yet humble charm of one of Urzidil's short stories.
"Urzidil’s world is still very much an enchanted one, with an underlying, often mystical meaning and sense of connectedness. Urzidil is a truth-seeker, and I knew I had to translate him, perhaps as a kind of cosmic ransom."