Welcome to the May 2018 issue of Transnational Literature. Once again, bringing this issue together has been a wonderful process of discovering links and resonances among the disparate contributions of widely-scattered writers and scholars – I counted 22 countries among the current residences of our contributors, on every continent except Antarctica.
A predominant theme in this issue is translation, both literal – between languages – and the translation the self undergoes when borders are crossed. The Zambian-born, UK-based poet Kayo Chingonyi writes in his interview in this issue, ‘Thinking about the margins is to think about subjectivity, the very specific things which cannot be generalised.’ Those specific things are the stuff of literature, and the best literary scholarship is undertaken with that in mind.
We are very fortunate to be able to include a beautifully curated special feature titled ‘Voices from the Margins’. The editors, Lioba Schreyer, of Ruhr-University Bochum, and Lena Mattheis from the University of Duisburg-Essen, have drawn together articles, interviews and poetry on themes of indigeneity, climate change, orality and, above all, marginality.
Among the articles in this special feature is Lotta Schneidemesser’s discussion of the challenges facing a German translator of Samoan poetry written in English. Translation also emerges as a key element in much of the poetry section, edited magnificently as always by Alison Flett. Alison brings us two special features: eminent Australian poet Lisa Gorton is featured in this issue, with her translations from the French poet Rimbaud; and the guest curator is French avant-garde poet Marie de Quatrebarbes, who has selected some contemporary French poetry given both in the original French and in translation. Among the riches of the general poetry section this month, we have two poems by Peter Bakowski, written in English and translated into German and French respectively, with a note on the translation process.
And of course there is as usual a small section, edited by Reza Haque, devoted to translation, with an English rendering of t