Archives for posts with tag: Green Aquarium

I have been translating the prose poetry/symbolic fiction pieces of Avrom Sutzkever, and a new translation of mine, “The Cleaver’s Daughter,” appears today on the Yiddish Book Center’s website. Here’s a taste. Enjoy!

She was my first love, the pockmarked redhead with cute freckles on her pert nose, like a poppy seed topping. I even allowed myself to imagine that she had as many freckles as she was years old, a freckle every year for good luck.

When I made her acquaintance, I counted nine of those presents on her nose. The street where we both grew up panted its way uphill, starting from the Green Bridge over the clay banks of the Vilia, ascending as far as the Sheskin Mountains, where the street became a trail going all the way to Vilkomir. Most kids from my street and even a number of adults called the girl the Cleaver’s Daughter.

Why did she get that name? Why was an orphan labeled that way?

Maybe a law of gravitation was in force here too:

Suddenly I found myself attracted to a strange unknown city. This city wasn’t included in the itinerary of my voyage round the world by air. I didn’t even know its name, or whether such a clime was to be found on Earth at all.

It happened this way:Avrom-Sutzkever-2-420x250

When the airplane slid out of the slanted air onto the silky smooth runway, on its way to kick out some passengers to their connecting flight, glugging itself full of gas, or some other drinkable, en route to another nonstop across the sea — I nonchalantly grabbed my bag and in a daze followed the few passengers off the plane.

Read “A Smile at the End of the World,” this story by Avrom Sutzkever in my translation, thanks to the editors at B O D Y. The original is from his volume Green Aquarium. If you are a publisher who is interested in a fantastic volume of prose poems like this one, be in touch!

“A half moon in black, rimmed in gold.”

An exciting day – In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies is live! Among the first batch of content is my translation of Avrom Sutzkever’s “A Funeral in the Rain,” one of his prose poems (it’s the length of a short story) from the volume “Green Aquarium.” If you don’t know Sutzkever, or know him only as a lyricist, please take a look and let me know what you think.

The seventh window

“The seventh window. Six. Seven. You need to knock seven times to get to Sister Ursula.” Photo credit: Madeleine Cohen.

Best of success to these hardworking academics who are so generous, helpful, and welcoming to literary layfolk. And may Yiddish writing of today find a place in their orrery.

From disintegrated clay nests, from barred windows and contorted doors, burning leaves of holy books gravitate to the sunset—children with their arms stretched out—as if the sun had given birth to them in the synagogue square and they’re fluttering back to their mother. […]

I’m thrilled to be a part of the newest issue of the translation journal Asymptote! Or rather – a vessel to channel Sutzkever. Check out all the other amazing content, especially the Chinese poetry.

Greenness of dark pines through a fog;
Greenness of a cloud with a burst gallbladder;
Greenness of mossy stones in rain;
Greenness uncovered by a hoop rolled by a seven-year-old girl;
Greenness of cabbage leaves in splinters of dew that bloody the fingers;
First greeness of melted snow in a circledance around a blue flower;
Greeness of a half-moon, seen with green eyes from under a wave;
And celebratory greenness of grasses hemmed graveside.
Greenesses stream into greenesses. Body into body. And the whole earth has turned into a green aquarium.
Closer, closer to the green swarming!
From Avrom Sutzkever’s Green Aquarium. My translation. Happy incipient 5772!