A strange carousel from which there was no getting off

Dear Daniela, In your novel A Kingdom of Souls translated by Véronique Firkusny and Elena Sokol (2015. Original: Podobojí, 1991), we have magical realism with an edge: the dead exist alongside the living, wandering across space and time, always in the brink of turning into an allegory, a symbol, a pervading longing. The novel centres…

Daniela Hodrová

Daniela Hodrová (5 July 1946) is a Czech writer. She graduated in Czech, Russian and French, and completed her postgraduate studies in comparative literature at Charles University. She worked as an editor at Odeon publishing house, and since 1975 she works at the Institute for Czech Literature at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Hodrová is…

Very soon I will send you something, a few birds of fire

Dear Alejandra, I confess that I have been reading your letters, Blímele. More than that: I’ve been carrying this Nueva Correspondencia Pizarnik (ed. Ivonne Bordelois and Cristina Piña, 2014, not translated to English yet) with me, as one who carries his own identity papers. Compiled in 40 sections, according to their recipients, the letters cover the…

Alejandra Pizarnik

Alejandra Pizarnik (April 29, 1936 – September 25, 1972) was an Argentine writer. She studied literature and philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires, but never completed her studies. Between 1960 and 1964, she lived in Paris, where she worked for the magazine Cuadernos and studied History of Religion and French Literature at the Sorbonne. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968…

Literary Backpack Through Europe | Wrap-up 1

Hi, folks! I am somewhat in the middle of my reading travels for the Backpack Through Europe Summer Reading Challenge (BTE), so it is time for a partial wrap-up. As you will see, I’ve strayed from my original plans a little (my reviews will be all linked below): England (UK): Hardened to stone by the Medusa head of…

The mere life of the obscure

Hi, folks, Next on my series of posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have two poems by Brazilian author Cora Coralina, translated by Gilson P. Borges. You can find the whole series here, along with other Brazilian gems. Enjoy! Yours truly, J. All Lives Inside me lives An old backwoodswoman Of evil eye, Crouched by…

Cora Coralina

Cora Coralina (pseudonym of Anna Lins dos Guimarães Peixoto Bretas. August 20, 1889 – April 10, 1985) was a Brazilian writer. She married early, raised six children, and spent her life working as a confectioner in a small bakery. After the death of her husband, she published her first book. Books In Portuguese Poemas dos Becos…

What two people can make of the same view

Dear Elizabeth, In your novel A View from the Harbour (1947), we are sea watchers, guided by a faint beam. It feels very much as if we were inside a lighthouse, following the light as it shifts from one character to another. The novel centres around the inhabitants of a small seaside town in England…

Felipa set the caravels on fire

Hi, folks, Next on my series of posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have three poems by Brazilian author Adelaide Ivánova, translated by Francisco Vilhena. You can find the whole series here, along with other Brazilian gems. Enjoy! Yours truly, J. for laura in 1998 when they found the gay body of matthew shepard his…

Adelaide Ivánova

Adelaide Ivánova (1982) is a Brazilian writer. She is a journalist and activist working with poetry, photography, translation, and publishing.  She is the editor of the anarchist-feminist zine MAIS PORNÔ, PVFR!., and writes on  her website. She lives and works between Cologne and Berlin. Books In English Anthologies  your + 1, edited by Ricardo Domeneck (2015). alba londres…

All Virago All August, Literary Criticism Readalong & Bout of Books

Hello, fellow readers! There are never enough reading events, right? At the Librarything Virago Readers Group, August is a month dedicated to reading through our beloved green spines: yes, it’s time for All Virago/All August I have some Viragos on my 20 Books of Summer list, so I’ll try to tackle these: Marriage, by Susan Ferrier (1818) Vera, by…

Cutting and repetition

Dear Marília, In your poetry collection Um teste de resistores (2014, ‘a test of resistors’, not translated yet), each poem undergoes, as its starting point, a resistance test: the attempt to draw a map; to cross this map as it is drawn; and, finally, to offer steady resistance to the very act of crossing it….