ANMLY #38 :: Translation

Dear ANMLY readers,

Translation is a careful, fragile process that seeks, infamously, to accomplish the impossible: to hold different worlds and all of their depths together with the imperfect bonds of language. Often, translators are pressed to cover up these bonds, to smooth them over, and to obscure themselves in the process. There is a different possibility for translation, though, one that exposes and relishes in the slippages when worlds come together, in which the cracks are brought out to a golden shine as in the Japanese ceramic art of kintsugi, resulting in something even more beautiful than before. 

It is this “translation forward” ethos that longtime Translation Editor Anna Rosenwong brought to ANMLY. For many years, they sought out, edited, and published translators who embraced the craft of literary translation and in so doing taught us to read translated works differently, as a site of encounter rather than of sublimation. Their work in this role has been an invaluable contribution to the world of translation and literary culture as a whole. Since stepping back from this role, Anna’s absence has been deeply felt, but we intend to carry on their legacy of presenting readers with thoughtful, creative, and challenging translated literary works. 

In keeping with this mandate and the present moment in history, our folio for ANMLY Issue 38 focuses on pieces that are unafraid to boldly address point of view, conflict, and societal corruption, such as the hypnotic short story “Magnolia Estates” by Anita Harag translated from Hungarian by Marietta Morry and Walter Burgess, and the lyrical prose poems of Jeanne Karen from her collection La vida no es tan clásica, translated from Spanish by Janet McAdams. 

It is in this same spirit that two pieces from this particular issue speak to the devastation we are currently witnessing on a global scale, particularly in Palestine: poems about faith in wartime by the late Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef translated with aching immediacy by Khaled Mattawa, and Mordechai Martin’s unique translations of anti-Zionist comics from the Yiddish newspaper Morgen Freiheit. In December of 2023, numerous grassroots translations of Palestinian writer Refaat Alareer’s poem “If I Must Die” went viral on social media after he was killed by Israeli troops. His words, “If I must die / you must live / to tell my story,” rendered into many dozens of languages are a painful reminder of both the insufficiency and necessity of literature—particularly literature in translation—in these moments of injustice and pain. 

We hope these poems, short stories, and images are a glimpse of a fragmented world imperfectly brought together to create something lasting and true.

— Translation Editor Min Straussman & Assistant Translation Editor Nour Kamel 

Featured in this folio:

ANMLY #37 Translation Team
Min Straussman, Translation Editor
Nour Kamel, Assistant Editor
Sam Moe, Assistant Editor

April, 2024