Women in Translation in the U.S. and Only One of Us Is Sleeping

Josefine Klougart

Waiting for Josefine Klougart in the bookstore, I overheard a man talking about Three Percent and searched online, finding the journal dedicated to literary work in translation. By the number that gives the publication its name, only 3% of books published in the U.S. are works in translation—but that is all books, the majority are nonfiction—the number is around 0.7% for literary fiction or poetry in translation.

Of that 0.7%, the books by women are at most half, let’s estimate—rounding down, in this case, 0.3% of all of the fiction and poetry books in translation published in the United States are written by women. Using another international lens, look at how many women have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, from 1901 to 2016, over the course of one hundred and fifteen years, only fourteen women have been awarded the prize, the other 99 (with a few years skipped for World War II) were men. Continue reading

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CAMERA-SHY

by Arthur Smid

A ghost eats what can be forgiven of its body
The weakest things, its higher calling to make love

The sun spreads over me
at the table when I look
You are becoming a body of light

An echo for the voice it vanished from
Saying, I don’t believe there’s a mirror to my soul

Not seeing you’re alive
I step outside and look
You are becoming a body of light

Stepping out the door, you enter again
Again and again and we become so close

I’m falling slowly rising
Lights burn the darkness
I am becoming a body of light

*

An echo for the voice it vanished from saying, I don’t believe
There was a mirror to my soul not seeing you
But you’re still alive and camera-shy.

TAKING TARZAN SERIOUSLY

by Arthur Smid

You are what you are trying to become
Aware of awareness, the evolution
Of consciousness expanding to survive.

Leaping into the branches of the trees
Rapidly through the forest could it be
He was trailing a man? Raised by apes
At his side the hunting knife of his unknown sire.

Evolution. Evolution. Evolution.
He did not know what she meant.
He had no words for his love to be real.

You mastered me. There’s a lord of the jungle
Alive in your heart, a world to be born.

To be born. To be born
Alive in the world, a man to be born
Evolution. Evolution. Evolution. Evolution.

THE ILLUSIONIST

by Arthur Smid

For my next trick, I need a volunteer.

Once you’ve seen Truth herself
You’ll think of her by day;
You’ll dream of her at night.
Come on. Come and see her.

Come in and you will see.
It’s all in Building Seven.

Once you’ve seen Truth herself
You’ll never be the same;
You’ll dream of her by day.
Come in and you will see
The secret of our prestige.

It’s all in Building Seven.
You’ll never be the same.

HOLD ON

by Arthur Smid

Hammered by insistent dreams to build the future, the self has gone ahead. Around the table, dinner is served and the past is another lifetime. The old man is another man, too far to reach.

Hear me. Here we are. And there we go. Fallen into sleep. The lake of winsome doves bed down into you.

What can be won. Hearts can be won.
But don’t think of this my angel.
You are to be won. But don’t do it my child.

There is suffering and the kiss. The children’s song goes like this,
to win you have to lose.

PUSHED BY LIGHT

by Arthur Smid

Pushed by light
The field to burst,
Our mask to crack,
Flowers are the ecstasy.

Light splits the vapor,
Opening the rain.
Between the colors,
Reflected of pain.

Sprouting green in the sun,
Fibrous thing turns to wood.
Light bursting from a tree,
Flowers are the ecstasy.

The field to burst,
Our mask to crack,
A heart blossoms
From the mouth.

MOONSPEAK

by Arthur Smid

She’s deep inside the blackness.
She’s deep inside of you.
She’ll never touch the surface.
There’s nothing she won’t see.

Sun’s are far away from here
Exploding into light.

She’s deep inside the blackness.
She’s deep inside of you.
She’s always drawing nearer
Closer into me.

Stare into the sky
To map your way inside
I’m deep inside the blackness
I’m deep inside of you.