Asymptote is a global journal dedicated to literary translation, created by a team of writers and translators from over 25 different countries. In our new podcast, we explore the most fascinating, eclectic and unsung stories in international literature. Each episode travels far and wide to bring you interviews, readings and mini-documentaries from all over the literary world.
Asymptote Podcast: In Conversation with Padma Viswanathan
Today on the show, the award-winning author and translator Padma Viswanathan joins podcast editor Steve Lehman to talk about her love for Brazilian literature, the connection between writing and translating, and how translation helps her form an even closer relationship to Portuguese. Afterwards, stick around to hear an excerpt from the short story “The Woman Who Didn’t Know How to Die,” written by Adelice Souza and translated by Padma Viswanathan, in both Portuguese and English. You can read the full story, and many other great works in translation, at asymptotejournal.com.
Asymptote Podcast: An interview with Anton Hur followed by a reading by Yilin Wang
Join podcast editor Steve Lehman for a conversation with current contributor Anton Hur on his journey as a literary translator and his “Fictional Notes toward an Essay on Translation" that was published under the aegis of our "Brave New World Literature Feature" spotlighting the unique relationship between authors and their translators. Stay until the end to hear writer, editor, and Chinese-English translator Yilin Wang read five poems by Qiu Jin—also featured in our milestone tenth anniversary issue—in both Mandarin and English translation. For more literary discoveries spanning 31 countries, visit our new issue here.
Asymptote Podcast: Hiromi Itō on “Living Trees and Dying Trees”
In this episode, podcast editor Steve Lehman chats with acclaimed poet, essayist, and novelist Hiromi Itō about her development as a feminist writer, the importance of the environment in her life, and the moving experience of reading her own work translated into another language. Plus, hear an excerpt from Itō’s essay “Living Trees and Dying Trees,” translated from the Japanese and read by Jon L. Pitt. You can check out the full essay, along with new work from 32 countries, in our Fall 2020 issue.
Asymptote Podcast: Michele Hutchison on Curating Our Dutch Literature Special Feature
In tandem with the release of our milestone 40th issue, new podcast host Steve Lehman speaks with the Booker International Prize-winning translator Michele Hutchison about her work on Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s The Discomfort of Evening, curating this issue’s Special Feature on Dutch literature, and more. Plus, a poetry reading by contributor Mustafa Stitou in the original Dutch, followed by a reading in English by the translator David Colmer. You can find Mustafa and David’s work, and that of many other authors, poets, and translators from around the world, in our glorious Fall 2020 issue here.
Asymptote Podcast: That Which is Found and Gained through Translation
Podcast Editor Layla Benitez-James reports back from the Unamuno Poetry Festival in Madrid with an excerpt from a panel she moderated, titled “TransAtlantic: Translation as Bridge and Compulsion.” She also explores the dynamic lecture on translation given by Jorge Vessel, poet and translator of Desperate Literature: A Bilingual Anthology—a book highlighting, rather than what is lost, that which is found and gained through the art of translation. Join us for all the happy accidents that can spring forth from this wonderful and sometimes eccentric practice, and get inspired in your own experiments with language.
Asymptote Podcast: Infinite Text
During Madrid’s Year of Lorca, which commemorates the centenary of the poet’s arrival to the city, podcast editor Layla Benitez-James speaks with Rebecca Seiferle, whose brilliant essay on Lorca translations appears in Into English. A multi-award winning poet and noted translator of César Vallejo and other Spanish language poets, Seiferle is deeply passionate about teaching and served as the poet laureate of Tucson, Arizona between 2012 and 2016. On this edition of the podcast, she discusses how her translation practice has woven its way through her own writing and teaching, and reminds us of the importance of interrogating each and every word to get at the very heart and origin of a text’s language.
Layla Benitez-James is an Asymptote Podcast Editor, poet, translator, and artist living in Alicante, Spain. Translations can be found in Waxwing and Anomaly. She currently works with the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid as their Director of Literary Outreach. Her first chapbook, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure, was selected by Major Jackson for the 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and published by Jai-Alai Books in Miami, April 2018.
Produced by: Layla Benitez-James.
Music: "Arizona Moon" by Blue Dot Sessions and "Paradise Arizona" by Utopia, Ohio, used with permission from the FMA.