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Özdemir Asaf was born in Ankara, Turkey, in 1923. At an early age he moved with his family to Istanbul where he attended Galatasaray College and Kabatas, later studying in the Faculty of Law and Economics at Istanbul University. Asaf’s first poems began to appear with the “Garip,” or “Strange,” movement, a new literary aesthetic lead by Orhan Veli, Oktay Rifat, and Melih Cevdet Anday, which aimed to break free of elitist Ottoman Divan poetry, with its formal restrictions and idealized romantic subjects. This “New Wave” laid emphasis on the commonplace, a poetics of daily life, conveyed in simple forms and arresting directness of address, more suited to the nuances and rhythms of daily speech. It was a formative period, and one which was to have a profound modernizing effect on Turkish poetry. The unexpected death of Orhan Veli in 1950, however, marked yet another new departure, the “Second New Wave,” no less radical than the first. Simplicity gave way to more complex free verse, and where the address had once been public, for the Second New Wave this became deeply personal. The paradoxical simplicity and obscurity of Asaf’s work owes itself in part to his fusion of the driving impulses of both First and Second New Wave aesthetics. Though often cited as a poet of the Second New Wave, Asaf’s playful, experimental logic, the aphoristic pithiness of his short poems placed him in a category of his own: an avant-garde poet everyone could read. In his lifetime Asaf won substantial critical acclaim for the uniqueness of his work and earned a large readership. Since his death his reputation and his readership have continued to grow. His first five collections, printed in a single volume, have extended to sixteen editions. In 2001, Asaf's entire works were re-issued in their original single volume form by Adam Books, Istanbul, to mark the 20th anniversary of the poet’s death. His major poetry collections include: DUNYA KACTI GOZUME (The World Caught My Eye, 1955), SEN SEN SEN (You You You, 1956), CICEKLERI YEMEYIN (Don’t Eat The Flowers, 1975), YALNIZLIK PAYLASILMAZ (Loneliness Can’t be Shared, 1971) and BENDEN SONRA MUTLULUK (The Happiness After Me, published posthumously in 1983).

Karel Capek (1890-1938) was the leading writer in Czechoslovakia between the wars, an important novelist, playwright, journalist, story writer, children’s writer, humorist, and translator. Best known in English for his works with science-fiction premises, particularly the play “R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots” and the novel WAR WITH THE NEWTS, he was best loved at home for his essays and feuilletons, his stories, his books for youngsters, and his TALKS WITH T.G. MASARYK. Scholars and other writers considered his philosophical trilogy of novels, published in English as THREE NOVELS, the pinnacle of his career. President Masaryk and he were the most important figure in Czech life in the 1930s, calling on their countrymen to preserve their democracy as one neighbor after another gave in to fascism, and he remained the principal symbol of democracy under the German occupation and during the years of communism. Most of Capek’s works were published almost immediately in English, and his plays appeared on Broadway soon after they appeared in Prague. Capek's wife, Olga Scheinpflugova, who was there, wrote that in 1937, after writing THREE NOVELS and WAR WITH THE NEWTS [both published in the U.S. by Catbird Press in 1990], Capek was approached unofficially by a representative of the Nobel Prize Committee and asked to write something that was not controversial. Capek, a vocal critic of Hitler, had just satirized him viciously in WAR WITH THE NEWTS; the Swedes wanted nothing less than to offend Hitler.) Capek replied dryly, “I have already written my doctoral dissertation.” He died the next year, only a few months before Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia. A collection of his stories, CROSS ROADS, translated by Norma Comrada, will be published in July by Catbird Press.

Leland H. Chambers is a translator of modern and contemporary Latin American and Spanish fiction. An emeritus Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Denver, he directed the Comparative Literature Program (1967-83) and was editor of its literary magazine, Denver Quarterly (1977-83). Among the authors he has translated are Jorge Stamadianos, Carmen Boullosa, Julieta Campos, Enrique Jaramillo Levi, and Ezequiel Martínez Estrada. His translations of short fiction from Spanish have appeared in more than twenty-five literary magazines. His translation of Juan Tovar’s CRIATURA DE UN DÍA was one of the two winners of the 2000-2001 Eugene M. Kayden Translation Award.

Norma Comrada has translated Karel Capek’s story collections TALES FROM TWO POCKETS and APOCRYPHAL TALES, as well as the play “The Mother” and several stories and feuilletons in TOWARD THE RADICAL CENTER: A Karel Capek Reader (which volume includes the play ”R.U.R.”). She is a leading American authority on Capek and has given many papers, published many articles, and done many readings across the country. She has retired from a long and varied career and lives in Eugene, Oregon. Her translation of stories by Capek, CROSS ROADS, will be published in July by Catbird Press.

The Hon. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 and re-elected in 1998. There he serves on the Judiciary, Foreign Relations, and Budget Committees and the Special Committee on Aging. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1982 and re-elected in 1986 and 1990, and was a practicing attorney in Madison, Wisconsin, from 1979 to 1985, at Foley & Lardner and La Follette & Sinykin. He is a graduate of Harvard University Law School, Juris Doctor with Honors, 1979; was a Rhodes Scholar, with Final Honours, School of Jurisprudence, Magdalen College, Oxford University, Bachelor of Arts with Honours, 1977; and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received the Phi Beta Kappa, Bachelor of Arts with Honors in 1975. He has two daughters, Jessica and Ellen, and his wife, Mary Feingold, has two sons, Sam and Ted Speerschneider. The Feingolds live in Middleton, Wisconsin

Edith Grossman has translated a number of remarkable works by major contemporary Spanish-language authors, including Gabriel García Márquez (LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA; NEWS OF A KIDNAPPING; THE GENERAL IN HIS LABYRINTH; OF LOVE AND DEMONS; et al.), Mario Vargas Llosa (THE FEAST OF THE GOAT; THE NOTEBOOKS OF DON RIGOBERTO; DEATH IN THE ANDES; et al.), Mayra Montero (THE LAST NIGHT I SPENT WITH YOU; THE MESSENGER; IN THE PALM OF DARKNESS), Álvaro Mutis (MAQROLL: THREE NOVELLAS), Augusto Monterroso (COMPLETE WORKS AND OTHER STORIES), Julién Ríos (LOVES THAT BIND), and the anti-poet Nicanor Parra. Her translation of Vargas Llosa’s THE FEAST OF THE GOAT was nominated for the PEN/Book of the Month Translation prize this year. She is working on the new translation of DON QUIXOTE for Ecco/HarperCollins.

Prasenjit Maiti, born in 1971, is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Burdwan University, West Bengal, India. Dr. Maiti’s print publication credits include 2River View, Blue Collar Review, Circle, Green Queen, Harlequin, Hermes, Micropress Oz, Monkey Kettle, Nightingale, Page 84, Paper Wasp, Phoenix, Pocketful of Poetry, Poetry Church, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Poetry Greece, Promise, Pulsar, Skald, South, and The Journal.

George Messo was born in 1969. His books include FROM THE PINE OBSERVATORY (Halfacrown Books, 2000), FRAMING REFERENCE (Ed. Valerie Kennedy, 2001) and THE COMPLETE POEMS OF JEAN GENET (translated with Jeremy Reed). He has received a Council of Europe Translation Award for his versions of Rilke and is Hawthornden Fellow in Poetry for June/July 2002 at Hawthornden Castle, Scotland. His poems, translations, and reviews have been widely published. He is the editor of the international journal Near East Review and teaches at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. His two book-length translations of Özdemir Asaf, YOU YOU YOU and SELECTED POEMS, have yet to find a publisher.

Tracy Robinson writes: “I am like a young red ant in a field of big names, working very hard and persevering. Twice recently, short stories went in L’Embarcadére by La Société Littéraire de Charlevoix. In July 2001, a Quebec literary prize was awarded to me by Beauchemin Éditeurs Ltée for a play that I wrote called ‘Métamorphose.’ If you want to know more, I study in the social sciences at Dawson in Montreal. I scalp tickets to lovers of retro punk. I love playing hockey and only watching it if Don Cherry hosts ‘Hockey Night in Canada.’ I want to start a co-ed hockey team but the College Board of Governors just shake their heads. We have strategy so at the next meeting, the outcome will be positive (for me and my friends). The short story that I sent to you is a fictional piece about a young Catholic girl and a British soldier in the context of Northern Ireland in January, 1972. My friends saw it as very harsh, whereas an old professor liked the humor and the anecdotes against reality … and possibility.”

Juan Tovar, born in the city of Puebla, Mexico, in 1941, is a writer of short stories, novels, and screenplays, as well as being a dramatist of note. He majored in chemical engineering at the University of Puebla and got involved with the Teatro Universitario there, transferring to Mexico City in 1962. In Mexico City he focussed on dramatic theory and composition, which he studied with Luisa Josefina Hern·ndez and Emilio Carballido, and which he has taught in various schools and centers from 1967 to the present time. Among his many books of fiction are LOS MISTERIOS DEL REINO (1966; La Palabra y el Hombre Prize for short fiction; revised, 1992), LA MUCHACHA EN EL BALCON O LA PRESENSICA DEL CORONEL RETIRADO (1970; Primer Concurso Cultural de la Juventud Prize for a novel), and EL LUGAR DEL CORAZON (1974). Tovar has translated plays by Shakespeare, Stoppard, and Shepard, as well as poetry by Yeats, Hopkins, Malcolm Lowery, and Ted Hughes. The collection CREATURES OF A DAY, from which the story in this issue comes, has been translated by Leland H. Chambers and will be published in October by McPherson & Company.

Mary-Sherman Willis writes and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children. She serves on the board of the Folger Poetry Series and is at work on a book. Her poems and reviews have appeared in The New Republic,Poet Lore, The Plum Review, among other publications.


News of Our Contributors

The PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, for a book-length translation of poetry, was given in in June 2002 to Anne Twitty, for her translation of ISLANDIA (Station Hill), by the Argentinean poet Maria Negroni. The work of this remarkable poet, and her gifted translator, has appeared twice in Archipelago. In Vol. 1, No. 1: El Viaje de la Noche/Night Journey. In Vol. 2, No. 4: La Jaula Bajo el Trapo/Cage Under Cover.

Our Contributing Editor Edith Grossman is the translator of THE FEAST OF THE GOAT, by Mario Vargas Llosa (Farrar Straus & Giroux), which was nominated for the PEN/Book of the Month Club Translation Prize for a distinguished book-length translation published in 2001. She was honored at the awards ceremony, where Vargas Llosa recieved the PEN/Nabokov Award. Edith Grossman’s translation of “Music to Forget an Island By,” by the Argentine novelist Victoria Slavuski, appears in Archipelago, Vol. 2, No. 1.

Katherine McNamara, the Editor and Publisher of Archipelago, is the author of “Organizing a Literary Magazine as the World Changed: The Formation of Archipelago,” which has just appeared in WITHOUT COVERS://literary_magazines@the_digital_age, ed. Lesha Hurliman and Numsiri C. Kunakemakorn. (Purdue University Press, 2002).


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