Letter from the Editor

September 24, 2020 in Letter from the editor by ndannels

Dear lovely readers,

I sincerely hope you are all well, and I am grateful for the investment of your time in reading our journal. What we present here to you in this issue of Alchemy may be considered a motley grouping of translations that stand together in their eclectic cohesion. Whether it is Will Cordeiro’s translation of “The Albatross,” a classic French poem from Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil; or enthralling fragments from Efrén Ordóñez’s Smoke, a novel in Spanish translated by Robin Myers; or a trio of French poems from Henri Meschonnic’s How Many Names, a rhythmically oriented collection rendered into English by Don Boes and Gabriella Bedetti; or Maria Teresa Horta’s “The Condition of the Verses,” a Portuguese poem of passionate self-expression, which Edite Cunhā and M.B. McLatchey have translated; or whether it is Jack Kohler’s “Still Lifes,” a textual montage which explores artworks by Agnes Martin, Charles Ethan Porter, and Wolfgang Tillmans in an experimental fashion that blends the genres of visual art and poetic language, it speaks to the practice of translation as a genre and theme. These works are empowered by the unity that transcends their differences in style, content, and language.

This trend is also present in the visual art in this issue: Michelle Brooks’s cover art, “Blue Mural,” is a striking photograph whose colors harbor its mystique, while “God’s Lesson Plan” is an avant-garde translation by Bias Collins which adapts five of the Ten Commandments to a usable code of ethics for the 21st century. These works are so different from one another, and yet they find themselves in the same home.

At such a time of crisis and uncertainty, art and literature can lift our spirits. Translation has that ability, and it is made all the stronger for it because it is an inherently collaborative art: from source to target language and from creator to translator, the original text is reimagined and rendered into an entirely new work of art, and in doing so, it uncovers another reality, another world of possibility. One may think of the joint effort in the path of translation to be a limitless art, then, with plenty of potential for new discoveries.

Our translators have entrusted us with their work, and we are proud to provide a home for their translations. My many thanks for their consideration in choosing to send their translations to us, as well as every translator who submitted to us; we were quite impressed with what we received, and we are honored to have had the chance to read and consider these submissions. So it is with great pleasure that we present this issue.

I would also like to convey my immense gratitude for Iliria Osum’s aid and exemplary leadership as the previous editor for the past three issues of Alchemy. Additionally, I want to thank Yaprak Yıldırım, Kevin Jang, and NM Mashurov for being such a wonderful editorial team; their collective efforts have allowed this issue to find the form that it has, and I commend them for their hard work. I also cannot thank Professor Amelia Glaser and the Faculty Advisory Board nearly enough for their guiding hand throughout this process. Lastly, I am grateful for the Literature Department here at the University of California, San Diego, where I myself feel overjoyed to be among such delightful and motivating professors.

We cordially invite you to share this moment with us as we share these translations with you, in turn. Enjoy this issue with us!

Make yourself at home,
Nolan Dannels

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