Bear with me while I surf the old news wave for a moment, but a curious document sprang up a while back over at Open Letter Books in promotion of Bragi Ólafsson’s new book, The Ambassador. As described at the Three Percent blog:
It’s an incredibly fun book centering around the journey of Icelandic poet Sturla Jon Jonsson to [a] poetry festival in Lithuania where he loses his overcoat, steals someone else’s, is accused of plagiarism, and gets drunk a lot. While he’s there, he also receives The Season of Poetry, a small book featuring poems from the various festival participants.
In the novel, this book is referenced, and a few of the festival-goers are described, but not very many, which is what led translator Lytton Smith to come up with the fun idea of having American poets and translators recreate this poetry collection. Each of the participants invented a poet, and a poem by that poet that they then supposedly translated into English . . . In other words, this is a collection of fake poets, falsely translated, and plays off of the themes of truth, fiction, and plagiarism that run throughout the novel.
The bizarre and entertaining collection is available in .pdf, .epub, and Kindle editions and includes a “translation from the Greek” by Becka Mara McKay (Alex Epstein’s Blue Has No South and the forthcoming Lunar Savings Time, Spring 2011) and M. Oliver, “the pseudonym of a writer and translator living in Athens” — If you say so! Other contributers include Jason Grunebaum, Sawako Nakayasu, Ravi Shankar, Matthew Zapruder, and more. Check it out.
(And don’t forget the reading tonight at Schoen Books: Emily Toder, Nick Rattner, and Mart del Pozo at 7:30!)