Spring 2020 vol 10 no 1


Spring is almost here, and so is the resuscitated, occasional, 91st Meridian. In some happy seasonal coincidence, the issue has turned out to be filled with plants and animals, even while being entirely virus-free, in contrast to the global pandemic enveloping us all at this moment. 

►In the poetry section, Roberto Echeto frames his nature images masterfully, be they visual or verbal. By contrast, Stuart Lau’s epic “Quagga” gives us Hong Kong as half history, half myth, a wild and implausible creature now on the verge of extinction.

►In the prose section, two versions of the magical Japanese fox kitsune meet: in one, by Enza García Arreaza, a fox enchants a young South American immigrant to Hokusai into doing things he didn’t know he wanted to do. In the other, by Fujino Kaori, a posse of teenage kitsunes flip up their tails and do some things we have always wanted to. Kind of, at least.

►Abuja-based scholar, lawyer and poet Tade Ipadeola reviews The Dragonfly Sea, the epic 2019 novel by Yvonne Ouwuor that triangulates east Africa, China and Turkey along routes at once maritime, entomological,and romantic, routes that here  undo—reverse even—the PRC’s massive global Belt and Road project.

►Finally, two projects from the archives:

First, to mark her 95th birthday earlier this year, we include a 1983 essay by the Chinese/American novelist, fiction writer, translator and editor, IWPs’ remarkable co-founder Nieh Hualing Engle, a lyrical sketch of an exhilarating spring evening in 1979 when old friends from both sides of the Taiwan Strait meet for the first time after decades of political separation.  
And second: republished here are  four, plus, rules for literary translation offered, only slightly tongue in cheek, by the novelist, poet, and translator Edmund “Mike” Keeley, who first made up the hybrid creature known as a translation workshop during his Iowa spring 1963.  This excerpt from a 1980 essay by Keeley is then framed by the Editor's comments about the context in which translation came to be embedded in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop of the early 1960s, a harbinger of  the internationalization that the IWP brought to Iowa just a few years later.

--The Editor

Iowa City, mid-March 2020


Roberto Echeto: Minuscule Photomontages /translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Shyue >
Stuart Lau: The Quagga /translated from the Chinese by Audrey Chin >
Fujino Kaori: The Fox Girls of Kowata High /translated from the Japanese by Mac Gill >
Enza García Arreaza: Prayers for a Fox /translated from the Spanish by Kathleen Archer >
Tade Ipadeola:  Owuor's Taijitu Tango: a review of The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Owuor >
Hualing Nieh EngleShould Spring Winds Return Again— In memory of 许芥昱 Kai-yu Hsu /Introduced by and translated from the Chinese by Lynn X. Wang >
Edmund “Mike” Keeley/Nataša Ďurovičová:  From 'a lonely passion' to 'an exciting educational experience': how translation found foothold inside the Iowa Writers' Workshop >