In the pause between the dead of winter and the hit of spring, there should properly be a carnival. In its absence–despite its notorious caucuses Iowa is not a region known for the burning of its effigies, nor for any reckless abandon of a Mardi Gras–in search of modest ecstacies, we read:

René Char's delirious and heat-drenched poetry, newly translated by Susanne Dubroff and introduced, with a finger on the wars fought within and around it, by Chris Merrill.

Victoria Fomina's sprawling add-on novel, adroitly translated by Anna Barker, which gages the gap between the girlish enthusiasms of the first post-Soviet year and a somber world of dripping animal flesh–as seen by a Moscow vegetarian–less than a decade later.

Gábor Szántó's cruelly witty Oedipus poems, explained in an endnote as "unsent letters from the Alexandria Library," from the ruins not so much ancient as those of the mythical Mittel-Europa of Freud, the primus inter pares of the sentral-european Jews, of a world gone up in the flames of the Shoah, now to be rebuilt letter by letter, story by story.

...and a portfolio sampling of Minae Mizumura's work. Writing on the cusp of two language systems, along the cultural faultlines between Japan and the Anglophone lands, and between the tectonic plates of their literary traditions, her vision is stereoscopic, her hearing stereophonic, her handwriting bidirectional.