A flowering tree, on the other hand, gives forth its essence when it reaches that stage known as full bloom, and in doing so, it emanates a mysterious aura comparable to the state of perfect stillness approached by a fast-spinning top, or perhaps the fleeting sensory impressions roused by a spectacular musical performance, or something like the afterglow that follows the burning act of consummation. It is this beauty, wondrous and vivacious, that never ceases to captivate the human spirit.
—from Under the Cherry Blossoms by Motojirō Kajii,
translated from the Japanese by Bonnie Huie
“Tests on Monkeys” by Grzegorz Wróblewski, trans. Piotr Gwiazda
Poetry from the Polish (Denmark)
In its exploration of the idea of planetary power, the poem “Tests on Monkeys” displays some of the characteristic features of Wróblewski’s verse—surreal perspective, expressionistic intensity—and highlights the author’s fascination with science and technology.
“Interspersed Signs” by Glafira Rocha, trans. Gustavo Aldolfo Aybar
Short Fiction from the Spanish (Mexico)
Rocha breaks down conventional narrative systems and deconstructs characterizations leaving us with blunted prompts and skewed confessions that force a deeper and brighter meaning to those lending their voices to her seemingly jumbled but never random signs. Immediate and vibrant.
“Neighbors” by Ferrez, trans. by Nicolas Allen & Carolina Correia dos Santos
Short Fiction from the Portuguese (Brazil)
Ferréz lends his voice to the marginalized residents of the suburbs of the Brazilian megalopolis, drawing from his own experiences of living in one of the biggest favelas of São Paulo; “Neighbors” is the story of a man who seeks to escape the scrutiny and squalor of his surroundings.
“Dear Mama” by Hebe Uhart, trans. by Maureen Shaughessy
Short Fiction from the Spanish (Argentina)
“Dear Mama” was written as a tribute following the death of the author’s mother; an epistolary story, it depicts a woman grappling with the absence of her mother and the legacy of her mother’s wisdom.
“Larva & Hedge” by Pilar Fraile Amador, trans. Elizabeth Davis
Poetry from the Spanish (Spain)
The prose poems of “Larva & Hedge,” make use of repetition, compression, and fragmentation in their exploration of dualities—juxtaposing the intimate and the collective, the strong and the weak, the human and the animal, and yoking them together to call their differences into question.
“Under the Cherry Blossoms” by Motojirō Kajii, trans. Bonnie Huie
Short Fiction from the Japanese (Japan)
“Under the Cherry Blossoms” depicts a coming to terms with mortality and its accompanying dualisms through an exposition of the sub rosa, a revelation that starts with the creeping notion that beneath such beautiful flowers, something lies hidden.
Donald Breckenridge is the Fiction Editor of The Brooklyn Rail, and co-Editor and co-Founder of InTranslation. He is the author of more than a dozen plays, and four novels including, And Then, which was published by Godine/Black Sparrow in the spring of 2017.Jennifer Zoble
Jennifer Zoble is a writer, editor, educator, and literary translator. She coedits InTranslation, and teaches at NYU.