Interviews, mostly


An Interview with Genia Blum

By Dzvinia Orlowsky

When I first decided to write a memoir, I didn’t have a clear idea of where it would take me, so nothing really surprised me, except maybe the discovery of certain facts about my family, and a few about myself. I also never expected to become an essayist. In the last three years, adapting chapters into self-contained stories, pulling short essays from long ones, and composing even shorter flash nonfiction pieces, I produced enough words to fill a tome. . . .  Much has been written in recent years about epigenetic transmission of trauma, and the omissions riddling my parents’ stories continue to confound and distress me. 



Vlad Interviews: Genia and Daria Blum 

By Vlad Savich

Ballet has a specific vocabulary and is governed by its own precise grammar and syntax, the underlying technique that defines how a trained dancer’s body must move. A strong and correct technique is the foundation of classical dance, and the names of its steps and positions—terms like tendugrand jetéarabesque—are understood by dancers all over the world. Joined together, these form the sentences and paragraphs of a choreography, which is guided and anchored by music. Like bad literature, a form of "fake ballet" exists, practiced by those inept in the use of this language, in the same way a native speaker or voracious reader, without mastering the craft of writing, is incapable of creating great literature. 


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Hopin': Nine Excerpts

Translator's Note

In 2018, I asked the Swiss poet and author Pablo Haller to recommend “something wonderful and exciting by a contemporary Austrian author, preferably female, TCK (third culture kid), or from the LGBT community.” Haller, a member of the programming committees for woerdz – Das Spoken Word Festival and Solothurner Literaturtage in Switzerland, had recently attended BookBasel, where Puneh Ansari had read from her first book, Hoffnun’, published by mikrotext (Berlin). At his urging, I downloaded the digital version and after delving into its alternatively lyrical and staccato-paced texts, was so captivated by Ansari’s voice that I ordered several print copies, excited to share my discovery with friends.

The title of Ansari’s book is the German word for hope—Hoffnung—with the last letter dropped. With the intention of submitting excerpts to literary competitions and journals, I translated the first twenty pages of Hoffnun’ into English and contacted Ansari and her publisher, Nikola Richter of mikrotext, for permission to proceed. It was granted, and both women encouraged me to finish a translation of the entire book, whose English title would be Hopin’.


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