ALTA Staff Recommends…

This #TranslationThursday, two of ALTA’s staff members have micro-reviews for books we’ve turned to as we are self-isolating. As we shift to working from home, we are glad to have a sense of community in the translations we are reading.

ALTA Program Manager Kelsi Vanada recommends…

I recommend Echo of the Park by Romina Freschi, translated from the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas and published in 2019 by new 9781732936317.jpgpress Eulalia Books! These poems take as their subject the interaction between the natural and the human, enacted by terrain that gets “parkified.” The park becomes a figure for the way in which the natural and the human have come to be dangerously intertwined, and from that groundwork the poems seek their understanding of life in all its messiness. They’re ambitious, and difficult in the best way—moving between imagistic descriptions, quoted material, and abstract reflections. Pitas’s translations are powerful, creating and sustaining a tone in English that can best be described as eerily beautiful, and which is not without moments of delightful levity.


ALTA Communications and Awards Manager Rachael Daum recommends…

For these troubling times, I recommend Spawn by Marie-Andrée Gill, translated from the French by Kristen Renee Miller, published last month by Book*hug Press. This collection of poems is exquisite, exploring delicately and deeply the connection between person and place. Framed around the life cycle of the ouananiche, the non-migratory salmon, the narrator cycles through growing up, imperialism, 90s nostalgia, reclaiming colonized space within a colonizer’s language. The elegant and haunting translation into English by Miller deftly manages the translation into another imperialistic language by twisting English, bidding it balloon out and then contract, lifting up solemnity alongside absurdity. The movement within space stills, doubles, and expands explosively all at once like a thunderclap: “Only thunderstorms still tell it like it is.”

Learn more about Kelsi and Rachael, along with ALTA’s other staff members, here.

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