The NTA Countdown to ALTA43: Tell Me, Kenyalang

Join us as we count down to the ALTA43: In Between awards ceremony with the National Translation Award in Poetry and Prose longlisted titles! We will be featuring the titles in alphabetical order alongside blurbs penned by our judges for the National Translation Awards in Poetry and Prose. This year’s judges for prose are Amaia Gabantxo, Emmanuel D. Harris II, and William Maynard Hutchins. This year’s judges for poetry are Ilya Kaminsky, Lisa Katz, and Farid Matuk.

The awards ceremony will air on October 15, 2020 on ALTA’s Crowdcast page: you can register to attend the NTA in Prose announcement here, and the NTA in Poetry announcement here. Find the full list of longlisted titles here.

Today we’re shining the spotlight on NTA in Poetry long- and shortlisted title Tell Me, Kenyalang:

Tell Me, Kenyalang
by Kulleh Grasi
translated from Malay by Pauline Fan
(Circumference Books)

Translator Pauline Fan, in collaboration with poet Kulleh Grasi, offers an English version of Tell Me, Kenyalang that complicates national categorizing schemes of world literature. Grasi intersperses verse written in Malay with phrases of Kaya and Kelabit, just two of the languages spoken by different ethnic and cultural groups residing in the nation state of Malaysia. Allowing some Kaya and Kelabit to remain untranslated, Fan and Grasi give readers rich multilingual evocations of multiethnic storytelling, ceremonial songs, ritual incantations, and dream weaving. But this is no museum. Fan’s translation renders the pulse of a living poet’s contemporary, generative attention to contemporary, generative moments, offering us a text that is “[n]arrated, alive.”

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