Asymptote Winter 2016: Featuring Junot Díaz, Yann M artel, Caroline Bergvall, Ingo Schulze, and Sybille Lacan

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the Winter 2016 edition of Asymptote is now live! For a quick preview, check out our video trailerhere. As if releasing a new issue weren’t exciting enough, this month marksour fifth anniversary—to celebrate, we’ve put together a special edition you won’t want to miss!

First off, we’re thrilled to feature exclusive interviews with Junot Díaz andYann Martel, a passage from Sybille Lacan’s fractured memoir of her larger-than-life father Jacques Lacan, plus early poems by the “Allen Ginsberg of Japan,” Kazuko Shiraishi, and an anagrammatic translation by Bronwyn Haslam in our special feature on Experimental Translation, which reveals previously hidden meanings in texts both familiar and almost forgotten.

Other highlights include a mythical, waterlogged coming-of-age story by Sinophone Malaysian novelist Kuei-hsin Chang and an interview with the genre-shattering artist Caroline Bergvall. We also feature our first work from Mongolia, Uzbekistan, and ancient Babylon, bringing our country tally up to 100!

Once you’ve seen the new issue for yourself, you’ll understand why we’re so excited. So we hope you’ll help us get the word out of Asymptote by connecting with us on Facebook and sharing the news with your contacts, or even downloading our beautiful flyer here and putting it up anywhere you think it might reach other lovers of world literature.

If you use Twitter, please consider sharing the following tweet (or one of your own):

It’s here! Celebrate 5 yrs of world lit with @asymptotejrnl’s Winter 2016 issue ft Junot Díaz, Yann Martel and more!

I’m also thrilled to announce our first batch of anniversary events. In New York, for example, we will be joined by Forrest Gander, Ann Goldstein, Natasha Wimmer, and Frederic Tuten on Mar 3; in London, by Caroline Bergvall, Tena Štivičić, and Hamid Ismailov, on Mar 23; in Ottawa, by Luise von Flotow and Rachel Martinez on Apr 4; and in Chicago, by Nathanaël, Rey Andujar, and Kolin Jordan on Apr 13. If you live in any of these cities, come out and celebrate with us! If not, don’t despair: we will continue to unveil even more celebrations on our Events page, on Facebook, as well as in our next fortnightly airmail.

I’ll leave you now with a tantalizing excerpt of Martin Rock and Joe Pan’sexperimental translation of Nenten Tsoubouchi haikus, featured in the new issue:


A dandelion, once it has d(r)ied, is held together by a preponderance of parachute pods. They part and pop, as fire does, in play and on the planes of prairied minds. The tanpopo’s popo is the dandelion’s lion, but it is also the pop of Pop-Rocks, the pip of pomegranate, the chugga chugga of the choo-choo. A train engineer is a popo-yashushu-popo the child’s word for locomotive, popo-popo-popo the sound a train makes moving across an empty field. A 1603 Jesuit Japanese dictionary lists poppo as “the manner in which steam or fire rises.” But in Japanese, tanpopo is not onomatopoetic until Tsubouchi makes it so. Popo itself is a wordless word, it is the seed of a word, a seed which bursts into flame as soon as it is spoken. Imagine a great gust of wind. Imagine a fire.

Click here to read more of these kaleidoscopic translations; dive into our new issue now!

Lee Yew Leong, Editor-in-Chief


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