Archive for December, 2011

1. Ithaca

2. I Walked a Mile with Pleasure

3. The Lost Son

4. Ithaca (video)

5. The Serpent

6. After a While

7. Love Me Like You Never Loved Before

8. Deathless Aphrodite of the Spangled Mind

9. Giving Up

10. The Unicorn

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In my hollow bones
I heard her
Like a bone woman
A lisp

Her eyes were green
And I see now
How I thought I was beautiful
Compared to him
But she was beautiful
Compared to me

And he would chose her

In my head
And in the hall of my roots
Where the dead grow and the old
Plays are memorialized on tapestry

The mold is only slight, there is a
Magic that keeps this terrible truth alive

In all I wanted, in all these years, I thought
I found something to aspire to, that is a line
From a book, I suspect, some bland platitude
But it piques my interest because

I am the tom cat
In the celebrity showcase

I am the one cartooned

She is the plaster goddess, the thing on the wall
She is the face that said no
And now smiles and so
Who could say no to her?

She is the power play, I am merely the one who
Stood next to him

I am the one who has offered
She has asked to be given

And no matter what I do
it is always me
who must be cast out
To the far corners

Me as always
In every one of these stories
In the deep dank room of roots
Untried, unloved, unwon, uncarried
The woman in the background

Fading away already, always light of hair, light of skin

A ghost

-Nina Alvarez


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This time of year, every year since 2008, I post a call to support Words Without Borders. Here are the past three calls to action:




Words Without Borders is a wonderful and important publication, celebrating and curating literature from around the world and sharing it in many different languages. But like many literary organizations, they need your support. Read this holiday message from their Executive Director.

Dear Friends

As a regular reader of Words without Borders you know that for the last eight years Words without Borders has provided our readers with the very best in international literature and that in doing so we promote cultural understanding and build bridges between cultures. Whether it is a fictional account of the Dasht-e-Leili massacrethe destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas at the hands of the TalibanLeïla Marouane’s taleof a woman’s oppression by a family member or even the existential torment of shopping at IKEA, Words without Borders connects you, our reader, to the entire world.

But we do so much more in order to bring our authors and their important work to as many people as possible.

We actively advocate to the publishing industry on behalf of our authors. In fact, we have a quarterly newsletter that just goes out to agents and editors. This year we welcomed the release of  Galit Seliktar and Galid Seliktar’s Farm 54 and Johan Harstad’s Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion , and announced that Angela Pradelli received a contract with Latin American Review Press thanks to our efforts.

We publish stories in many languages. Since April 2011 whenever we can attain the rights, we publish the original alongside the translation (like this!). We now have work in Spanish, French, German, Pashto, Dari, Arabic, Icelandic, Korean, Japanese, Maltese and over a dozen more.

We’re placing international authors in public high schools around the country, including Évelyne Trouillot, Galit Seliktar, and Etgar Keret at the Bard High School and Early College New York, Dei Bao in Chicago, Carmen Boullosa at the Houston Independent School District in Houston, and Eduardo Halfon at the June Jordan High School for Equity in San Francisco. These visits are just the first steps in a much larger education program we hope to launch in 2012.

Whether you are one of our readers from around the world, an academic or student engaged in scholarly research, or a publishing professional looking for new talent, Words without Borders’ small staff is working to provide you and as many other people as we can possible reach with a rich and meaningful cross-cultural experience, which is why I’m asking you to join our growing list of financial supporters by making a tax-deductible donation via JustGive.org by December 31.

Whether it’s $10$1000 or a much welcome monthly donation your gift goes toward supporting Words without Borders: The Online Magazine of International Literature and our burgeoning education program and ensuring that we remain a strong and vital cultural institution.

Donate today. Thank you for your support.

Joshua Mandelbaum
Executive Director

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Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think…and think… while you are alive.
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten —
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City

of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,

Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,

it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


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