Monday, July 09, 2018

In Capítulo Siete, ‘Metztli’ by Xánath Caraza, Translated by Sandra Kingery and Kaitlyn Hipple

In Capítulo Siete, ‘Metztli’ by Xánath Caraza, Translated by Sandra Kingery and Kaitlyn Hipple

“What is to give light must endure burning.”

V. E. Frankl

It is with a combination of pleasure, satisfaction and serenity that I share with you, dear readers of La Bloga, the news of the forthcoming publication of my second collection of short stories, Metztli, which is planned for the middle of July this year, in other words, in a couple of weeks.  Capítulo Siete will be publishing Metztli, and we’ve been working hard to finalize it for a couple of months now.  Metztli will appear in a bilingual edition, translated to the English by Sandra Kingery and Kaitlyn Hipple, with support from the Mellon Foundation and Lycoming College. 

I’m particularly excited because, even though I’ve written eleven poetry collections and one previous collection of short stories, Metztli is the first book of mine to be published in Mexico and that is worth celebrating.

Metztli is a collection of twenty-two stories, both micro-fiction and full-length short stories. Every story is followed by the English translation by Sandra Kingery and Kaitlyn Hipple.

In the following lines, Sandra Kingery shares her experience as translator:

For me, on the most personal level, literary translation signifies pleasure and enjoyment and     love.  It means living a text from the inside, savoring the words, living them through sound and touch.  It means entering inside a text and coming out the other side with a new version that is and is not the same as the original. 

If literature is one of the most profound expressions of a culture, literary translation is the way that culture is shared with the rest of the world.  I began translating because of that simple desire for communication… I’ve been a translator for about 15 years now, but until last summer, I’d never translated with another person.  When I learned about the possibility of applying for an Andrew W. Mellon Grant for the Humanities, which were established to encourage research between professors and students, I immediately thought about the possibility of working with Kaitlyn Hipple, a student who had recently changed her major from English literature to Spanish.  In many ways, Kaitlyn might not have seemed like the best candidate for this two-person task, because she was still only a sophomore and had not yet taken the most advanced level Spanish classes.  But Kaitlyn had several attributes that made me think that she was the ideal candidate, including not only her talent as a deep reader of literature (in English and in Spanish), but also her passion, her enthusiasm, and her love for literature. Literary translation is an intimate process that requires a lot of time and patience.  The work can be frustrating, meticulous, and slow.  Not everyone has the disposition for it, but I already had the sense that Kaitlyn did.
During that first summer (2016), Kaitlyn and I met every day for eight weeks and we spent hours reading aloud, listening, repeating, returning to the same words over and over again. Xánath’s stories are incredibly rich and deep and, in order to do them justice in English, one must live all of the intensity within them.  Kaitlyn and I translated sections, and when we felt lost along the way, we would move on to another story and let the first one rest, only to return and find our way forward later on.  More than anything, we laughed a lot that summer, out of happiness and the pleasure that the stories gave us, as they began to reveal their secrets to us little by little.

Let me close with a few words that Juan Mireles of Casa Editorial Capítulo Siete wrote about Metztli.

Xánath Caraza is an author who discovers the stories in places. In every one of her short stories, she invites us into her home, the home of her memories, of her travels; the food and traditions of a Mexico visited regularly by her stories to experience that which she never forgets: the scents and flavors that bring back to her the images, dialogues, stories, the love, that signify home.

In Metztli, we never forget that distance is only a brief pause, that this separation serves to reaffirm the author’s roots: a reason to always return, there is no other option, because the land beckons.

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