Marco Giovenale (Italy): "Two shorts in prose"

from The Station at the river
translated from Italian by Johanna Bishop



on the platform. everybody in the same direction. coming out of the hangar the carriage speeds
up their movement. shunts in the opposite direction. on the left the two cranes are yellow. they
are dedicated to

formation of a square. margin. two segments up above.

on the following side. sails-a-way. leeward. hills: tuscan-like. storage structure, artificial lake. as
if for signatures along the serpentine they’ve planted cypress trees. towless trailers. smokestack
striped red and white. at the end.

describing it not as badly. it seems. that a row of olive trees has gained the crest of opinion. of
the hill. which has the space seen on one side. motivation. splits the wind.

on the fully cut lawn. one wedge is acute – a hedge – closing off a shed. the piled tools. heaps
of gravel – looks like salt. looks like many other things as well. what goes by opens


nine in the morning what is left.

market. arranging in an arrow. you have no grounds to say you do not ask what would new york
have been like without language. you ask

what you would have been like without work. been that group 19 austrians outside the bar-hotel

- been stripe. the raincoats.
horizontal metal rod piazzetta paradiso. ten each. egg yellow to:

so you would have been objectivity. to use a simplification.

9:55, g.l.: “they would prove to be neither new nor difficult”. philologists don’t trace the sources.

in your mother’s arms. 1973 in a house full of stairs without railings safe and sound.



Marco Giovenale (1969) lives in Rome, where he works as an editor and translator. He’s a contributor to alfabeta2 and l’immaginazione, as well as the founder and editor of (2006). In 2011, he took part in the Bury Text Festival in Manchester. His work has appeared in the following magazines: «il verri», «l’immaginazione», «Nuovi Argomenti», «Action Poétique», «Nioques», «OEI», «Aufgabe», «Capitalism Nature Socialism». His recently published books in Italian include: Strettoie (Arcipelago Itaca, 2017), Il paziente crede di essere (Gorilla Sapiens, 2016), Maniera nera (Aragno, 2015), Delvaux (Oèdipus, 2013), In rebus (Zona, 2012), Shelter (Donzelli, 2010), La casa esposta (Le Lettere, 2007). He has also published the following books in English: a gunless tea (Dusie, 2007), CDK (Tir-aux-pigeons, 2009), anachromisms (Ahsahta Press, 2014), white while (Gauss PDF, 2014). His work in “asemic writing” has been published in the following books: Sibille asemantiche (La camera verde, 2008), Asemic Sibyls (Red Fox Press, 2013). Follow him online at


Johanna Bishop grew up in Pennsylvania, was pigeonholed as a future translator by a standardized test in middle school, and has embraced that fate full-time since 2004. Her poetry translations include Danza del ventre a Tel Aviv, by Karen Alkalay-Gut (co-translated into Italian with Andrea Sirotti, Kolibris, 2010), and For the Maintenance of Landscape, by Mia Lecomte (with Brenda Porster, Guernica, 2012). Her translations of other contemporary poets have appeared in the anthology Canone Inverso (Gradiva, 2014) and in the reviews TheFLRItalian Poetry ReviewHere - Notes from the Present, andJournal of Italian Translation. She lives near Florence.

"My language," from Poems for June, by Yorlady Ruíz López (trans. by Emily Paskevics)

This week for Translation Tuesday, we're rereading Emily Paskevics' translation of a poem by Colombian poet Yorlady Ruíz López. The piece is from the collection, Poems for June, which won Colombia’s National Poetry Award at the XII Poetry Festival of Medellin in 2002.

To read more contemporary literature in translation, follow us on Facebook and keep an eye out for Contemporary Works in Translation: A Multilingual Anthology (Vol II) this winter. In the meantime, check out Vol I, available in both print and digital formats on our website.

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As always, thanks for reading and supporting independent press publishing.

"»you’re my ivy-leaflet ……..«," Friederike Mayröcker

This week, I've chosen my favorite poem from last year's journal to share for Translation Tuesday. The piece is called »you’re my ivy-leaflet ……..« written by Friederike Mayröcker and translated by JD Larson. The text is available in the original German, as well as the English, below.

To read more contemporary literature in translation, follow us on Facebook and keep an eye out for Contemporary Works in Translation: A Multilingual Anthology (Vol II) this winter. In the meantime, check out Vol I, available in both print and digital formats on our website.


"On the Balcony" Daniel Blanchard

This week for Translation Tuesday, we're revisiting Daniel Blanchard's "On the Balcony," translated into English by JD Larson. You can find the opening section of this three-part poem below in both English and French.

To read more contemporary literature in translation, follow us on Facebook and keep an eye out for Contemporary Works in Translation: A Multilingual Anthology (Vol II) this winter. In the meantime, check out Vol I, available in both print and digital formats on our website.

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As always, thanks for reading and supporting independent press publishing.

"Threaten," Laura Vasquez

As we prepare this year's journal for publication, we will be sharing work from last year's collection every single week on Translation Tuesday.

This week, I wanted to begin with one of my favorite poems in the journal – "Threaten," written by Laura Vasquez and translated into English by Evan Leed.

You'll want to read this one aloud.

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Since we are a multilingual publication, we encourage you to read the original text in French too.

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To read more contemporary literature in translation, follow us on Facebook and keep an eye out for Contemporary Works in Translation: A Multilingual Anthology (Vol II) this winter. In the meantime, check out Vol I, available in both print and digital formats on our website.

Open For Submissions

We are proud to announce the forthcoming release of our first full-length collection of works in translation. The print journal will feature contemporary poetry and prose from all around the world, translated from the original language into English. The booklet will contain side-by-side translations of each text, allowing readers to engage with both the original and translated versions simultaneously.

For this anthology, we would like to invite translators to submit a selection of translated poetry or prose written by a non English-language contemporary author. By contemporary, we mean any piece that was written after 1980. By poetry/prose, we'll leave that up for you to decide. Read read our mission statement, peruse our recent publications and browse our blog to get an idea of what we're interested in publishing.

You can submit a maximum of 3 poems for each author, but you can submit as many different authors as you want. Please limit prose submissions to no longer than 3,000 words. For more information, please visit our Call For Submissions.

We look forward to hearing from you and reading your work!
Alex & Dan

Carlos Soto-Román: 11 Fragmentos

For those who were unable to make it to the event in Atlanta, we'd like to make the same opportunity available to you by providing the videos of each reader, as well as the pamphlet of side-by-side translations which appear and can be downloaded here. Our first video is from Chilean poet Carlos Soto-Román.

OOMPH! Press @ Atlanta Zine Fest + OOMPH! Volume 1

Last month, we put together a little zine for a really cool festival in Atlanta called Atlanta Zine Fest. Since this year's theme was Girls in DIY, we thought we'd translate some of our favorite all-female, non-English-language poets and publish a text specially-made for the event. The booklet features translations from Spanish, French and Portuguese, showcasing authors from all over, including Angélica Liddell and María Mercromina (Spain), Esther García (Mexico), Laura Vasquez (France), Norah Lange and Olga Orozco (Argentina) & Marília Garcia (Brazil), not to mention super rad cover art by Lala Ferrero. Translated by the OOMPH editors from Buenos Aires and Rome, we somehow managed to get the text printed in Atlanta and hand-delivered to Laura Relyea at Vouched Books just in time for the Murmur-sponsored event (thanks Travis Broyles!)

If you didn't get a chance to pick up the zine at the festival, we've made it available online! You can read it below, or follow this link for a .PDF. Enjoy!

Clarice Été: Every Girl Is Dangerous

Maybe the point of all the time we spend browsing the internet in a trance is to make us forget that what we really want is something to take us out of the boredom of life, so that when we find it, its newness and excitement are that much stronger. At least, that's what I felt when I came across Clarice Été's "every girl is dangerous." The poem had a rare sense of urgency, coherence, and power. Everything seemed so right that I wondered why this piece wasn't already a classic. I thought, "Everybody needs to read this."

Juana Roggero: Dive

If you walk toward the northwest corner of Plaza Miserere, in the center of Once, one of Buenos Aires' more neglected neighborhoods, you come across a smaller plaza, filled with photos, flowers, statues of the virgin mary, shoes hung from clotheslines, sad and angry letters, and a large plaque with the word "JUSTICE" etched across the top. This is the memorial to the 194 victims of the fire at the República Cromañón nightclub on December 30, 2004. It was one of the deadliest fires in world history and caused a backlash which exposed widespread government corruption and eventually led to the resignation of the city's mayor. Anybody who was young at the time seems to be directly connected to, or only a few steps removed from, at least one of the victims. The event, which could have been easily prevented, is still fresh in the minds of the city's inhabitants and if you go to the memorial the anger and sadness can be felt as if it happened yesterday.

Marina Mariasch: Life in the Universe

Marina Mariasch gave one of the best readings at last year's International Poetry Festival in Rosario, Argentina – or so I'm told. But I missed it because I was day-drunk and day-angry sitting on the steps outside, too tired to get up because a bunch of bros staying in my hostel kept me up all night, and I wanted everything in the world to go to hell. I regretted it immediately, since I liked Marina after meeting her the night before when she was happy about the free meals provided by the festival and trying to figure out a way to eat them without having to talk to anybody else. Two of my favorite things are free food and being an insane recluse, and my conclusions after leaving Rosario: never stay at a hostel again, check out Marina's poetry.


OOMPH is growing, but we need your help. We're looking for translators and blog contributors with English and second language proficiency who have knowledge of poetry, translation and linguistics, to contribute works in translation, reviews and articles to our blog.

We want interviews, spotlights highlighting journals and translated work, introductory surveys on regions and languages, original translations on contemporary or historically significant texts---we're open to pretty much anything. Feel free to pitch an idea for a monthly beat, or a single, isolated piece. Check out our blog for previously published pieces to get an idea of our current scope and framework.

If you're interested in working with us, send a bio, a sample piece and proposal to no later than May 31st for review.

-Alex and Dan


Ana Claudia Díaz: The Theorem Of Backs

As soon as I read the title of Ana Claudia Díaz's "The theorem of backs" I knew I was going to translate it. Poetry is such a vague and sprawling thing and I've always been a little insecure about whether I really "get", or even "like," most poems, but pieces that deal with the body always connect with me right away. When you talk about the body you go right to the root of experience. You start out with a solid and universal thing that leads to all the subjectivity of the world. 

The XULdigital Project: experimental Argentine poetry and criticism in the Poetics of the Americas

Last month, I recommended The XUL Reader (Roof Books, 1997) as further reading for A Short Primer to Latin American Poetry in the Spanish Language. The reader is part of a larger project, spearheaded by Ernesto Livon-Grosman, called XULdigital, which aims to archive work from the historically significant Argentine journal XUL: Old and New Sign (1980-1997). Additionally, through an essay collection in Spanish and English called 5 + 5, it provides critical context to the project of the "Poetics of the Americas" in a continental sense, calling for both the reevaluation and redefining of "American literature" to encompass work from both continents. The entire project is digitized in an easily-digestible format, sponsored by the O'Neill Library at Boston College, providing access to a facsimile edition of the Reader, and a downloadable .pdf of the essay collection---an invaluable resource for those interested in contemporary experimental Argentine poetry, translation, and transnational poetics in general.

ANCIENTS/MUTHAFUCKA: an irregular, locationless journal of the arts

I'm not entirely sure how, or when, I first stumbled across ANCIENTS. I think poet Brandon Shimoda originally told me about it; the journal features an old photo of his grandfather Midori Shimoda on the cover. Anyway, I got the last copy. It came in the mail one day, thick as a steak: a photocopied reproduction of a stack of 100 pieces of paper originally assembled and printed in 2013, featuring drawings, film stills, poems, travel notes, and translations by artists and writers from around the world, such as contemporary poets Corina Copp, Phil Cordelli, Leopoldine Core, Dot Devota, Sandra Doller, Brenda Iijima, Bhanu Kapil, Lucas de Lima, Lynn Xu, Karena Youtzand a host of others.