An Announcement Of Exciting Proportions

This is probably slightly overdue, but after it was announced in Publisher's Weekly at the beginning of October, I got excited all over again. I think I haven't said much because to some extent it felt like you already knew, which is ridiculous.

A little while ago, I signed the contracts for my third book. My third book! I thought it was probably time to shout about it officially, because as the weeks turn into months, it’s likely that this is going to be all I ramble about. The working title is ‘An Illustrated Guide to the Universe’, it lies somewhere within the intersection of science and art and the existential, and it will be published initially in the US by Penguin, something which I think I’m still processing. I’ve already fallen completely in love with my new editor, Meg Leder, who is a wonderful writer herself, and I just don’t know how it’s possible to sit still enough to write or draw anything when you’re wriggling this much with apprehension and glee.


On Reading

"Read for yourselves, read for the sake of your inspiration, for the sweet turmoil in your lovely head. But also read against yourselves, read for questioning and impotence, for despair and erudition, read the dry, sardonic remarks of cynical philosophers like Cioran or even Carl Schmitt, read newspapers, read those who despise, dismiss, or simply ignore poetry and try to understand why they do it. Read your enemies and your friends, read those who reinforce your sense of what’s evolving in poetry, and also read those whose darkness or malice or madness or greatness you can’t yet understand because only in this way will you grow, outlive yourself, and become what you are."

Adam Zagajewski, translation by Clare Cavanaugh, from A Defense of Ardor: Essays

Chapter 89

A short while ago, I answered some questions for Chapter 89, a 'simple aesthetic online magazine' which publishes personal interviews with artists from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. The editor, Ivanna, asked me some wonderful questions, and I duly rambled.

You can read the interview here.


Occasionally, really not very often, a translation makes something like a jagged hole in the even surface of literary reception, out of which emerge half-familiar figures, dazzling in their new accessibility. Most translations fail at some point because of the twin principles of fidelity and compromise; too often, especially if they are translations of poems, they are not enough like original writing to carry the conviction they need to embody if they are to come anywhere near the force of the work itself. You can’t just carry over the words of a poem into a different language, across that space Anne Carson describes as ‘like no other’, nor can you just re-create the thinking or the experience in the poem. Both Proust and Valéry described writing itself as an act of translation: translation, equally, is an act of writing, and at its best can make the same kind of impression.

— Ian Patterson