Miguel Abreu Gallery and Sequence Press are pleased to present Book Week II: In Translation, with collages by Raha Raissnia. The gallery floor will be arranged as a bookshop and reading room with recent translations from mostly local publishers. In addition, a small selection will be on hand from the Lower East Side Heritage Collection, a unique archive of specialized, non-circulating books at the Seward Park branch of the New York Public Library. On the walls, a series of new collages and a painting by Raha Raissnia will be installed.
On a recent trip to the Seward branch, Johanna Lewis and Sean Ferguson, the librarians responsible for breathing life back into the once-hidden LES Heritage Collection, pointed out Trictionary to us. This English/Chinese/Spanish dictionary, published in 1982, is a reference of words and phrases “as spoken on the Lower East Side.” In the introductory pages of the book, which include a guide for use and a list of important people in China and the Caribbean, we learned that the project “arose out of the need in the Chinatown Lower East Side area of Manhattan, New York City for simple, multi-lingual reference work to help people communicate with each other.” We also found a collection of translated letters to the Jewish daily Forward, A Yiddish Word Book for English-Speaking People, and an anthology of Nuyorican Poetry in Spanish and English.
After a short walk from the library, we engaged our neighbors across the street at Bidoun and learned they are presently translating a back issue of their Middle-Eastern culture magazine into Arabic. Across town, Seven Stories pulled Hwang Sok-Yong’s The Old Garden off their shelves, and New York Review Books suggested poet Richard Howard’s translation of Balzac’s The Unknown Masterpiece from their classics catalogue. Archipelago sent copies of Henri Michaux’s Stroke by Stroke and Dalkey Archive Press dropped off Collected Novellas by Arno Schmidt. We then swiftly gathered a wide range of titles from the following group of publishers that incorporate the precise art of translation into their programming:
Archipelago, Bidoun, Dalkey Archive Press, Halmos, New York Review Books, Open Letter Books, Seven Stories Press, Verso and New York Public Library’s Lower East Side Heritage Collection