Sitting With Strangeness: A Conversation With Adriana X. Jacobs


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On this episode, host Marcela Sulak interviews Adriana X. Jacobs about her work translating Vietnamese-Israeli author Vaan Nguyen. Jacobs is an Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at the University of Oxford and recipient of a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for her translation of The Truffle Eye, Nguyen’s debut collection. Sulak and Jacobs discuss Vaan Nguyen’s unique life story, the relationship between translator and writer, and Radiohead.

Here is an excerpt from Jacobs’ translation of the poem Mekong River:

“Tonight I moved between three beds
like I was sailing on the Mekong
and whispered the beauty of the Tigris and Euphrates
Under an endless moment
looking
under the left tit
I have a hole
and you fill it
with other men.
Notes of Tiger beer on your body.”

Text:
“Culture Stain” & “Word Mound”: Drunken Boat
“Mekong River”: Gulf Coast
“Packing Poem,” Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees, edited by Lauren McClung, Cathy Linh Che, and Ocean Vuong, to be published by W.W. Norton in 2017.

Music:
Jinsang – Genesis
Creep – Radiohead – Brooklyn Duo feat. Escher Quartet Cover
Exit Music (For a film) – Radiohead
Ru con – Anbu Thanh

Producer: Ariella Plachta
Technical producer: Tammy Goldenberg

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