Join Superstition Review in congratulating past contributor Paisley Rekdal on her forthcoming book, Appropriate A Provocation, which will be released on February 16th. The book explores the concept of appropriation, as well as, the questions: “How do we properly define cultural appropriation, and is it always wrong? If we can write in the voice of another, should we? And if so, what questions do we need to consider first?” Paisley, in the novel, “addresses a young writer to delineate how the idea of cultural appropriation has evolved—and perhaps calcified—in our political climate. What follows is a penetrating exploration of fluctuating literary power and authorial privilege, of whiteness and what we really mean by the term empathy, that examines writers from William Styron to Peter Ho Davies to Jeanine Cummins.”
“Anyone who wishes to understand appropriation, and not just react to it, should read this book. Paisley Rekdal brings years of teaching, writing, and critical thinking to this subject, with literary analyses, historical and theoretical frameworks, and practical advice. Appropriate is a book of immense wisdom and clarity, sure to become required reading for writers everywhere.”
—Beth Bich Minh Nguyen, author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
Today we are pleased to feature Paisley Rekdal as our Authors Talk series contributor. In her discussion with fellow poet and classicist Kimberly Johnson, she takes the opportunity to talk about working with classical literature, the complexities of language and translation, women as translators of the classics, and the themes of the classical writings which the two have used as inspiration for their own work. They discuss mainly Paisley’s work with Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Kimberly’s translation of Virgil’s The Georgics and how they have found inspiration in these classical poetic texts. And with their work, they’ve become “steeped in an ancient idiom” which has influenced their own poetic style and translation methods.
Paisley speaks to her own journey in contemporizing Ovid’s myths in her book of poetry Nightingale which is to be released in May. She notes that one of the trials of her work was finding how to “contemporize the myths without becoming a slave to just retelling them” and how she wanted to try “translating images of power” and “structures of change” that exist within the myths into her own poetry. She details the struggles and trials she faced in her work with the text and more.
They also take time to discuss the trials of translation of the classics and Kimberly’s work with Georgics. Kimberly notes that she “lives the world in lines” as a translator and poet, wanting to preserve the experience of the original poem. She and Paisley “reside in that complexity of language” which is inherent to poetry as an expressive art. Their extensive interest and creative engagement with the classics also helps them speak to modern topic of women working in classical translation and the appeal of the classical myths to a modern audience. For them, “the classics holler out to us from a period of imagined stability” and the themes and unique stories of those works are particularly attractive to modern readers. To hear more about the intricacies of their creative processes and their perspectives on the classics, please take the time to listen to this fascinating podcast.
Today we are pleased to announce that past contributor Paisley Rekdal will be the poetry consultant for the 2018 Writers at Work Conference. The Writers at Work Conference takes place in Alta Lodge, Alta Utah, near the Wasatch Mountains, where writers of all backgrounds gather to share ideas, craft, and fine writing. For more information click here.
Paisley also released a book-length essay titled The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. The Broken Country uses an incident that took place in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2012 to delve into the long-term cultural and psychological effects of the Vietnam War. Purchase a copy from The King’s English Bookshop here.
To read our interview with Paisley in Issue 19 of Superstition Review click here.