Rilke Shake

RilkeShakeFreitasKaplanCoverTwo! Brazilian women in English translation on the ALTA national translation award long list. Is it the Olympic effect?

Clarice Lispector is a heavyweight contender, but here’s something new, featherlight and deft from the south. It probably weighs less than a smartphone and is much more rewarding to flip though.

I drank down Angélica Freitas’ Rilke Shake like a much-needed frappuchino on a hot day. Her translator, Hilary Kaplan, just found it in a Porto Allegre bookshop, which “opened the door to a lasting experience for me. I hope my translation in turn opens the door for a new set of readers to discover this bright contemporary voice.” And they have. Rilke Shake has already won the 2016 Best Translated Book Award.

Lispector would have been proud: her take on the little mermaid is great.

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This poet is fun. She is playful with her ancestors. She has a bath with Gertrude Stein, tussles in the park before Josephine Baker, and fights depression with new clothes like Keats. In a country where how you look matters, she has a gloriously queer attitude to her appearance:

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Freitas also knows exactly how bookshops make you feel:

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No wonder Phoneme Media slurped up Rilke Shake – they published Black Flower too, which is also on the NTA long list. Freitas has two more volumes out in Portuguese. Now we just have to wait for Kaplan to translate them…but until then, here she is, reading her title poem, with subtitles:

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Posted in Best Translated Book Award, books, gender, poetry, translation, Women in Translation Month

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