From the Editors

We conceived of this issue as complement and response to our last issue, Endurance. Becoming seems like it would be the opposite concept: motion to the former’s stasis, change to the former’s permanence. 

But the two are more intertwined than might be immediately apparent. Nothing is truly static: at geological time scales, even stone and earth, the very sources for our metaphors of stability, flow and break like the ocean. It is not against, but in fact through the act of becoming that things endure: bodies, spaces, languages, texts, people. 

Translation is the operation by which literature, through becoming, reaches its highest power of endurance. By changing every word, the translator finds something of their source text that they are able to repeat, to bring to a new audience. This something is no after-life: it is like a new limb, an addition to the body of the text, a friend to an original it does not kill or destroy, but rather extends and amplifies through repetition. 

All of the pieces in this issue embody this vibrancy, this flux, this energetic capacity to repeat and endure. In translation, these texts are always becoming—becoming as substantive, a becoming without object, without a fixed being as its telos. We hope that you will enjoy, as we did, the vibrant mobility of these texts, how they observe and then animate their subjects with all the resources of their languages.

We thank the many wonderful translators who contributed to this issue: Patience Haggin, Sherilyn Hellberg, John Hennessy, Kathryn Kimball, Ostap Kin, Alice Magalhães, Jennifer Manoukian, Jenny Rodger, Mark Schafer, and Aziz Nazmi Shakir. 

We also would like to thank our authors: Yuri Andrukhovych, Guy Goffette, David Huerta, Patrícia Lavelle, Anna Maria Ortese, Yanitsa Radeva, Sabitha Söderholm, and Zabel Yessayan. We are so honored to feature their writing, bringing together works originally conceived in Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Danish, French, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Western Armenian. 

Special thanks to Pinyu Hwang, our contributing artist, for her Hangul-inspired brush paintings, whose spellbinding motion reminds us of the material warp and weft of signs as we read the ones we can understand. 

And, last but not least, we thank our amazing editorial team for all their hard work that made this issue possible: Gleisson Alves Santos, Elizaveta Bukatina, Jake Goldwasser, Mars Grabar Sage, Ani Jilavyan, Erel Michaelis, Fabienne Rink, Itamar Shalev, and Miharu Yano. 

Yours in becoming,

Jack Rockwell and Nicky Nenkov

April 2024