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Prétend, a novella by Arielle Burgdorf
Prétend follows a young translator from Montreal whose name and identity are in constant flux. Our protagonist begins the story as Jean, a woman trapped in an abusive marriage to a dangerous man named Konstantin. Isolated and alienated in London, Jean soon becomes John, and her relationship with Konstantin starts to unravel when he asks her to translate his poems from Russian. After she begins to uncover some of Konstantin’s deceits, she agrees to meet a reclusive artist in Canada named M., and leaves Konstantin, becoming Jeanne upon her return to Montréal.
Working with M. on a new translation is magical and restorative for Jeanne, as she learns for the first time in her life what it might be like to have a translator-author relationship free of dated ideas on fidelity, domination, and the invisibility of the translator. Jeanne also starts to realize she has feelings for M. and wants more than just a business relationship together. But M. has a secret too, and just when it comes to light, Konstantin lands in Montréal and creates chaos. Jeanne uncovers Konstantin’s biggest secret and becomes determined to expose him, forcing him to leave her alone once and for all—but will he give in so easily? And will she find a way to work things out with M., or leave Montréal behind for a new city and a new identity?
Arielle Burgdorf is a writer originally from Washington, D.C. They received their MFA from Chatham University in Pittsburgh where they taught in the Words Without Walls program at Allegheny County Jail. Their writing and translations have appeared in Lambda Literary, Broken Pencil Magazine, Exilé Sans Frontières, Maximum Rocknroll, and elsewhere. They are currently pursuing a PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz focused on queer and feminist experimental writers from Québec.
Paperback, printed and bound by Coach House Press on 60 lb Rolland Natural paper.
Praise for Prétend:
“[Burgdorf] has written a clever, sexy, moving & playful novel about literary translation, control, language, & selfhood.”
Jen Calleja, translator, publisher at Praspar Press and author of Vehicle, Dust Sucker, and I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For
“As its protagonist cycles through names, cultures and countries in a journey of self and soul, Burgdorf’s passion for language itself is a beautiful lodestar, a letimotif woven into the fabric of the story. Like a knife to a whetstone, Prétend gives off sparks.”
Alex Manley, author of The New Masculinity and translator of Made-Up
A/An, a chapbook by Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez
Using 17th-century court records of the Salem Witch Trials as a sounding board, A/An mines the archives to uncover the power and violence residing within the language of the legal system. As state-legislated violence, witch hunts were constitutive to the colonial order, reinforcing what was normal and what aberrant. Rather than regarding the witch hunts as historical curiosity or speculating to fill the gaps, A/An considers the court examination as poetic form, a hybrid of legal language and lyric utterance. In these poems, English becomes foreign to itself, having distorted through time and slipped through the sieve of law, through the inevitable erasures of matter and the ideological erasures of the archive: the gaps marked “[illegible due to fold in paper],” and the silences that remain unmarked. In a poetics of the “[…]”, A/An engages with textual gaps as lacunae. In A/An, poetry and archive wrestle, shattering these legal documents that act as gravestones and spilling the voices caught therein.
Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez, a Chilean poet, novelist, translator, and text-based artist, is the author of the novel La Pava (Ediciones Inubicalistas). They teach creative writing at Clark University.
Paperback, printed and bound by Coach House Press on 70 lb Sephyr Laid paper, typeset in Sabon, 12 pt.
Praise for A/An:
“Archival and speculative, Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez’s A/An is a revisioning of the Salem Witch Trials into a portfolio of court ephemera, converging them thematically despite and through its divergent forms. It’s precisely what we haven’t escaped of the Trials that blooms here: the spectacle of adjudication, the self-righteousness of the law and legibility, coloniality’s self-exception. Sovereignty is haunted: an invisable hande pushes us forthe. Gutmann-Gonzalez deftly summons the past and present’s continuity through this possible lyric alternative. A/An is a distillation, a reduction, a tincture of the ever-renewable past. Handle cautiously--this is yr book.”
Jos Charles, author of feeld, a Year & other poems, and Safe Space