Welcome to the first ever Queen Mob’s Teahouse Queer Translation Issue. We received many more submissions than anticipated and finding which to include among so many fine pieces was not a simple task. In this issue we bring to you literature from Mexico, Sweden, Slovenia, Japan and beyond.
In The Queer Art of Failure Jack Halberstam writes: The queer art of failure turns on the impossible, the improbable, the unlikely, and the unremarkable. It quietly loses, and in losing it imagines other goals for life, for love, for art, and for being.
I’ve been thinking about how translation is always queer. It is an attempt at something new, just like our queer lives, we keep trying to make our existence the best it can be, and without precedent. These pieces are not homogeneous in any way. Some are traditional translations, some are compilations, while others are versions and adaptations— each poem or story is an attempt at making something new. While translation is making something new, it is also the work of memory and forgetting, something all oppressed communities must deal with in unique ways. Choices have to be made about what to bring forward and what to leave behind— the same can be said about translation, about deciding not only which terms and phrases to carry over but in deciding which literature should be brought to English language readers.
This responsibility to bring literature to new readers is carried by each writer in this issue; translation is at the service of literature and it makes for a different kind of writer. It is a world filled with gratitude and kindness and this is something I learned first hand this past month at the American Literary Translators’ Conference in Oakland, California. It has always been something I’ve felt among translators and writers who translate but it really materialized during that conference. Translators from all different phases of their respective careers helped each other, enthusiastically discussed projects and especially planned ways of promoting women’s and queer writing in translation.
This issue seeks to take Queer writing beyond pulp. This isn’t to say there isn’t a place for pulp or erotica or any other genre work in the queer world or in the translation world, but in this issue the idea is to promote work that is queer and also seeks a wider audience— or puts new questions into our minds about what queerness can be in the literary field.
Thank you to everyone who as contributed to this issue.
I hope you enjoy reading it.