Very thoughtful and inspiring review by Joshua Daniel Edwin in Music&Literature, also available online.
A couple of excerpts:
This willingness to create between languages is an approach to addressing the Babel problem and it is also the space that Wolf and Seita’s work occupies: the dizzying and transformative space the reader enters upon approaching this book. Although i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where is Seita’s English translation of Wolf’s German poetry, this simple binary does justice to neither side of what it describes. Both texts, the original and the translation, are inter-lingual. They rely on linguistic multiplicity: they work in it; they are made of it.
Wolf’s response provides the extension to living inter-lingually, and Seita quietly dramatizes the further extension of translating this passage when she performs for the reader the difficulty of finding a word for “the difficulty of finding a word.” She translates Wolf’s compound word, wortfindungsschwierigkeiten, as hard-word-finding. The subsequent passage describes the experience of living between languages as
little access problems in conversations, i mean timing, a kind of conversation-smudging, where you must prepare for the blur-print, so as to get a blur or berry in, right, but you’re just sitting there and others hevva juicy red chin.
With hevva, Wolf refers to the subtitle of the section, the lengevitch of the early twentieth-century American poet Kurt M. Stein. Stein wrote poetry in the dialect of German-American immigrants who never quite released themselves from the grip of their mother tongues into unencumbered American English. The speakers in Stein’s poems often find themselves incapable of communicating successfully in either German or English, mudding along in between with humorous results. They hevva problem with lengevitch, out of which Stein makes wonderful, fun poetry. Wolf is, similarly, creating poetry out of the disconnect she observes, slyly finding the words (with Seita) to deliver the experience of hard-word-finding:
all these words then pounce on each other, the different kind, wild and not child, they’re in cahoots inside my head, these failing trails, exultant foreign arrangement of folds, folds are falten, me falta, es fehlt mir, this word, which means miss, me falta, in the language of this island, in another fala is ‘i speak’— a spark, a faltering unresting sway; en-wringed