The Genius of Clarice Lispector


My God, I just remembered that we die. But—but me too?!
Don’t forget that for now it's strawberry season.
Yes.

These lines bring to a close Clarice Lispector's novel The Hour of the Star, and in the following discussion, they open a fascinating conversation about the Brazilian author's transgressive and hugely influential life, as a public literary figure and as a private person. Her works have inspired an astonishing range of artists, from novelist Colm Tóibín to film director Pedro Almodóvar. Here we join two of Lispector’s translators, Idra Novey and Katrina Dodson, and acclaimed writers Micheline Aharonian Marcom and Hector Tobar for a lively, 80-minute exploration of the infamous life and dazzling work of one of the twentieth century’s great innovators.

We join the conversation with Idra Novey discussing her introduction to Lispector. Hector Tobar follows in front of Micheline Marcom and Katrina Dodson, before CJ Evans initiates the spirited discussion.

Audio courtesy of Two Lines Press, a program of the Center for the Art of Translation. Originally recorded October 15, 2013, at the Hotel Rex in San Francisco, CA. For more information about Two Lines Press, please visit their website.

Photo: Clarice Lispector in 1961 by Claudia Andujar

Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian, selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series. She is also the author of The Next Country and the forthcoming collection Clarice: The Visitor. Her most recent translations include Clarice Lispector’s novel The Passion According to G.H.

Hector Tobar is the author of three books, most recently the novel The Barbarian Nurseries, named a New York Times Notable Book. For two decades he’s worked for the Los Angeles Times, and was part of the reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots.

Micheline Aharonian Marcom has published five novels and is the recepient of fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the U.S. Artists’ Foundation.

Katrina Dodson is currently translating The Collected Stories of Clarice Lispector, forthcoming from New Directions. Her translations and writing have appeared in Granta, Two Lines, and McSweeney’s.

CJ Evans (moderator) is the editor of Two Line Press and the Literary Programs Manager for the Center for the Art of Translation. He is the author of the poetry collection A Penance and a chapbook, The Category of Outcast.

Clarice Lispector is a featured artist in Music & Literature No. 4, now available. A full list of its contents can be found here.