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Music & Literature no. 6 champions the work of three artists poised to break through on the international stage: Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, Ukrainian composer Victoria Polevá, and Croatian writer Dubravka Ugrešić. An aura of almost legendary prestige surrounds the short life of Alejandra Pizarnik, who, though haunted by doubt and depression, left behind an oeuvre by turns searing, tragic, playful, and erotic. Her portfolio brings into English one hundred pages of previously untranslated prose, diary entries, and letters, as well as appreciations from, among others, Enrique Vila-Matas and César Aira, who writes that Pizarnik “was not only a great poet, she was the greatest, and the last.” Equally uncompromising in her artistry is Victoria Polevá, who has written music for the world’s leading soloists and ensembles while building a reputation as a major cultural figure in Eastern Europe. Though the majority of Polevá’s music has yet to reach Western audiences, a host of her illustrious contemporaries from around the world gather here to attest—in verse, in correspondence, and in oils—to her singular vision, while in her most extensive interview to appear in English and in her musical writings on mentors Arvo Pärt and Valentin Silvestrov, the maestro elaborates on her spiritual and aesthetic evolution. The volume's third portfolio celebrates the wry and sharply powerful voice of Dubravka Ugrešić. Since the break-up of her native Yugoslavia, Ugrešić’s fiction has revolved around questions of exile and identity, while her caustic, brilliantly insightful criticism has taken on literature, Yugostalgia, and contemporary hypocrisy in all its forms. Alongside an exclusive interview and a newly-translated work of fiction, appearing here for the first time in any language, this portfolio offers contributions by Ugrešić’s translators Michael Henry Heim and Damion Searls, as well as a critical overview of her prolific career.



I. Alejandra Pizarnik

A Few Essential Words / Alberto Manguel

An Introduction to Alejandra Pizarnik’s Diaries / Ana Becciú, trans. Cecilia Rossi

A Selection from Diaries / Alejandra Pizarnik, trans. Cecilia Rossi

A Selection of Prose / Alejandra Pizarnik, trans. Cecilia Rossi

An Introduction to “The Lady Buccaneer of Pernambuco or Hilda the Polygraph” / Ana Becciú, trans. Cecilia Rossi

The Lady Buccaneer of Pernambuco or Hilda the Polygraph / Alejandra Pizarnik, trans. Suzanne Jill Levine

Correspondence with León Ostrov / Alejandra Pizarnik, trans. Emily Cooke

Some Keys to Alejandra Pizarnik: An Interview / Martha Isabel Moia, trans. Emily Cooke

Come Here Alejandra / Julio Cortázar, trans. Stephen Kessler

Pavane for a Dead Princess / Olga Orozco, trans. Stephen Kessler

An Overdose of Seconal / Enrique Vila-Matas, trans. Rosalind Harvey

Alejandra Pizarnik / César Aira, trans. Katherine Silver

Demystifying Pizarnik: On Editing the Complete Works / Isabella Checcaglini, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman

“The Shadow of the Typist”: The Perturbed among Lilacs / Étienne Dobenesque, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman

The Woman in Red / Jacques Ancet, trans. Jeffrey Zuckerman


II. Victoria Polevá

A Biographical Statement / Victoria Polevá, trans. Ian Dreiblatt

A Conversation with Victoria Polevá / Anna Lunina, trans. Rachel Caplan

Arvo Pärt at 75 / Victoria Polevá, trans. Ian Dreiblatt

The Return of Silvestrov / Victoria Polevá, trans. Ian Dreiblatt

I Ask to Fall Silent / Victoria Polevá, trans. Ian Dreiblatt

The Berlin Letter / Arvo Pärt, Valentin Silvestrov, Giya Kancheli, trans. Adrian Nathan West

The Making of The Art of Instrumentation: Homage to Glenn Gould / Gidon Kremer & Victoria Polevá, trans. Ian Dreiblatt

An Introduction to the Neumann Paintings

Eight Recent Paintings / Max Neumann

vii / morţi: plainchant / Esther Kinsky

Meditation on the Night Vigil / Ellen Hinsey

Sacred Abstinence from Musical Belief / Lawrence Sutin

An Initiation / Marvin Rosen


III. Dubravka Ugrešić

A Story about How Stories Come to Be Written / Dubravka Ugrešić, trans. David Williams

A Conversation with Dubravka Ugrešić / Daniel Medin

Seven Prints by Dubravka Ugrešić

Home Away from Home / Damion Searls

Steffie Cvek and Miloš Hrma, Literary Half-Siblings / Sam Sacks

Unconditional Surrender / Madeleine LaRue

Honesty at Play in Thank You for Not Reading / Curtis White

Memories of Pan-Yugo Angst / Sara Nović

Losers and Exile / Shannon Burns

From a Note on Baba Yaga / Michael Henry Heim

Witchiness / Marina Warner

A Question of Perspective in Karaoke Culture / Philip Huff, trans. Jan Steyn

In Defense of Lost Time: Reading Europe in Sepia / Jeremy Bleeke