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POSTPONED: Happy Birthday Action Books!

April 1 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Join City of Asylum in celebrating 20 years of Action Books

This program has been postponed due to unforseen circumstances. The rescheduled date will be shared once confirmed. 

For two decades now,  Action Books has been publishing some of the most exciting translated work in the United States. Action Books is a transnational, interlingual publishing house that we at City of Asylum have had the privilege of working closely with over the years. Just last March, they published writer-in-residence Rania Mamoun’s first English poetry collection (and first release without a pen name), Something Evergreen Called Life. Their care and dedication to their craft was instrumental in celebrating this joyful moment in Rania’s life, and now, we have the chance to return the favor. This special 20 year anniversary bash begins with a small reception at 6pm, followed by a 7pm program featuring over a dozen of Action Books’ poets and their translators in an evening of conversation, readings, and festivities. The featured readers include some of the most acclaimed poets from around the globe, joining us both virtually and in-person. 

About the Artists:

Paul Cunningham co-manages Action Books. He is the author of two poetry collections from Schism Press: Fall Garment (2022) and The House of the Tree of Sores (2020). New writing has appeared or is forthcoming in BOMB Magazine, Texas Poetry Review, The Ocean State Review, and A Flame Called Indiana: New Writing from the Crossroads (Indiana University Press, 2023). His translation of Sara Tuss Efrik’s play Danse Macabre Piggies will be anthologized in Experimental Writing: A Guidebook and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2024). Cunningham currently manages the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame.

Michelle Gil-Montero is a poet and translator of contemporary Latin American poetry and criticism. Her recent translations include Edinburgh Notebook (Action Books) by Valerie Mejer Caso, and Berlin Interlude (Black Square Editions) and Exilium (Ugly Duckling Presse) by María Negroni. She is the author of Object Permanence (Ornithopter Press). She runs the small translation press Eulalia Books and teaches at Saint Vincent College.

Lara Glenum is the author of five books of poetry, including Snow (forthcoming Spring 2024), Pop Corpse, Maximum Gaga, The Hounds of No, and All Hopped Up On Fleshy Dumdums, a limited edition art book. Her work has been described as “a splattered fairy tale for today, a new flavor of poetic candy, and, ultimately, a pleasure to read.” She teaches literature and creative writing at LSU.

Johannes Göransson is the author of nine books of poetry and criticism, most recently Summer (2022), and is the translator of several books of poetry, including works by Aase Berg, Ann Jäderlund, Helena Boberg and Kim Yideum. His poems, translations and critical writings have appeared in a wide array of journals in the US and abroad, including Fence, Lana Turner, Spoon River Review, Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Kritiker (Denmark) and Lyrikvännen (Sweden). He is a professor in the English Department at the University of Notre Dame and, together with Joyelle McSweeney, edits Action Books.

Gabriel Gudding is a poet, essayist, and translator from Norway. A 2024 NEA Translation Fellow, he is translator of the books Touch Jesus (Forlaget Oktober 2021) and Friends with Everyone (Action Books 2024) by Norwegian “punk” poet Gunnar Wærness. His translation of Norwegian poet and novelist Pedro Carmona-Alvarez’s booklength poem “Inventarium” (first published by Kolon in 2020) will be published by co•im•press in 2025. The author of four books of poetry, Gabriel’s essays and poems appear in such periodicals as Journal of The History of Ideas, Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, American Poetry Review, and in such anthologies as Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to The Present, Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, and &Now: Best Innovative Writing.

Katherine M. Hedeen is a prize-winning translator of poetry and an essayist. A specialist in Latin American poetry, she has translated over thirty books of some of the most respected voices from the region into English. Her work has been a finalist for both the Best Translated Book Award and the National Translation Award. She is a recipient of two NEA Translation Grants in the US and a PEN Translates award in the UK. She is a Managing Editor of Action Books. She resides in Ohio, where she is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana, Cuba.

Destiny Hemphill (she/her) is a ritual worker and poet based in Durham, NC. A recipient of fellowships from Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, Callaloo, Tin House, and Kenyon’s Writers Workshop, she is the author of the poetry chapbook Oracle: a Cosmology (Honeysuckle Press, 2018) and motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life (Action Books, 2023).

Rania Mamoun is a Sudanese activist and bestselling writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She completed Something Evergreen Called Life, a poetry manuscript written during COVID-19 quarantine, translated into English by Yasmine Seale and published by Action Books in March 2023. Rania has published two novels to great international acclaim, Green Flash and Son of the Sun, and her short story collection, Thirteen Months of Sunrise, was shortlisted for the 2020 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Rania continues to organize for democracy in Sudan. Her writing has appeared in English, Korean, French, and Spanish translation. She is a writer-in-residence at City of Asylum since 2019. 

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez (Havana, 1955) is one of Cuba’s most outstanding and celebrated contemporary writers, with over eighty collections of his poetry published throughout the world. He has been the recipient of major awards in the Spanish-speaking region. His selected poems have been translated into over a dozen languages. He divides his time between Gambier, Ohio, where he is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana, Cuba. More info: www.victorrodrigueznunez.com

Don Mee Choi (virtual)  born in Seoul, South Korea, is the author of the KOR-US trilogy: Mirror Nation (Wave Books, 2024), the National Book Award winning collection DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020), and Hardly War (Wave Books, 2016). She has translated several collections of Kim Hyesoon’s poetry published by Action Books: Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (2008), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (2011), Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (2014), and Poor Love Machine (2016). Her more recent translations of Kim Hyesoon are Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018) and Phantom Pain Wings (New Directions, 2023). 

Maria Hardin (virtual) is a Swedish-American artist and bilingual poet based in Stockholm. She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited across Scandinavia, and her writing has been published in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Greece, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and the United States of America.  Cute Girls Watch When I Eat Aether, published by Action Books, is her debut poetry collection. She can be found at mariaology.com.

Kim Hyesoon (virtual) one of the most influential contemporary poets in South Korea, is the author of several books of poetry and essays. She has received many awards for her poetry, including the 2019 International Griffin Poetry Prize for Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018) and the prestigious Samsung Ho-Am Prize in 2022. Besides English, Kim’s work has been translated into Chinese, Danish, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish. Her latest work in translation is Phantom Pain Wings (New Directions, 2023). 

Joyelle McSweeney (virtual), a Guggenheim Fellow, is the author of ten books of poetry, drama and prose, a well-known critic, and publisher of international literature. McSweeney’s recent book, Toxicon and Arachne (Nightboat Books, 2020), was called “frightening and brilliant” by Dan Chiasson in the New Yorker and earned her the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. Her essay collection, The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults, is widely regarded as a visionary work of eco-criticism. With Johannes Göransson, McSweeney is a co-founder of Action Books.

Yasmine Seale (virtual) is a British-Syrian writer and translator. Her essays on literature, art and film have been published in Harper’s, Paris Review, the Nation, and elsewhere. Her poetry, visual ar,t and translations from Arabic and French have appeared widely. She is the author, with Robin Moger, of Agitated Air: Poems after Ibn Arabi, published by Tenement Press. Her translations include Aladdin: A New Translation and The Annotated Arabian Nights, both out with W. W. Norton. She has received a PEN American Literary Grant and the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for Poetry. She lives in Paris, where she is currently a fellow at the Columbia Institute of Ideas and Imagination.

Gunnar Wærness (virtual) was born in Trondheim in 1971. A recipient of many awards and honors, including the Swedish Academy’s 2023 Dobloug Prize, he is the author of nearly a dozen books of poetry, graphic poetry and visual collage. A prolific translator from English, Russian, and Bulgarian, he has translated Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Terrance Hayes, Gennady Aygi, two books by CAConrad (one with Martin Ingebrigtsen), and he has co edited with Pedro Carmona-Alvarez the most comprehensive collection of world poetry in Norwegian history, with a special focus on the global south. An Associate Professor in Creative Writing at SKA (Skrivekunstakademiet) in Bergen, he serves as an advisory and developmental editor for a few key publishers in Norway, while also working as an illustrator, visual artist, musician, composer, and cabaret performer. He lives in Skåne, Sweden with his wife, the musician, artist, and psychologist Sofia Eriksson. 

Valerie Mejer Caso (virtual) is a Mexican poet, painter and translator. Most recently she was part of the closure of the Lit & Luz Festival show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and a resident of the Poetry Foundation during the fall of 2023. Her book The Edinburgh Notebook was listed for a PEN Award in 2021. In 2016 her collaboration with Barry Shapiro, Untamable Light, was featured at the Kochi Muziris Biennale in India. She has been translated into English by Michelle Gil-Montero and also by Forrest Gander and C.D Wright who also edited her anthology of poems. She’s the author of seven collections of poetry, the most recent one, Sin Republica, will appear in Spain and in Mexico this 2024. She has translated six complete collections of poetry and her own poetry has been translated into English, German, Korean and Slovenian. 

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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April 1
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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