Note to Readers

    by Translations Editor, Sonakshi Srivastava

    The Cambridge Dictionary describes “appetite” in two distinctively, and yet inclusive ways:

    Need

    The feeling of wanting or needing something

    The emphasis on “need” is inescapable to the human eye. It stands pronounced in announcing its arrival, almost visceral in its yearning to intertwine with the subject word, appetite. And it is in this prominent infusion of the meaning with the subject that the word becomes animate, becomes human.

                The translations that we received for this themtaic issue were a delight to gorge on. There is a line from Mary Oliver’s poem “Yes! No!” that I often return to – “to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work”. I first encountered it when I was preparing to teach a class on reading sometime in June last year, but its importance seems to amplify each passing day.

                In putting together this selection of translations, Oliver’s didactic line gained a new significance, and the poem’s title more so. “Yes, No” – that was what I was paying attention to as I read through the brilliant translations that came my way. Much has been discussed about the art and importance of reading as a translator but much needs to be said about the act, if not the art of reading as an editor. I am grateful to Subhashree Beeman for graciously aiding and enhancing my “editorial” reading. Her delicate eye for detail illuminated my own practice as an editor in-progress, prompting my attentiveness to aspects that may have been neglected.

                While curating this section, I am also reminded how attention and appetite are intertwined. Lest we forget, attention may be drawn to how appetite in its most negative valence is playing out at the moment – the Israeli genocide in Gaza.

                We invite you to dive into the selection of translations here, ranging from Chinese to Odia to interrogate and interpret  our theme “Appetite”, the pivot through which one may understand the human-ness of appetite and consequently of needs, and the neediness of humans.

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