When I think of Lavender Ink, I immediately think of two things: poetry and New Orleans. Since its inception, Lavender Ink has been a supporter of poets in and around the Big Easy. In fact, the press co-created (and continues to co-host) the New Orleans Poetry Festival and Small Press Fair, an international poetry celebration that takes place each April. This year’s entertainment included over two hundred guest poets, plus sixty panels, workshops, readings, and off-site events—an impressive feat for a festival in its third year of operation!
While the team at Lavender Ink continues to predominately produce poetry, they recently chose to extend their editorial interests in a few ways. The first modification was to the catalog, which now incorporates nonfiction, fiction, anthologies, and other genres alongside their established lyrical lists. The second was the creation of Diálogos.
Diálogos is an imprint entirely devoted to English-language translations of “literatures which have cross-cultural significance.” This young publishing arm of Lavender Ink doesn’t focus on region-specific literature, opting instead for a more global approach. A quick scan of the Diálogos catalog shows books from Costa Rica, Algeria, Argentina, Germany, and Romania. A deeper delve reveals that this is just a small sample of the countries represented in their lists.
Many Diálogos titles piqued my curiosity, but the one that caught my breath was Mamasafari, written by acclaimed Croatian novelist and poet Olja Savičević and translated by Andrea Jurjević. This expansive poetry collection considers Mediterranean female identity through a variety of voices, switching between narrative, political observation, and lyrical exploration. Savičević’s poems are organized into three sections, each revealing a fresh face of her conceptually-diverse style. It’s hard to imagine that Mamasafari is Savičević’s first book of poetry to be translated to English, especially after the international attention paid to her 2016 novel, Adios, Cowboy. Many thanks to Diálogos for delivering this masterwork to English-reading audiences!
Other notable Diálogos releases:
Earth, Water and Sky: A Bilingual Anthology of Environmental Poetry, a bilingual collection edited by Jesse Lee Kercheval.
Unica Looking at the Sea, a novel by Costa Rican writer Fernando Contreras Castro and translated by Elaine S. Brooks.
Poetry Comes Out of My Mouth, a poetry collection by infrarealist Mario Santiago Papasquiaro and translated by Arturo Mantecón. (Read an essay about the author in the Los Angeles Review of Books.)
Read on to learn about Lavender Ink’s beginnings, as well the birth of Diálogos.
Lavender Ink was founded in 1995 in New Orleans by Bill Lavender, who is still the Director and Editor in Chief. The Press is a sole-proprietorship, not a 501-C3 nor any other type of corporation, and is funded solely by revenues from book sales and some small grants and funding initiatives for individual books. Prior to 2012 the press published only poetry, but is now publishing fiction, nonfiction and other genres, also. Diálogos is an imprint of Lavender Ink devoted to literatures which have cross-cultural significance, primarily but not exclusively literature in translation. It is envisioned, too, that such work will often have a political component.
Click here to understand more about Lavender Ink and Diálogos’ shared histories. For additional information about Lavender Ink’s forthcoming titles, check out their online catalog. New books under Diálogos can be found on the imprint’s homepage.
By Chelsey Slattum