C. Buddingh’ – “The Hyena” – Translated from the Dutch By Matthew Ryan Shelton (2016)

Empirical Science has often shown
a reputation up: the old Egyptians
held him in high esteem, and Pliny held that the stone
he carried in his eye, the hyena,
laid under the tongue, would grant him sight, into the future.
Alas,
all he carries in his eye is a cockeyed look of hunger and alabandical brass.
His eyes go yellow, having gorged himself on what leopard or what lion left him.
He’s a tricky fucker, a grave robber.
Nothing more.
Nothing more? In the rst circus I ever saw
was a cackle of hyenas. What
it meant I never knew: but a man or a woman
must have put up with them, must have cared for,
must have spoken to, have fed, caressed, have loved them, even.
Maybe.
It seems to me an odd hobby, traveling around
with a troupe-trained bunch of cadaverers: something like
renting a room to an undertaker
while dozens of beautiful girls beg for shelter.
And anyway: even the scum of the earth wouldn’t choose his e gy
for emblem.
His photo is before me: a fawning sycophantic head, tail slavishly between the legs, half bent
to ee or to accost, a bearing weaned
of every pride or grace —— and yet, as his look trans xes mine, I growl:
“So, cousin!”

Original text:

C. Buddingh’
“De Hyena”

Empirische wetenschap laat van reputaties
dikwijls weinig heel: de oude Egyptenaren
vereerden hem hoog, en nog Plinius hield vol dat de steen
die hij meedragen zou in zijn oog, de hyaenia,
als hij onder de tong werd gelegd in de toekomst deed schouwen.
Helaas,
wat hij in zijn oog meedraagt is enkel een loensende blik
van vraatzucht en achterbakse opdringerigheid;
geel glanst zijn iris, ja: wanneer hij zich volschrokt
met wat luipaard of wat leeuw aan aas voor hem achterliet. Een gluiperige bietser is hij, een lijkenopgraver,
meer niet,
Meer niet? in het eerste circus dat ik ooit zag,
(Amar), was ook een hyena-nummer, wat
het inhield weet ik niet meer: maar een man of een vrouw moet met ze zijn opgetrokken, ze hebben verzorgd, toegesproken, tee ten gegeven, geaaid, liefgehad zelfs
misschien.
Het lijkt me een vreemde hobby, rond te reizen
met een troep gedresseerde kadaveropruimers: zo iets
al een kamer verhuren aan een begrafenisdienaar,
terwijl tientallen mooie meisjes om onderdrak vragen.
En daarbij: zelfs de ergste beul koos zijn beeltenis niet graag
tot embleem.
Zijn foto ligt voor me: een kruiperig-inkennige kop,
de staart slaafs tussen de poten, half gekromd
om te vluchten of toe te sluipen, een houding gespeend van iedere erheid of gratie — en toch, als zijn blik
zich zalvend aan de mijne vastzuigt, grom ik:
‘Zo, neef!’

This translation first appeared in the 2016 edition of Long River Review

“The Blood Shed”

translation by Ana Arriaga (2015)

Spanish
LA SANGRE DERRAMADA

¡Que no quiero verla!

Dile a la luna que venga,

que no quiero ver la sangre

de Ignacio sobre la arena.

¡Que no quiero verla!

La luna de par en par.

Caballo de nubes quietas,

y la plaza gris del sueño

con sauces en las barreras.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Que mi recuerdo se quema.

¡Avisad a los jazmines

con su blancura pequeña!

¡Que no quiero verla!

La vaca del viejo mundo

pasaba su triste lengua

sobre un hocico de sangres

derramadas en la arena,

y los toros de Guisando,

casi muerte y casi piedra,

mugieron como dos siglos

hartos de pisar la tierra.

No.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Por las gradas sube Ignacio

con toda su muerte a cuestas.

Buscaba el amanecer,

y el amanecer no era.

Busca su perfil seguro,

y el sueño lo desorienta.

Buscaba su hermoso cuerpo

y encontró su sangre abierta.

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No quiero sentir el chorro

cada vez con menos fuerza;

ese chorro que ilumina

los tendidos y se vuelca

sobre la pana y el cuero

de muchedumbre sedienta.

¡Quién me grita que me asome!

¡No me digáis que la vea!

No se cerraron sus ojos

cuando vio los cuernos cerca,

pero las madres terribles

levantaron la cabeza.

Y a través de las ganaderías,

hubo un aire de voces secretas

que gritaban a toros celestes

mayorales de pálida niebla.

No hubo príncipe en Sevilla

que comparársele pueda,

ni espada como su espada

ni corazón tan de veras.

Como un río de leones

su maravillosa fuerza,

y como un torso de mármol

su dibujada prudencia.

Aire de Roma andaluza

le doraba la cabeza

donde su risa era un nardo

de sal y de inteligencia.

¡Qué gran torero en la plaza!

¡Qué buen serrano en la sierra!

¡Qué blando con las espigas!

¡Qué duro con las espuelas!

¡Qué tierno con el rocío!

¡Qué deslumbrante en la feria!

¡Qué tremendo con las últimas

banderillas de tiniebla!

Pero ya duerme sin fin.

Ya los musgos y la hierba

abren con dedos seguros

la flor de su calavera.

Y su sangre ya viene cantando:

cantando por marismas y praderas,

resbalando por cuernos ateridos,

vacilando sin alma por la niebla,

tropezando con miles de pezuñas

como una larga, oscura, triste lengua,

para formar un charco de agonía

junto al Guadalquivir de las estrellas.

¡Oh blanco muro de España!

¡Oh negro toro de pena!

¡Oh sangre dura de Ignacio!

¡Oh ruiseñor de sus venas!

No.

¡Que no quiero verla!

Que no hay cáliz que la contenga,

que no hay golondrinas que se la beban,

no hay escarcha de luz que la enfríe,

no hay canto ni diluvio de azucenas,

no hay cristal que la cubra de plata.

No.

¡¡Yo no quiero verla!!

English
THE BLOOD SHED

I don’t want to see it!

Tell the moon to come,

that I don’t want to see the blood

of Ignacio on the sand.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The wide moon.

Horse of quiet clouds,

and the grey plaza of sleep

with willow along the barriers.

I don’t want to see it!

I hope that my memory burns.

Alert the jasmine flowers, so small and white.

I said I don’t want to see it!

The cow from the old world

passes his sad tongue over a muzzle covered in the spilled blood pooled on the sand.

And Guisando’s bulls, almost dead and almost stone, mooed as if they were fed up

spending two centuries walking the earth.

No.

I said I don’t want to see it.

Ignacio climbs the stairs with Death on his back.

He sought the sunrise, but sunrise it was not.

He finds his stable silhouette

and the dream disoriented him.

He sought his beautiful body and

found his spilt blood.

Don’t tell me to look at it!

I don’t want to feel that blow,

every passing time with less force;

this flash that illuminates those laying on the ground

and falls over the corduroy and leather of the thirsty crowd.

Who yells for me to show my face?

Don’t tell me to look at the blood

His eyes didn’t close when he saw the horns getting closer,

while the terrible mothers lift their heads.

And through the livestock there was

an air of secret voices that yelled at celestial animals, the overseers of the pale fog.

There was no prince in Seville with who you could compare him,

nor a sword like his sword,

nor a truer heart,

his marvelous strength was like a river of lions,

and his decorated wisdom, like a torso of marble.

Air from Andalusian Rome adorned

his head in gold where his smile was a block of salt and of intelligence.

What a great bullfighter in the ring!

What a good ham from the mountains!

How dull the spikes are!

How hard the spurs are!

How tender the dew!

How dazzling the fair!

How enormous with the small flag of darkness!

But already he sleeps with no end.

Already the moss and the grass open up

the flower that is his skull with sure fingers.

And his blood already comes to me singing;

singing for salt marshes and prairies,

slipping on frozen horns,

flickering without a sould through the fog,

stumbling over thousands of hooves like

a long, black, sad tongue to form a puddle of

agony alongside the river Guadalquivir of the stars.

Oh white wall of Spain!

Oh black bull of pain!

Oh harsh blood of Ignacio!

No.

I don’t want to see it!

There is no chalice that can contain the blood,

there are no swallows that will drink it,

there is no frosted light that’ll make it cold,

there is no song nor flood of white lilies,

there is no goblet that could cover it in silver.

No.

I don’t want to see it.

Ana Arriaga is a sophomore who is majoring in Spanish with a minor in linguistics.​ She enjoys reading Spanish literature and poetry, especially the works of her favorite poet, Federico García Lorca. Ana hopes to one day work as a translator or interpreter.

She writes of the piece, “My father is from the Basque region of Spain. This region of Spain was one of Franco’s big targets during the Spanish Civil War. García Lorca draws inspiration from the war in many of his poems and was a strong voice against Franco.”

Top Ten Free Visual Novels, Huh What?

The vast majority of the time when I bring up visual novels to someone in conversation, they have no idea what I am talking about. On one level, this floors me. On another level, I expect it. Visual Novels have never been particularly main stream, not even in their country of origin: Japan. I suppose I should explain exactly what a visual novel is, for those who don’t already know. I’m sure there are quite a few of you. For all intents are purposes, a visual novel is an interactive fiction game, usually, but not always, supported by anime style character sprites, filtered photograph backgrounds, music, and sound effects. Not all visual novels sport the anime style or all these features. A few on this list don’t even require any interaction, but they are all of the same basic style. Computer games that provide a new and engaging way to share a fictional story adding new mediums of immersion.

For the purposes of this blog post, I have decided to list my ten favorite free visual novels. All of them are easy to get and cost you nothing but time. None of them are illegally translated and distributed. Most of them are, in fact, Original English Language Visual Novels created by, usually, anonymous companies that are linked by a small, but developing community around the program Ren’py.  They have a lot of useful resources for keeping up with the visual novel community. The most useful of which is definitely their blog aggregator: Planet EVN.

Without further ado, let us begin!

1. Katawa Shoujo by Four Leaf Studios

VNkatawashoujo2

http://fuwanovel.org/novels/katawa-shoujo

 

This is by far the most anticipated and well known Original English Visual Novel to date, and the one with the best production values. Surprisingly enough, it started off as a loose project on the /a/ board of the infamous anonymous image board community: 4chan. The loose project grew into a company known as Four Leaf Studios and soon attempted to separate itself from its 4chan roots, for the sake of image. This is one of the most interesting of the list by far. First of all, the art is a step above anything else available for free and even above those English Visual novels that do cost money. The writing, on the other hand is a little inconsistent and not amazing, to say the least. This is, however, what makes it even more interesting! The project had 6 different writers! One for the common route, and one for each of the female cast members. Like most visual novels, this comes with choices which turn it into something akin to a choose-your-own-adventure novel. There are five full storylines complete with good, bad, and sometimes neutral endings (the common route contains the only truly BAD end, but it’s also hilarious, see if you can find it!). Fortunately the internet is absolutely full of walkthroughs and flowcharts to help you navigate the game!

Now enough about the origin. Let’s move on to content. The same Katawa Shoujo is Japanese, meaning, literally, Crippled Girls. I know, that’s a turn off right there, but stay with me here! You step into the shoes of the main character and learn that you, he, has a heart arrhythmia and can no longer return to his old life. He may need constant medical attention and advice, so he is sent to a boarding school for those with disabilities. There, he meets a varied cast of characters: his hall mate and crazed anti-feminist Kenji, the blind and elegant Lilly, the shy, burned Hanako, the head-strong, deaf-mute Shizune, the rambunctious legless track star Emi, and the scatter-brain, artist with no arms Rin.

As he gets used to life at this school, he has to struggle with how to approach his own newfound disabilities and the others that now constantly surround him. The game doesn’t get particularly preachy, but it is not at all insensitive about the subject, as the title might otherwise indicate. They handle the subject very well while not losing itself in the issue. This game is first and foremost a romance story and contains explicit sexual content, which is common among the original Japanese visual novel and a factor in their lack of mainstream appeal. Fortunately, for those with fainter sensibilities, there is an option to disable adult content. I would recommend against it as the sex scenes actually do have storyline significance and I feel that the censorship damages the integrity of the work, but the option is there.

2. Narcissu by stage-nana, translated by insani 

VNnarcissu

http://narcissu.insani.org/down.html

Narcissu is an interesting issue in this group. It was a freeware project by stage-nana of Japan and translated into English by a group called insani during their annual al|together translation conference that has, since 2008, unfortunately disappeared. This kind of visual novel is sometimes called a sound novel because it takes a more minimalist approach to visuals by removing character sprites and only providing a meager background in order to focus on the audio and text.

Even more interesting is that there are two separate translations of the text available in the same program. One is takes into account the Japanese voice acting that was original provided and the other works with the unvoiced versions. The two translations end up reading quite differently at times, but both translators agree that the other is equally true to the original Japanese. It’s incredibly interesting to compare both. You come away with a much clearer understanding of the story. It is also known as a kinetic novel, since the storyline is static and there are no choices that affect the outcome.

You begin in a hospital dying of a terminal illness with only a short time to live. There, you meet a woman in a similar situation. Both characters work through the issue of death and its inevitability and the unfairness of their situations in different and surprisingly similar ways and bond in a way they would never have in any other situation.

3. True Remembrance by Shiba Satomi, translated by insani

VNtrueremembrance

https://thestateofhappiness.wordpress.com/2008/11/28/true-remembrance/true-remembrance-3/

This is another freeware kinetic novel translated into English by insani during an al|together conference. This is different from Narcissu in many ways, but similar in that there are no choices available and only a single story. It does contain much more complete backgrounds and character sprites, but no voice acting.

Unlike the previous two, this story takes places in a fantastical world that has been inflicted with a plague known as The Dolor. It is much akin to what we know as clinical depression. In this world, however, The Dolor is treated by fantastical doctors known as Mnemonicides. They determine what memories are causing the symptoms and literally rip them out of your head. This the story of a particularly impressive Mnemonicide and how he interacts with the girl La as he treats patients and how and why they live together in their little closed off town.

4. Homeward by Samu-kun 

VNhomeward

http://homeward.renai.us/

The amazing thing about this visual novel is that it is a one-man job. A single person created this entire visual novel on his own with only the help of the Ren’Py program and beta testers along the way. As a slightly autobiographical piece, I can see why Samu-kun took on the burden of it himself, but the feat is just enormous for a work of this magnitude if you know anything about visual novel development.

You are the son of a military family who has been moved around his whole life and never really fit in anywhere, finally returning to the town where he spent the most time in his childhood. He is reunited with his childhood friend Nonami and his younger sister who he never knew before Sora, and even makes a new friend in Haruka along the way. He struggles with his loneliness and difficulty becoming truly attached to anyone.

This, like Katawa Shoujo in particular, is a romance story and contains some explicit and sometimes problematic content. For instance, one of the romantic options is his sister, turning it into an incest narrative. However, there is an All-Ages version available without explicit content and you can easily avoid the incest storyline if you so wish. Again, I would recommend against both of these options. The all-ages version effective turns this into a kinetic novel, as only the Nonami Arc is available, and the incest narrative is worth experiencing, in my opinion.

5. don’t take it personally babe, it just ain’t your story by Christina Love 

VNdonttakeitpersonally

http://scoutshonour.com/donttakeitpersonallybabeitjustaintyourstory/

Christina Love is one of the most ambitious visual novel authors to enter the field. This visual novel is actually the spiritual sequel to another of the more unique visual novels further down on the list, also by Christina. The production values are quite a bit lower than many of the others one this list, but I think this work still warrants a spot on this list. Instead of going with the usual text and choices, Christina elects to follow a more unique approach to the art of storytelling in this medium.

The school you teach at as the main character is set an undetermined amount of time in the future where a social network has become integral to school social life so much so that teachers have administrative access with full freedom of information. Basically, you spy on your students throughout the novel and use that information to make your choices along the way. Another reason why this title makes the list is its subject matter. Not only is it about the consequences of complete freedom of information, but also about LGBT politics and the responsibilities of a teacher to his students. One of the endings kind of fails to really bring this story to its full potential, but the journey to that ending is still quite valuable.

6. [text] – A Summer Story by Sakevisual 

VNtext

http://www.sakevisual.com/summerstory.html

[text] is a member of the prolific Sakevisual’s Green Tea line of free visual novels that are supported by their paid products which are quite superb, though they suffer from the unfortunate shortness of all their titles. This story in particular is incredibly short, only barely taking 15 minutes to reach an ending. However, with 7 different endings, that makes it almost 2 hours’ worth of content.

[text] is a sound novel quite unlike Narcissu in that it’s English language in origin and provides much clearer backgrounds and the cellphone mechanic seems to take a note from don’t take it personally babe. You are a girl going on her summer break to visit a relative. She gets mysterious texts from a boy who apparently knows her uncle and a set of mysterious events ensues. [text] proves to be rather unique and an entertaining experience for those who enjoy psychological mysteries and fans of visual novels in general and very quick for those with no much time!

7. Ristorante Amore by Cyanide Tea 

VNRistorante

http://risamo.cyanide-tea.net/

I’m not the biggest fan of Cyanide Tea, but they have contributed quite a bit to the visual novel community, especially with this title. This is an excellent example of how you can take an overused, cliché trope and turn it completely on its head. It is a slice of life story and science fiction at the same time, which is pretty cool.

The game starts off as a traditional otome game (visual novel for a female audience), with a klutzy protagonist that is easily to self-project on and a cast of attractive male characters that sweep her off her feet. Not long into the story, the entire work turns itself on its head and you’re left wondering “What the hell just happened?”

I suggest reading it if only for that moment.

8. Memo by Doomfest

VNmemo

http://projetsaya.fr/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/startup.png

Memo is like Homeward in that it was small team job with decent production values and a main character that moved around a lot growing up who returns to a city in which he used to live. Contrarily, Memo is a bit shorter and explores the idea of memories in greater depth.

The creator, Doomfest, is an incredible artist who used to be a part of the Dischan team, which produced Juniper’s Knot, further down the list, but left for personal reasons and left a great void in his wake. This is one of his earlier works with the Ren’Py program and his art isn’t quite up to its current standards, but it is still nice to look at and the story isn’t bad.

9. Juniper’s Knot by Dischan 

VNJunipersKnot

https://tindabox.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Junipers-Knot-2012-05-02-19-53-00-55.jpg

Dischan is one of the lesser known creator of English visual novels, but their art and music is among the best in the community. This is one of their few works, one of two which are free! It is a kinetic novel with a no choices and a single storyline and set in a fantasy world.

The story is told from two different perspective, first you see out of the eyes of a boy who has become lost in a seemingly post-apocalyptic landscape. He meets a demon, trapped by a magical force. The perspective shifts later to this demon as she tries to convince the boy to release her.

10. Digital: A Love Story by Christina Love 

VNdigital

http://scoutshonour.com/digital/

This last example is another work by Christina Love, the inspiration for don’t take it personally babe. The two works are actually extremely different and Digital has lost much of its resemblance to any other visual novel I’ve ever read. It works more like a game with a lot of text.

I know that a lot of the people reading this will probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but hearken back to the early days of the internet where BBS message boards were everything and we did not have many of the graphical conveniences we now take for granted. The storyline of this sound novel takes place entirely in e-mails and on the message boards. Getting through the game is actually a little difficult, so don’t be afraid to search up a walkthrough to help you out!

It’s a very long game, but I’d recommend it to more to anyone who has a lot of experience with puzzle games and computer games in general.

We have come to the end of my little top ten list and I hope that your interest has been piqued! Visual Novels are one of my absolute favorite ways to read and can create an almost seamless experience of immersion unlike anything else I’ve experienced. As the medium is still growing in America (and these examples are all free projects), please do not expect the most amazing writing you’ve ever seen, but I expect you’ll be surprised at how much these things can pull you in. It’s a truly unique experience in reading.

Focail Sneachta — Words of Snow

Our 2013 print issue of the LRR included a Foreign Literatures section. We purposefully published these pieces—two in Irish (Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh’s piece, “Grá Fómhair”; Alex Fogarty’s poem “Focail Sneachta”) and one in Spanish (Mikel Lorenzo Arza’s “Deola”) —in their native languages with no accompanying translations in order to assert our belief that our increasingly polycultural world requires a knowledge of various languages. We wanted our readers to struggle a bit. We wanted readers to appreciate the beauty of the written words in the original languages, even if they could not understand the literal meaning, to try to translate the pieces on their own, and to realize that all translations are separate works of art that serve as approximations of the originals.

However, for those readers who nevertheless love literal meaning (myself included), we are providing the English translation of Alex’s “Focail Sneachta” below (a translation of Lisa’s piece was posted on November 17th and a translation of Mikel’s piece was posted on December 27th). The original versions of all three foreign literature pieces can of course be found in the 2013 print issue of Long River Review and copies are still available for sale at a small price at the UConn Co-Op.

Alex 1

About the author: Alex Fogarty is an English major who specializes in Irish literature and the Irish language. He used to be computer science major and somehow ended up with more work after the switch to English. He also won first place at the Sterling Count Fair Butter Dance when he was eight.

 

 

 

Photo for Focail Sneachta Post

 

Focail Sneachta

Amharcaim mo shaol bán

agus tá sé poncaithe le dearaí dorcha.

Tá an áit beag seo fuar agus glan

agus ’sí mó thearmann í.

Mar bhuail an stoirm faoi bhallaí an tsolais.

Feicim an reacht nuair a amharcaim amach,

Is féidir leis an domhan a ghlanadh orm go dtí a dhath.

 

Words of Snow

I lean over a white landscape,

Dotted with my dark creations.

This small world, cold and clean,

As the storm rages outside,

Becomes my harbor,

Crafted from light.

As I turn from my light,

I see the chaos brewing outside,

Threatening to cover my world and wipe it clean.