Friday, February 01, 2008

Ktonk! Adgno!

The New York Times Review of Books has had its first incarnation in another language! Any guesses which one? Romanian. No matter that its spoken by only about 25 million people. Don't be fooled by the scanty numbers or stereotypes of Eastern European exoticism. Critic A.O. Scott writes: "Romania is one of those countries where it seems that every literate person has written a novel, a book of essays, or at least a play." The NYT's Paper Cuts blog has more.

Also, Dan at The Wooden Spoon found a nice little piece on contemporary Russian poetry by Stephen Burt at The Poetry Foundation. Burt starts the piece by professing bemusement:

"The classroom next to my office has been booming all morning in Russian, a language I don't speak at all: I recognize it when the students respond to the teacher, in unison, by shouting "Spasibo!" though the other frequent shoutouts wouldn't be phonologically possible in any of the (too few) languages I read: one of them sounds like "Ktonk!" and the other like "Adgno!""

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