The past year has given me many reasons for gratitude and hope in various areas of my life in literature and literary translation. Other events I’m pleased to share word of include:

– Taking part in publishing issue 33 of Apraksin Blues, including both Russian and English-speaking authors. Familiar authors got even better, and new ones came through perfectly. We celebrated the latest issue’s release in St. Petersburg. While there, we also organized three philosophy seminars on the topic of time, beginning a cycle that may continue. And we were glad to host the literary seminar Modeling Historical Processes. Thank you, friends of AB!

– The award of the Babel Prize for Literature by Mundus Artium Press to my mentor Tatyana Apraksina, an author whom I’m lucky enough to translate. The publisher also appointed me as an associate editor for Mundus Artium: A Journal of International Letters and the Arts. I supported the publication of the first issue of the second series of the magazine, which was previously published from 1967 to 1986. The issue includes my article about Mike Naumenko’s song “Sweet N,” as well as my reviews of books by Rosalba Fantastico di Kastron (Italy) and Kooseul Kim (South Korea). The issue also features an article by Apraksina about music, as well as poetry by my longtime friend from Bosnia, Emira Tufo (whose war memoirs are soon to appear in The Iowa Review). In 2023, I also served as literary editor for books by three more Mundus Artium authors: Khosiat Rustam (Uzbekistan), Angela De Leo (Italy) and Rita Dee (India; this one, including my introduction, is forthcoming in 2024).

– Being named translation editor for the philosophical and cultural almanac Paradigma (St. Petersburg), along with articles in its summer and winter issues: an English-language version of an article about my apparent distant relatives Jacob and Roman Bruce, associates of Peter the Great, as well as a Russian-language version of reflections on aspects of my experience translating Tatyana Apraksina’s book Lessons for Orly.

– Presenting papers at two conferences of the International Association of Historical Psychology and at the conference of the Russian Association of Teachers of English Literature, and publication of all the related articles: on Mundus Artium Press, on reading Jules Verne’s novel Michael Strogoff, and on translating Lessons for ‘Orly. Here, here and here are those papers in Russian; may chances for English publication follow.

– Participation in the organizing committee of the conference “Metaphysics of Music” (St. Petersburg, Vaganova Academy of the Russian Ballet), along with presenting a conference paper on music translation.

– Collaboration with Tatyana Apraksina and Igor Petrovsky to prepare translations of Mike Naumenko for Mike’s collected works, forthcoming in a new edition from the AST publishing house in Moscow.

–’s publication of my memoirs of friendship with the poet Bill Yake. My thanks to publisher Richard Whittaker, Bill’s widow Jeannette Barecca, and friends Greg Darms, Nancy Cherry, and Devon Vose. Bill left us on 12/12/2022, and his memory became a big theme of the past year. Part of his literary archive is now housed by Apraksin Blues. Bill’s charming “Car Stories” can be read in AB No. 33.

– I wrote new songs in 2023 but haven’t yet done much new recording. Two exceptions: “Song for the Battle of Petersburg”; and “Made to Like Butter.”

– The main settings for all this were, in California, the AB Campus and Tatyana Apraksina’s Studio, and in St. Petersburg, the AB editorial office on Apraksin Lane. Here’s hoping that the same places, among others, will be blessed in the New Year and can become scenes of fresh turns for the bettter.

– And I hope 2024 will also bring many good things your way. Collaboration will be welcome.


With warm best wishes,

James Manteith

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