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Dubravka Oraić Tolić - Croatian Literature Wins Top Translation Prize
By Terra Chapek
Published on 02/23/2007

Dubravka Oraić Tolić goes beyond playing with language and textual contexts. Although reality and notions of home, country, people, nation, and life permeate her poetry, the thematic weight does not rest on the semantic deconstruction of concrete geographical-historical localities...


American Scream: Palindrome Apocalypse

Dubravka Oraić Tolić

Praise for American Scream Palindrome Apocalypse:

"Dubravka Oraić Tolić goes beyond playing with language and textual contexts. Although reality and notions of home, country, people, nation, and life permeate her poetry, the thematic weight does not rest on the semantic deconstruction of concrete geographical-historical localities, but on their empowerment through words, metaphors and symbols as elements of the text and culture."

Dr. Bernarda Katusić, University of Vienna.

Portland, OR, February 2, 2007 - Already widely acclaimed in Croatia, American Scream: Palindrome Apocalypse, by Dubravka Oraić Tolić, has started stacking up the accolades from American scholars, too. The Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) awarded the book's translator, Sibelan Forrester, the Heldt Prize for best translation from a Slavic or Eastern European language to English published in the last two years. Margaret Beissinger, the Vice President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies awarded the prize during the association's annual meeting in November.

"It is an extraordinary book of poetry and prose by the celebrated female Croatian poet, essayist, and literary critic, Dubravka Oraić Tolić, and it is masterfully, creatively, and sensitively translated," said Beissinger, who chaired the prize committee. The AWSS hailed the book as a "significant contribution to the field of women's studies that will surely be adopted in courses treating contemporary feminist issues and cultural studies in the Slavic world."

The book includes two central literary works. "American Scream," an epic of poetry and short prose that explores the meaning of America and the nature of freedom. Accompanying "American Scream" is "Palindrome Apocalypses" - a palindrome that's artful in both technique and story - presented side-by-side with the Croatian original. The volume also contains explanatory essays and commentary that further enlighten the text for the English-speaking world. The complex work presented a daunting challenge for the translator, but "Professor Forrester more than lives up to the task," Beisseinger said. "Her solutions to the authoritative, creative postmodernist style are often themselves notably inventive."

"I am delighted to receive this prize, which recognizes both my work as a translator and Oraic Tolic's importance as a poet, intellectual, and commentator on her own times. The prize is also a tribute to the work of Ooligan Press, which published the book in such a beautifully-designed edition," said Forrester, who is an associate professor of Russian at Swarthmore College.
Ooligan Press published American Scream: Palindrome Apocalypse in partnership with the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The book was the third of three Croatian titles in the Press's concerted effort to bring the works of Croatian writers to a wider audience. The other titles are: Zagreb, Exit South by Edo Popović, and The Survival League by Gordan Nuhanović.

The book can be purchased this way:

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Croatian Literature Wins Top Translation Prize

Product Details


Translator: Busic, Julienne Eden
Publisher: Ooligan Press
Author: Oraic-Tolic, Durbravka
Translator: Busic, Julienne Eden
Subject: General
Subject: Multicultural Education
Publication Date: November 2005
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
Illustrations: Y
Pages: 227
Dimensions: 8.98x6.10x.59 in. .86 lbs.


What is America? For renowned Croatian poet Dubravka Oraic Tolic, it is "what is born from our dreams without our knowing." As Columbus' dream of reaching India was interrupted by the discovery of a new land, we too discover unexpected lands in pursuit of our dreams. These new lands are the reality of our hopeful voyages. "American Scream" explores the tension between a nation's dream of freedom and the outworking of that dream.

"Palindrome Apocalypse" explores the history of the twentieth century, beginning with the October Revolution of 1917 and ending with the bombing of Zagreb in 1991-a shadow of apocalypse. Here the exceptional poem is presented side-by-side with the Croatian so the reader can appreciate the amazing palindromic verse.

Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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