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George Henson, Ph.D.
November 18 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Join us and Tulsa Artist Fellowship on Saturday, November 18th at 1:30pm in our Algonquin Room for what will be a fascinating conversation over Taming the Divine Heron with Literary Translator George B. Henson, Ph.D. and Boris Dralyuk. This event is free and open to the public.
From the famous Mexican author, Sergio Pitol, comes his 1988 classic translated by George Henson. Taming the Divine Heron tells the semi-autobiographical story of a novelist working on his newest masterpiece. The protagonist struggles to tell the perfect story—his own imagined protagonists are mere imitations of the likes of Lord Jim and Alyosha Karamavoz. To help eradicate writer’s block, Pitol uses his vessel to praise his own favorite authors. Pitol applauds Bakhtin’s world building, Gogol’s “carnivalesque [literary] breath,” and Dante’s dizzying intensity. The character finds a muse in Marietta Karapetiz, whom he aptly dubs Dante C. de la Estrella, and the two debate the literary greats.
As the pair attempts to pull from the techniques of the world’s best writers, Pitol creates a love letter to literature from around the globe while simultaneously telling his own magical story. To quote Pitol’s protagonist, “the quality of the story, its effects, its brilliance, its intensity, ma[k]e the most absurd circumstances plausible.” Taming The Divine Heron, second in a trilogy including already-published The Love Parade (Deep Vellum, 2022), houses history, hyperrealism, myth, folklore, and memoir; to read Pitol is to appreciate the power of language.
George Henson is the translator of six books by Cervantes laureate Sergio Pitol, as well as works by fellow Cervantes laureate Elena Poniatowska, Luis Jorge Boone, and Alberto Chimal. His translation of Abel Posse’s memoir A Long Day in Venice was longlisted recently for the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute’s Translation Prize. His work has appeared variously in Words Without Borders, Latin American Literature Today, World Literature Today, Granta, Two Lines, and The New England Review. He currently teaches creative writing at the University of Tulsa and is a 2021–2023 Tulsa Artist Fellow.
Boris Dralyuk is the author of My Hollywood and Other Poems (Paul Dry Books, 2022) and the translator of works by Isaac Babel, Andrey Kurkov, Maxim Osipov, and other authors. His poems, translations, and criticism have appeared in the NYRB, the TLS, The New Yorker, and elsewhere, and he is the recipient, most recently, of the 2022 Gregg Barrios Translation Prize from the National Book Critics Circle. Formerly editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, he is currently an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Tulsa.