Last week I had a wonderful time attending the book launch of Echo in the Park, one of the first few books that has been published by Eulalia Books. “Eulalia Books is an independent publisher of literary translations with a particular interest in contemporary poetry and hybrid-genre works” (Eulaliabooks.com). It is affiliated with Saint Vincent College and allows students to work alongside the publisher to see how books are translated, published and distributed. After learning all about Small Press Publishers this fall, I was interested to see how it all comes together at this event.
I had never been to a book launch before and I was excited to see what this experience would be like. To begin, it was a very intimate and relaxed gathering, held in one of the smaller rooms of the Fred Rogers Center. I felt like I was catching up with old friends and sharing storeis instead of attending a book launch, I loved the warm and inviting feeling.
After getting some refreshments and hearing some introductions, the event began with a reading from Echo of the Park by the translator, Jeannie Marie Pitas. It was beautiful to hear her first read the poetry in Spanish and then the English translation. After a short reading, she answered questions from the moderator, Professor Gil-Montero, the brilliant mind behind Eulalia books and a professor at Saint Vincent College, as well as audience questions. Following the Q&A, she read a longer excerpt from her book and then finished off the night with a book sale.
For me, the most interesting part was hearing how closely the translator works with the publisher and the other people involved with the creation of the book when comes times for publishing. Pitas shared how she often would talk to the writer themselves when translating and the difference when translating a work by someone who is alive or deceased. Another point I thought was interesting was how she worked so closely with Professor Gil-Montero on translating certain words, even if the meanings were not the same, the sounds were and that was important for the rhythm of the poem. I also found the team aspect of small press publishing to be relatable to this class. Whether it was through the movie, trip to Meshworks or the Zine collection, the idea of community kept coming up and tonight that same sentiment was echoed yet again. Everyone in the small press community comes together and leans on each other when they are working on publishing a book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book launch and I loved seeing a small press publisher in action especially after everything we learned this year so far. It truly is a team effort and I am looking forward to seeing what our team can pull off as the semester carries on.