Zone was founded in the dead of Austral winter in a small apartment in Buenos Aires four years ago this month. Its purpose was and remains to create a magazine of poems and short fiction freed from the geographic, economic and linguistic politics that tarnish so much of today's literary syndicates. Zone's founders believe that writers have always crossed borders, whether as immigrants or explorers, for the wild and the uncontained, and that a true servant of poetry helps poems and poets across the divide.
To that end, Zone has always been committed to bringing together writers from a plurality of backgrounds, locations, and languages. The magazine sees itself as a focal point that is no where, a utopian common open to all. Operating on a threadbare budget, with a staff of volunteers operating according to the logic of the cooperative, Zone has published in its first four years 68 poets and writers from nearly 30 countries.
Our New Russian Poetry feature which ran in December 2006 published some of the first English and Spanish translations of Danila Davydov, Julia Idlis and Viktor Ivaniv to appear outside of Russia. Translator and poet Peter Golub, who came to Buenos Aires to unveil his translations of these great contemporary poets, has in the intervening years been widely published to critical and academic acclaim. The extraordinary Australian magazine Jacket commissioned him to edit a special New Russian Poetry feature; he has been accepted to Columbia University's PhD program in Slavic Studies; and his translation of a collection of short fiction by Linor Goralik was awarded a grant from the PEN Translation Fund three weeks ago.
In June 2008, Zone published the first chapter of the then-unpublished English translation of Indian writer Sarojini Sahoo's controversial novel, Gambhiri Ghara (The Dark Abode). The novel was a bestseller in Bangladesh and sparked controversy across India for its explicit treatment of sexual, religious and political themes. Through the story of an adulterous affair between a Hindu house-wife from India and a Muslim painter from Pakistan, Gambhiri Ghara examines the roll of women in contemporary India. Written in Oriya, Gambhiri Ghara has been translated and published in Bengali, Malayalam and English. Mahendra Kumar Dash's English translation, titled The Dark Abode, was published later that year by Indian AGE Communications.
The following April, poems by George Moore forming part of an installation with award-winning Icelandic textile artist Hrafnhildur Sigurðardóttir appeared for the first time in Zone. Sigurðardóttir, whose work has been exhibited internationally, and Moore, whose poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, Nimrod and other magazines, collaborated across media to create a site specific installation in the Nes galleries, in Skagaströnd, on Iceland's north coast.
Golub, Sahoo and Moore are only three of the 68 poets, writers and translators who have appeared in our pages during our first four years. Zone maintains a complete archive of everything we have published since our inception. If you browse through our archives you will find a wealth of interesting, new, brushed-off, under appreciated and later lauded work from the 8th through 21st centuries, in languages as diverse as Chinese and Catalan, written in countries, and cultures, as far afield from one another as Nigeria, Siberia, Colorado and The Philippians, some original, some in translation, all of it free, and all of it worth while.
To celebrate our birthday, Zone is featuring a special feature on poet Sundin Richards, whose book of poems The Hurricane Lamp is due out from ONLS Press later this year. A double-length selection of Richard's poetry and an interview will be appearing shortly.
A final word of thanks to our readers, contributors, volunteers, fans and followers: without you Zone would be unable to continue. Thank you for your attention.