Plamen is the universal Slavic word for flame.
“A line is a fuse that’s lit. The line smolders, the rhyme explodes— and by a stanza a city is blown to bits.”
– Vladimir Mayakovski
Our goal as a small press is to take advantage of new developments in publishing to increase the volume of quality English translations of poetry and prose originating from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern regions of Europe.
The book publishing industry has undergone defining changes in the past few years. The introduction of e-books and print-on-demand has significantly altered the process of delivering literature to the general public. Thanks to these new publishing modalities, it is no longer essential for publishers to take great financial risks stemming from the need to publish multiple copies of a book ahead of time and store them in warehouses.
A great deal of world literature has been neglected by traditional publishing companies due to these economic risks, though many of the works they passed over were of considerable literary merit. Thus, many books that have long been appreciated in their languages of origin have never been introduced to the English-speaking world.This is where we come in! Through our network of fine literary translators and editors, we are establishing a platform where writers and poets from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe can showcase their work, both on paper and electronically. At the same time, we will bend our efforts toward efficient and far-reaching promotion to bring this literature to English readers.
There is a plethora of poetry and prose unfamiliar to the English-speaking world, by writers and poets from the former Soviet Republics, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and all the way to the Balkans. These regions, immersed in clashes of philosophies, religions, political and national identities, sexuality, and traditions, bring a unique perspective to the modern reader who seeks a richer global understanding.Our primary focus is on the artistry of literary translation, which we believe is just as significant to our publishing process as the creation of the original literary work. We strive to give credit where credit is due: without the linguistic facility and talent of our translators, an original work could never reach out to the English reader.
Recognizing that there is a long tradition in the art of literary translations from English into the languages of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, we seek to reciprocate with our own high quality translations, and would like to follow in the footsteps of such masters as Otakar Fischer, who translated Villion’s Ballads into Czech, and Gane Todorovski, who brought us the Macedonian translation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” These are artistic renditions that do justice to the originals and also stand on their own as literary works.As publishers, our role in this endeavor is to use every means available to reanimate these literary works for our readers, who ultimately decide whether a book is worthy of their time and attention. We look forward to igniting the flame of this shared cultural experience, and passing it along from one torch to another–from one world to another.