Books | ‘Global Game’ anthology en route from University of Nebraska Press

The literary anthology runs the gamut of genres: poetry, short fiction, epistle, diary, journalism, testimony, chant and blog. See the University of Nebraska Press catalog for a full list of contributors.

The Global Game: Writers on Soccer is scheduled for November release—the product of some three years of compiling, winnowing and permissions seeking by myself and editors Thom Satterlee and Alon Raab, along with strong support and belief from the University of Nebraska Press in Lincoln and heroic efforts from a network of translators, working in Spanish, French, Italian, Danish, Portuguese and Slovenian.

The 352-page collection—with editorial notes and bibliographical essay—consists of 56 entries, 34 in translation. Additional languages of origin are German, Czech, Russian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hebrew, Farsi, Japanese and classical Chinese.

Some of the highlights for me are:

  • Two literary angles on Zinédine Zidane: (1) a first translation into English (by Miranda Stramel) of Spanish novelist Javier Marías‘s rendering for El País of Zidane’s balletic 2002 Champions League–winning goal (“Fallen from the Sky”) and (2) another first translation (by Anna Kushner) of the peroration to Swiss writer Philippe Dubath‘s epistolary novel Zidane et moi: Lettre d’un footballeur à sa femme (“Zidane and Me”; see 27 Apr 06).
  • Satterlee, author of the poetry collection Burning Wyclif, adds a new poem (“Why Does My Wife Love Peter Crouch?”) and a new translation from the Danish collection Fodbold! Forfattere om fænomenet Fodbold (“The Orb” by Klaus Rifbjerg).
  • To my knowledge, for the first time in English we present the full poetic series by Umberto Saba, “Cinque poesie per il gioco del calcio” (Five Poems for the Game of Football), in a translation by Geoffrey Brock.
  • Social anthropologist Mark Nuttall offers an original essay on the place of football in Inuit cosmology and on the ball-playing traditions in the frigid hinterlands of the North (“Arsarnerit: Inuit and the Heavenly Game of Football”).
  • Former U.S. poet laureate Charles Simic generously grants us first publication in English of an essay recalling childhood memories of listening, from Belgrade, to the 1950 World Cup finals (“Dead Radio”).

From the University of Nebraska Press catalog:

The writings gathered in this volume reflect the universal and infinitely varied ways in which soccer connects with human experience. Poetry and prose from Ted Hughes, Charles Simic, Eduardo Galeano, Günter Grass, Giovanna Pollarolo, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Elvis Costello—to name but a few—take us to a dizzying array of cultures and climes. From a patch of ground in Missoula, Montana, to a clearing in a Kosovo forest, from the stadiums of Burma and Iran to the northern lights over Greenland to remotest Sierra Leone, these writers show us soccer’s stars and fans, politics and rituals, as well as the game’s power to encourage resistance, inspire faith, and build community.

Look for a complementary website to be available in the fall.

John Turnbull, Thom Satterlee, and Alon Raab, eds. The Global Game: Writers on Soccer. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming (Nov 08). 352 pp. (6 x 9). ISBN 978-0-8032-1078-3. $19.95 paper. $21.95 Canadian/£11.99 UK.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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