Asymptote: Teaching Global Literature in Diverse Classrooms

Asymptote is the best. The journal publishes literature from around the world (96 countries and counting), in original language and translation, and offers us a way not only to read but also to view and listen. In terms of literacy and literature, it’s thoroughly and admirably 21st century.

Now Asymptote has added an education feature. High-school and higher-ed teachers will find resources to bring Asymptote literature to students. Lessons, discussion questions, writing prompts, all rooted in the current issue. The mission: “The world is a gloriously diverse place. We want students to experience its literary, linguistic and cultural wealth to the fullest extent possible.”

On Khairani Barokka’s “Anathema,” for example, Asymptote suggests asking students what happens to a spoken-word poem when it is written down. Then, “How much of the creative labor of this kind of poetry is done by the author, and how much is done by the performer?” Discussions include background of the author, context of the work, linguistics … but also universal questions on art, literacy, story, and the making of meaning.

If you’re an educator, a writer of—or interested in—translation, or a willing consumer of global literature, go find Asymptote.