Translation at the AWP

For those intrepid souls who will be traveling to attend the 2011 Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference in Washington D.C. tomorrow despite all the winter weather, here’s a helpful summary of the translation-themed panels and events, compiled by the staff of Literary Translation at Columbia. Such a great line-up. Enjoy, and don’t forget to tell me how it was!

Thursday
R155. Curating Literature: Five Editors of Literary Anthologies Discuss their Process. (Ravi Shankar, Cole Swensen, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Jeffrey Thomson, Jen Hofer) Anthologizing, derived from the Greek word for flower-gathering, has become a verb of great import in literary communities. Whether in an attempt to create a canon, to shape a pedagogical tool, or to form a compendium that preserves something essential while opening new space for critical inquiry, the reasons behind anthologizing are manifold. Join five editors of important anthologies, from the international in scope to ones that include audio and translation, as they discuss their processes. 12:00-1:15 pm
Virginia A Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level

R171. Rebuilding Babel: Writers Teaching Translation. (Carrie Messenger, James Shea, Monica Mody, Johannes Göransson)This panel will examine how writers teach translation: both the art of translation and texts in translation. What is the translator’s responsibility to the original text? To what extent should the study of a translated text focus on the fact of its translation? What might such engagements with foreign languages and literature teach us? This panel will explore these questions and the mechanics of teaching translation and texts in translation, including the use of trots for poetry and prose, working with multiple languages in the classroom, and the evaluation of student work. 1:30-2:45 pm
Nathan Hale Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level

R181. A Tribute to Marilyn Hacker. (David Groff, Annie Finch, Suzanne Gardinier, Marilyn Hacker, Khaled Mattawa, Alicia Ostriker) As poet, translator, activist, editor, teacher, and mentor, Marilyn Hacker has proved herself a profound and enduring presence in contemporary poetry, letters, and public life in America and internationally. In this celebration of her poems, her translations, her activism, her advocacy for global literature, and her efforts to foster the verse and values of several generations of writers, her colleagues explore the power and influence of her work—after which the poet herself will read. 1:30-2:45 pm
Ambassador Ballroom
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

R220. Spanish American Poetry in Translation: from Post-Avant-garde to Postmodernism. (Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Forrest Gander, Katherine Hedeen, Gary Racz, Michelle Gil-Montero) In Spanish America, the terms Avant-garde and Modernism connote approaches to poetry remarkably distinct from what those terms generally mean to North Americans. And yet these approaches define the major literary works of a continent. This panel highlights the shift from Post-Avant-garde to Postmodernism, celebrating the last 60 years of Spanish American poetry and introducing some of the region’s best poets, read and commented on by their translators. 4:30-5:45 pm
Thurgood Marshall West Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level

Friday
F120. Doubled Voice: Poems and Translations. (Kristin Dykstra, Lila Zemborain, Mariela Méndez, Daniel Coudriet, Eduardo Espina) This reading features short bilingual presentations by two teams: poets speaking alongside the translators who have recently created new versions of their writing. Poetry translation plays a special role in the history of literary translation: it is regularly described as the most difficult, even explicitly “impossible” form of translation. Our presenters have been engaged in recent projects in spite of this characterization (or because of it) and will share the results and challenges of their collaborations. 9:00-10:15 am
Palladian Ballroom
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

F127. The Experimental and the International. (Hilary Plum, Karen Emmerich, Scott Esposito, Steve Dolph, Anna Moschovakis, Jill Schoolman) This panel considers why literature in translation is often described as experimental: What issues arise as foreign literary traditions enter the U.S. milieu? How does the phenomenon of literature in translation shed light on American conceptions of experimental vs. mainstream? What can happen when highly language-focused (thus experimental?) work moves between languages? A discussion among translators, writers, and book & magazine editors and publishers in the field of international literature. 10:30-11:45 am
Nathan Hale Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level

F206. Paul Celan in Translation. (Stanley Moss, John Felstiner, Norman Manea, Ian Fairley, Susan H. Gillespie) Paul Celan, whom George Steiner has called almost certainly the major European poet of the period after 1945, created a significant body of work that has long resisted easy translation. This panel of preeminent Celan translators, writers, and scholars will read from and discuss the poetry and translation of the greatest German language poet since Rilke.3:00-4:15 pm
Hampton Ballroom
Omni Shoreham Hotel, East Lobby

Saturday
S109. Innovations, Migrations, and Translations: Contemporary Poetry in Tokyo. (Judy Halebsky, Kyong Mi Park, Yuka Tsukagoshi, Sawako Nakayasu, Holly Thompson, Mariko Nagai) Hear voices of innovation from the Tokyo poetry scene. This reading presents poetry, collaborations, and translations, from Tokyo based poets: Sawako Nakayasu, Kyong Mi Park, YU.K.a TsU.K.agoshi, Holly Thompson, Mariko Nagai, and Judy Halebsky. In different ways, these poets connect poetry in Japan with writers and readers transnationally. The reading is intended for an English speaking audience and includes two-voice bilingual poems and short readings in Japanese followed by English language translations. 9:00-10:15 am
Thurgood Marshall East Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level

S110. In the Interest of Language: The Poet as Translator. (Olivia Sears, Wayne Miller, Valzhyna Mort, Idra Novey, Sidney Wade) To translate, one must engage with the original language, but also fully inhabit and interpret the mood, culture, and the voice of the writer. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that translation is the closest of close readings, and that such attention to the nuances of each word gives a poet new insight into the intricacies of language. The Center for the Art of Translation invites four premier poet/translators to explore how translation has informed their relationship with their own words. 9:00-10:15 am
Thurgood Marshall North Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level

S119. A Zephyr Press Poetry Reading with Bakhyt Kenjeev and Ouyang Jianghe. (Leora Zeitlin, Bakhyt Kenjeev, Jianghe Ouyang, J. Kates, Austin Woerner) To commemorate our 30th anniversary, Zephyr Press presents one of Russia’s foremost poets, and one of China’s, in a trilingual reading that will allow the audience to hear a broad sampling of their work. Kazakh-born Kenjeev has published twelve books; Ouyang is the author of numerous books and belongs to the group called Five Masters from Sichuan. Their literary translators will read the English versions, and briefly discuss the challenges of rendering the poems from Russian and Chinese. 9:00-10:15 am
Empire Ballroom
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

S141. Translation/Trans-Latino: Writing Across the Borders.(Daniel Borzutzky, Mónica de la Torre, Valerie Martinez, Urayoán Noel, Lila Zemborain) For many reasons, it has become common to place Spanish-language writing from Latin America in a separate category from English-language U.S. Latino writing. While we recognize the context and importance of this split, this panel seeks to start a new dialogue about writers who skillfully navigate both categories. In the process, we will discuss how a multi-lingual, multi-national “Trans-Latino” vision has shaped our writing, translating, editing, and teaching in productive and challenging ways. 10:30-11:45 am
Executive Room
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

S202. Translating Poets Alive. (Mariela Dreyfus, Yusef Komunyakaa, Raúl Zurita, Valerie Mejer, Anna Deeny) This session aims to discuss the advantages and particulars of translating a poet alive. It includes a translation from English into Spanish (Valerie Mejer translating Yusef Koumanyakaa) and another one from Spanish into English (Anna Deeny translating Raúl Zurita). Topics covered include author’s input in translating his own work, literal and literary choices when translating, and bridging North and South through translation. A bilingual poetry reading will follow. 3:00-4:15 pm
Empire Ballroom
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

S217. In the Clefts of the Rock: Translating Erotic-Religious Poetry. (Sheri Allen, Betty De Shong Meador, Willis Barnstone, Sholeh Wolpé, Hélène Cardona, Tony Barnstone) Sexuality and religion are generally regarded as separate and antagonistic realms in the Anglo-American cultural landscape. But they can be intimately engaged in poetry that emerges from other cultures around the world. What strategies do contemporary translators use to bring about the balance between the spiritual and the sexual in religious-erotic poetry? We will hear and discuss recent English-language translations from an eclectic range of poetries, from ancient Sumer to modern Iran. 4:30-545 pm
Virginia C Room
Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level

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