Translation Panels at AWP 2014

If you’re on your way to Seattle for the writerly ritual of attending the AWP conference and are hoping to catch some great translation events while you’re there, you’re in luck: This year’s program is rich in offerings. There’s even a panel in there with Translationista on it, and lots more where I’ll be sitting in the audience, so do say hello, and enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6R120. Translating the Foreign: What Does It Mean? . (Lisa Katz,  Aron Aji,  Mira Rosenthal,  Andrea Lingenfelter,  Poupeh Missaghi) Translators from Turkish, Chinese, Polish, Persian, and Hebrew attempt to define the foreign element in their source texts as well as how they offer it linguistic hospitality (Paul Ricouer’s words) in their translations into English. What is this thing we call foreign?

10:30 am to 11:45 am

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
R131. Translation and U.S. Spanish-Language Poetry. (Kristin Dykstra,  Tina Escaja,  Mariela Dreyfus,  Eileen Mary O’Connor) Opening with a short reading, this panel will take up questions involving two groups of writers: Spanish-language poets residing in the U.S. and translators. Can translation help to build cultural communities that might not yet exist in reality? How might conditions differ from one place to another? How do poets perceive and seek out translators? What challenges do translators face? How and where can writer/translator teams create bilingual reading opportunities for all?

Room 400, Washington State Convention Center, Level 4
R138. Double Lives: Writer/Translators(Lawrence Schimel, Sholeh Wolpé, Geoffrey Brock, Idra Novey, Susan Harris) Many creative writers are also accomplished translators, and they establish parallel careers; but the two pursuits, and the resulting publications, are rarely considered in tandem. Four writers discuss how translating affects their other creative work, how reimagining another writer’s fiction and poetry in English can influence one’s “own” writing in those genres, and how they move between and within their dual identities.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
R191. Communication is Translation: How the Act of Translating Influences the Act of Poesis. (Iris Mahan, Barbara Carlson, Richard Jackson, Esther Allen, William Pitt Root) George Steiner believes that “all acts of communication are acts of translation.” If this is fact, then why is there so often so little room in the world of translation for creative communication? Through selected readings and lively discussion, this panel of poets, prose writers, and editors will examine the validity of Steiner’s supposition by exploring the effects of traditional translation, imitation, and riff on the “making” and communication of their own bodies of creative work.

Room LL5, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level
R213. Ring of Fire, New Creations: Translation on the Pacific Rim. (Karen An-hwei Lee, Sawako Nakayasu, Srikanth Reddy, Neil Aitken) Contemporary Asian American poets discuss their strategies and experiences in translating poetry from nations of the Pacific Rim, sharing insights on methodology, collaborative process, cross-cultural representations, and experimental forms. Transcending the conventions of fidelity or transparency, the investigations of these poet-translators go beyond the question of what is “lost in translation” to consider the potential of translations as entirely new creations. A respondent will present closing remarks prior to a question and answer session.

Room 302, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
R217. From Borges to the Gnostics: Tribute to the work of Willis Barnstone. (Sholeh Wolpé, Yusef Komunyakaa,  Stanley Moss,  Robert Stewart) For sixty years, Willis Barnstone has been opening up American poetry to the rest of the world through his more than seventy books of poetry, translation, memoir, criticism, and religious scholarship. Winner of numerous awards, mentor to generations of younger writers, Willis Barnstone is a national treasure. The panelists will share 
anecdotes and analyses and read from his work, followed by a reading by Willis Barnstone himself.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
R237. Translation in Creative Writing Programs. (Kaveh Bassiri,  Geoffry Brock,  Sidney Wade,  Susan Briante,  Roger Sedarat) This panel will discuss the growing role of translation in creative writing programs, as well as translation’s place in scholarly studies and American multicultural poetry. Panelists will share their pedagogical experiences and suggest different types of workshop and craft courses. They also will speak about their own work as writers and translators and how translation has helped their writing and teaching of poetry.

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
R238. A Poet in Exile. (Lyn Coffin, Laszlo Slomovits) This event celebrates the work of Mohsen Emadi, an Iranian poet living in exile in Mexico City. Poet and translator Lyn Coffin will introduce and lead a reading of Emadi’s poetry, and musician Laszlo Slomovits will perform original song settings of selected pieces.

Friday, February 28, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Room 3A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3
F111. The New Translation: Writing through Rewriting. (Joe Milutis,  Paul Legault,  Craig Dworkin,  Clark Lunberry) Experimental translation techniques have taken up attitudes toward the nature of the original that complicate or conflict with more dutiful notions of translation. From the carefully oblique to the wildly discrepant, we are interested in techniques of translation that seek to heighten the noise that exists at the fragile moment of cultural transfer. This panel will speak both to the long tradition of these kinds of techniques as well as incarnations potentiated by new media.

Room 615/616/617, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F123. How to Teach Students to Speak “Language for a New Century”. (Nathalie Handal,  Kirpal Singh,  Timothy Liu,  Tina Chang,  Jennifer Kwon Dobbs) W.W. Norton and Co.’s Language for a New Century celebrates its five-year anniversary as a landmark anthology of world literature, and this panel will be geared at looking at how global poetry in translation and this book in particular can be used in the classroom. Want to introduce a student to another culture? Provide them the voice of their poets. Join the editor and three contributors from the anthology reading their work and others, including Tibetan, Pakistani, and Syrian poets.

Room 302, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
F130. The Influence of the International: Four Writers Talk. (Edward Gauvin,  Maaza Mengiste,  Forrest Gander,  Willis Barnstone,  Susan Harris) Many writers limit their reading to other English-language authors and as a result are unfamiliar with other literatures. Four writers talk about how reading international literature, in both the original language and translation, has influenced and shaped their writing. Panelists will discuss various works and writers and their respective literary traditions; consider language, style, narrative conventions, and subjects; and reveal how their reading informs their writing.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
F135. Poets on the Craft of Translation: A Conversation Between New and Established Translators . (Gloria Munoz,  Jay Hopler,  Kimberly Johnson,  John Talbot,  Jennifer Kronovet) This diverse panel of new and established translators focuses on the challenges and advantages of translation in the MFA program and beyond. Panelists address strategies and theories of translation through the following questions: How to understand, maintain, and interpret the poetics of the source language? How is a translation affected by research? How poetic elements such as music, syntax, and rhythm are considered? How to negotiate and learn from the roles of poet and translator?

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
F166. Translation in the University: Where Does It Fit?. (Amalia Gladhart,  Karen McPherson,  Karen Emmerich,  Michelle Crowson,  Edward Gauvin) Frequently considered too “creative” in literature departments or too derivative in creative writing programs, translation has nevertheless begun to occupy a more central place at many universities. This panel will address the complicated yet also fruitful position of literary translators in university settings. Writers, translators, and academics at different career points and working in different traditions discuss how they balance translation with other creative and scholarly pursuits.

Ballroom E, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F178. A Reading and Conversation by Fady Joudah and Ghassan Zaqtan. (John Donatich,  Ghassan Zaqtan,  Fady Joudah,  Mark Doty) A reading by Ghassan Zaqtan, the most important Palestinian poet writing today, and his English-language translator, Fady Joudah, will be followed by a lively discussion (moderated by John Donatich) about poetry under siege, translation, and the importance of Palestinian literature on the world stage. Zaqtan has been a major influence for the last two decades, moving away from the lush aesthetics of his giant predecessors Adonis and Darwish. Joudah will also read some of his work that highlights the natural affinity his poetry has for Zaqtan’s poetry. Mark Doty will introduce the event.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
F200. Once More Unto the Breach: A Multilingual Reading of War-Informed Literature in Translation . (Nancy Naomi Carlson,  John Balaban,  Erica Mena,  Marcela Sulak,  Russell Scott Valentino) Throughout the ages, war has inspired a diverse body of literature from all across the world. This panel, translating from Bosnian, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Vietnamese, will bring to English the human experience of love and loss with a backdrop of war from such landscapes as the deserts of Djibouti to the beaches of Vieques Island, ranging in time from the rebellion leading to the start of the Nguyen Dynasty to the present-day conflict between Palestine and Israel.

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F221. A Celebration of the Life and Work of Kurt Brown. (Wyn Cooper, Steven Huff, Dara Wier, M.L. Williams, Christopher Merrill) Kurt Brown was the author of six books of poetry, a memoir, and the editor of ten anthologies. He was also a critic, translator, teacher, mentor, and founder of both the Aspen Writers Conference and Writers’ Conferences and Centers. We will pay tribute to his life and work by talking about his many contributions to contemporary poetry and to the larger world of letters as well. The panelists will also read and discuss some of his poems.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Room 606, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F250. The Haiti I Know. (M.J. Fievre,  Barbara Ellen Sorensen,  Danielle Legros-Georges,  Mahalia Solages,  Fabienne Sylvia Josaphat) A trilingual reading from So Spoke the Earth, a collection of prose and poetry about pre- and post-earthquake Haiti and published by the Women Writers of Haitian Descent. Authors will share first and third-person accounts and visions of Haiti through various periods of time, and of the moments following the tragedy, exploring stories of the search for survivors and different shapes of grief and hope. Presentations in English, with some French and Haitian Creole (with translations).

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F255. Found in Translation: How Translators and Authors Translate the Untranslatable. (María-José Zubieta,  Mariela Dreyfus,  Daniel Alarcón,  Jorge Cornejo,  Eileen Mary O’Connor) The topic of untranslatability has been discussed by many theorists, but most of these reflections stem from one perspective only, namely, the translator’s. This panel offers a multidimensional discussion between a Peruvian poet and a Peruvian American narrator and their respective translators, concerning the challenges of the untranslatable, a discussion made all the more relevant and poignant by the fact that both authors are fluent in the target language.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Room 2A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2
F272. Hong Kong and Taiwan: Writing in Chinese but not in China. (Andrea Lingenfelter, Jennifer Feeley, Steve Bradbury, Christopher Mattison) When people think of current Chinese literature they likely think of the People’s Republic. This mental shortcut bypasses some of the most vital Chinese-language writing today. While culturally and linguistically Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan possess distinct cultures and historical experiences that differentiate them from China proper. Four translator/editors discuss Hong Kong and Taiwan writers whose works are marked by innovative language and perspectives that reflect their unique societies.

Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
F287. Submitting Translations: The Literary Magazine as the Back Door to Fame and Fortune. (Minna Proctor,  Carolyn Kuebler,  Thomas Kennedy,  Josh Edwin,  Erica Mena) Historically, literary translators are the wallflowers of publishing; they engage in labors of love within academia and set their sights on the limited prospects of book publication. Meanwhile, literary magazines, the champions of high art and no commerce, are eager to publish translations but don’t know how to solicit, edit, and market translations. This panel will dismantle perceived obstacles of publishing literary translations through a practical discussion of submission and editing strategies.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
S106. Translation as Pure Writing. (Russell Scott Valentino,  Esther Allen,  Bill Johnston,  Elizabeth Harris,  Susan Bernofsky) When asked whether he wasn’t worried that his Spanish might be inadequate to translate Gabriel Garcia Marquez into English, Gregary Rabassa famously quipped that the real question wasn’t whether his Spanish was good enough; it was whether his English was good enough. This panel will explore the pleasures and virtues of translation as pure writing, where the writers are not distracted by what their characters might do next, where to place a scene, or how in the world to end, begin, or transition.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

Room 612, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
S153. Queer Translation. (Joyelle McSweeney,  Johannes Goransson,  Don Mee Choi,  Lucas DeLima,  Jeffrey Angles) As translators, artists, scholars, and performers, we’ll consider how ‘queer translation’ might host a queer interaction or strange meeting; how it might undermine nationalist demarcations of the body, including binaries separating male and female, able and disabled, human and inhuman, whole and partial bodies; the force of translation as a ‘political uncanny’; and whether translation itself might figure a queer or middle body, an activist body, a political resource.

Room 301, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
S161. Sam Hamill & Friends. (Bruce Weigl, Rebecca Seiferle, Sam Hamill, Steve Kuusisto, Cyrus Cassells) A reading in honor of renowned poet, translator, editor, and activist, Sam Hamill who, for nearly half a century has been at the center of American poetry, as a student of Kenneth Rexroth, founder of Copper Canyon Press, founder of Poets Against the War, translator of classic Japanese poetry, and author of dozens of collections of poetry. Joining Hamill are four poets whose work and lives have been influenced by his dedication.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Room 305, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
S196. Translation as Transformation, Language as Skin: Some Perspectives on Creative Process. (Hélène Cardona,  Sidney Wade,  Betty De Shong Meador,  Donald Revell,  Willis Barnstone) Beyond decoding, what does translation as creative process entail? Working with Sumerian, Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Turkish, French, and Spanish, this panel’s poets, translators, and scholars discuss their roles as intermediaries, technicians, magicians, and alchemists working between languages to create inspired texts spanning cultural differences, geographic distances, and time periods. More than extending the life of original works, they make possible their renewal.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 3B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3
S204. We Need to Talk: Editors Discuss How They Communicate with Writers and How Writers Can Improve the Channels of Communication. (Aviya Kushner,  Jennifer Barber,  A.N. Devers,  Joshua Rolnick,  Ian Stansel) Accepting a piece is the easy part—the hard part is suggesting changes in an effective way. In this panel, four editors will discuss their strategies, old and new, for communicating with writers and translators in order to improve a piece—including the snail-mail editor’s letter, Skype, a volley of track-changes comments, and of course, the long lunch in New York. Specific situations like dramatically expanding or shortening a piece and working with literature in translation will be discussed.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Room 3A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3
S233. Freedom in Translation: Finding Ourselves a New Poetics. (Brad Crenshaw,  Gary Young,  Stephen Haven,  James Brasfield) Translation re-imagines how language works, revising postmodern poetics that emphasizes conventions linking words to things in the world. Translation insists upon a pluralism of linguistic aims. Panelists working in Asian and Slavic languages will discuss translation, weigh the virtue of literal paraphrase against the value of ambiguity, measure the advantage of cognitive knowledge against the profit gained by an escape from conventional meaning, and exchange control for delight in literary play.

Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
S244. Bilingual Writing or Self-Translation. (Wei Shao,  Ewa Chrusciel,  Valzhyna Mort,  Michael Gray,  Jonathan Stalling) This event includes a group of writers, poets, professors, and graduate students who are studying the issue of translation, self-translation, and bilingual writing. We’ll address this issue from our perspective, understanding, practicing, and experience dealing with translation and self-translation. In the contemporary work literature, there are Samuel Beckett and Joseph Brodsky who did bilingual writing and self-translation. We want to explore or propose many questions related to bilingualism and self-translation.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Cedar Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor
S258. Keeping the Original Voice through Changing. (Martha Cooley,  Marta del Pozo Ortea,  Eleanor Goodman,  Anastasiya Lyubas,  YU-TING HUANG) Listening to works in several languages, are they alike or different in taste? Can translation keep the music, meaning, and subtext of the original work? To discuss these questions and challenge your ears and minds, the panelists will read the same poem in Chinese, English, Italian, Spanish, and Ukrainian, and discuss their own work in two languages to explore the issue of change in translation.

Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
S278. Translation as Current Event . (Kyoko Yoshida,  Donald Revell,  Robert Baker,  Sylvain Gallais,  Ken Keegan) In a world torn apart by conflict, it is more important than ever to read widely across languages. Translators from Omnidawn’s award-winning series will read and discuss the work of René Char, leader in the French resistance; Virginie Lalucq and philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, whose collaborative poem responds to a photograph of a Zapatista lieutenant facing a firing squad; Jules Laforgue and Paul Verlaine, modernist innovators; and Kiwao Nomura, one of Japan’s most influential contemporary poets. Check here to add to my schedule

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