Thursday, November 16, 2006

festival of contemporary japanese women poets

Despite my protests to the contrary, I ended up going to the Festival of Contemporary Japanese Women Poets last night. I'm very glad I did. The poets from Japan--Ryoko Sekiguchi, Takako Arai, Kiriu Minashita, and Kyong-Mi Park, along with organizers Sawako Nakayasu (who did an incredible job of simultaneous interpretation) and Rachel Levitsky--brought up some intense issues about gender, language, Japanese linguistic history and culture and, of course, translation. Anyway, there's an excellent report on the event at the American Literary Translators Association blog if you're interested in reading more. I'd recommend going to the panel discussion tomorrow (Friday) at 7pm at Poets House. Master translators Rosa Alcala and Cole Swensen will also be part of the event.

Monday, November 13, 2006

lydia's poem using words from other than english languages

panache croissant brioche café au lait latte bustelo medaglia d’oro bodega empanada croquette pirogies a la hurricane rouge attaché hammock canoe crochet blasé florida california baja california nevada montana arizona las vegas a priori agenda agendum ad hoc alumna alumnae alumnus alumni et cetera aficionado ad nauseum ad-lib ad libitum au naturel euphemism chic cachet angst apiary aviary au contraire ambiance bloc brochure coterie burlesque cache (v. & n.) candid (l. to glow) catsup (ch. ke-t siap - fish pickled brine) celebrant chauvinism patron clique vulgar consensus sang froid roman a clef consul habeas corpus tornado cycle dais podium honorarium data datum debut cotillion etiquette decorum detente diagnosis prognosis dialogue dialect monologue thesis thesaurus dilemma holocaust (gr. to burn) disaster (gr. and l. from the stars) drama tragedy trauma dominate donate ego sympathy empathy pathos focus nexus flotsam jetsam vacillate blatant indict indite ingénue insigne intrigue humor hypocrite portmanteau hypothecate hypothetical inculcate indoctrinate succubus incubus materiel matinee matricide patricide maven colorado amarillo memorandum metaphor mortgage mortgagee nausea nee nom de plume pseudonym translucid lucid sanguine parameter apocalyptic chaos precedent precedent precipitous precipitate premiere resume review revue strata stratum triage whiskey xerox x-ray zero homophobic pandemic homosapien conundrum


Remember that our workshop will be in the Parish Hall this Thursday (Nov. 16th). We'll have Eugene Ostashevsky visiting to talk about how he translated the OBERIU poets for his new anthology of Russian Absurdism. I just e-mailed the jpegs for the missing pages from selections of the OBERIU poets, so let me know if you had any trouble receiving them. I added one more poem that Eugene requested we look at: "Rug/Hydrangea" by Alexander Vvedensky. Tony will also be bringing in some Russian translations (or Russian to translate) for us.

But that's all after we finish Seferis!! (Thank you, Nina.)

I wanted to let you know about a couple of translation events this weekend. First is the Festival of Contemporary Japanese Women Poets from Nov. 15 to 17. Participants are Ryoko Sekiguchi, Takako Arai, Kiriu Minashita, Kyong-Mi Park, and Sawako Nakayasu, along with Cole Swensen and Rosa Alcalá (who are both incredible translators--Cole of French poets and Rosa of Cecilia Vicuna). For the schedule and more information, visit or .

And then, there's the New York Literary Translation Festival, which runs from November 16 (but you can't miss class for it!) to November 18. This appears to be primarily focused on Romanian poetry. For more information and the full schedule, go to . One intriguingly titled event is on Saturday from 1:00–2:45 on "How to translate, how to get translations published, and how to get paid for what you do – an open discussion and symposium" with Edward Foster as moderator and the following talks:
• John High, poet and noted translator, “Multiple Ways in which the Translation of Literary Works Can Be Accomplished”
• Murat Nemet-Nejat, theorist and distinguished translator, “Translating the Ambience of a Culture within a Literary Work”
• Andrey Gritsman, poet, essayist, editor of Interpoezia, “Stranger at Home”
• Adam Sorkin, Distinguished Professor of English, Penn State University, “Translating Romanian Poetry”

OK, our translation cups overfloweth. See you Thursday.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Hi everyone,

That was a really interesting talk by Nathalie Stephens on Thursday. She spoke a lot about the "failure" of translation, and how it impacts the body/gender. She left a lot of space, I felt, for productive interpretation/discussion.

After Nathalie's reading, Lydia brought up the issue of non-fluent poets translating, which I'd definitely like to discuss more, so I asked Rachel Levitsky, who has worked on poems by Zhang Er, to visit on November 30th, to visit and talk about how/why she translates from a language she doesn't speak.

Now, this week we're scheduled to translate GREEK! So if you can get your hands on some Greek dictionaries (modern, right Nina?), please do, as that would be very helpful. Remember also to bring in your english-to-english translations of your fellow poets' poems (and the Mallarme/Baudelaire translations of Poe, too, if you remember).

OK, see you Thursday!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

poets house

Hi Stephanie (and everyone),

Yes, I am back and we are going to the Poets House event this Thursday with Quebecois poet and translator Nathalie Stephens. ( this Thursday. We'll just meet there at 7 pm. It's located at 72 Spring St., between Lafayette and Broadway (or Crosby, to be precise), and practically next to the Spring Street stop of the 6 train. Bring probing questions about translation!

I'm still negotiating some sort of a group rate, but they say they can do "something," so when you get there, say you're part of my translation workshop and hopefully we'll get a bit of a discount. They're very excited we're coming.

In the meantime, I found a fun resource to use in your translation exercises. Check it out:

Also, PEN is a great resource for seeing what's going on with international writers (especially political issues) and they seem to have some translation-related events coming up.

OK, looking forward to seeing you all Thursday at Poets House!