Part of the 2022 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival
Does the translation of a poem “tell it slant”? Do translators aim to tell the truth, but not the whole truth? What truths are uncovered when poems are given a new language? Do translators who are fluent in the language “uncover,” while those who may be just learning “discover”? In this session, panelists speak about their process of translating poetry and their relationship with truth-making, as well as read from their recently published translations. This program is brought to you by Festival partner, Massachusetts Center for the Book.
About the poets:
Danielle Legros Georges is a creative and critical writer, translator, and academic whose work sits in the fields of contemporary U.S. poetry, Black and African-diasporic poetry and literature, Caribbean/Latin American and Haitian studies, and literary translation. She is the author of several books of poetry including Maroon (2001), The Dear Remote Nearness of You (2016), and Island Heart (2021) translations of the poems of 20th-century Haitian-French poet Ida Faubert. Her poems have been widely published, anthologized, and contained in artistic commissions and collaborations. She was appointed Poet Laureate of Boston in 2014 and served in the role from 2015 through 2019. She is a professor of creative writing at Lesley University.
Ilan Stavans‘ book Selected Translations: Poems 2000-2020 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021) features about 100 translations he did over two decades from about 20 different languages, including languages he doesn’t know. Emily Dickinson’s line “Tell it slant” serves as the volume’s epigraph; there are also poems by her included that he translated into Spanish. His conviction is that translation is a process whereby a poem is “reborn” in a new habitat and that such rebirth forces us to recalibrate the way we read the original poem as well.
Dr. Regina Galasso is a writer, translator, and educator. Her award-winning scholarly work highlights the role of translation in literary histories and contemporary culture. Her forthcoming publications include This Is a Classic: Translators on Making Writers Global. She creates and supports ways to promote translation education to encourage greater understanding of this needed service and intellectual activity. With her students, she curated the 2022 exhibition “Read the World: Picture Books and Translation” for the Reading Library at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. She works with school districts to improve their language access services and initiatives. She is Director of the Translation Center and Associate Professor in the Spanish and Portuguese Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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