Guest Lecturers

2017 Translation Seminar Guest Lecturers

Lectures are held Fridays 1-3pm in STH 625, at 745 Commonwealth Avenue, and are open to the campus community and the public.

2017 Seminar Guest Lecturers

January 27, 2017: Abigail Gillman, Kathryn Hellerstein, and Richard Fein

From Right to Left and Left to Right: Prof. Abigail Gillman in conversation with Kathryn Hellerstein and Richard Fein, translators of Yiddish poetry

Abigail Gillman’s scholarship focuses on Jewish literature and culture of the German-speaking world.  She has lectured and published on Kafka; Schnitzler; Freud; Mendelssohn; Buber; Rosenzweig; and on Holocaust memory and monuments. A recent essay, “Martin Buber’s Message to Postwar Germany,” won the Egon Schwarz Prize for an Outstanding Essay in the Area of German Jewish Studies. Her first book, Viennese Jewish Modernism: Freud, Hofmannsthal, Beer-Hofmann, and Schnitzler (Penn State Press, 2009), examines a circle of writers and thinkers in turn-of-the-century Vienna whose shared obsession with memory led them to write about Jewish memory and identity in highly experimental ways. A second book project, A History of German Jewish Bible Translation (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press, 2017), takes as its starting point the remarkable number of retranslations of the Hebrew Bible produced in Germany—translations into German and Yiddish—from the Haskalah through the twentieth century.  The book demonstrates that bible translation in Jewish society was (and still is) used to promote diverse educational, cultural, and linguistic goals.  A short essay based on the book was featured in the Spring 2016 edition of AJS Perspectives: The Translation Issue.

Kathryn Hellerstein is the Ruth Meltzer Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Yiddish. A poet, translator, and scholar of Yiddish poetry, Hellerstein received her doctorate from Stanford University. Hellerstein’s books include her translation and study of Moyshe-Leyb Halpern’s poems, In New York: A Selection, (Jewish Publication Society, 1982), Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (Wayne State University Press, 1999), Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, of which she is co-editor (W. W. Norton, 2001), and a critical book, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish 1586-1987 (Standford University Press, July 2014). Kathryn Hellerstein’s current projects include Anthology of Women Yiddish Poets. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn. Hellerstein’s book, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (Stanford University Press, 2014), won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award, and in 2016 the 8th Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Language Association.

Richard Fein has published ten books of poetry, including the recent Not a Separate Surge: New and Selected Poems. His collection Kafka’s Ear won the Maurice  English Award. Fein has also published two books of his translations of Yiddish poetry: Selected Poems of Yankev Glatshteyn  and an anthology of Yiddish poetry, With Everything We’ve Got. He has also published a critical study, Robert Lowell; a memoir of Yiddish, The Dance of Leah; and a book of personal essays, Yiddish Genesis. He is currently preparing for publication his selection of poems by Avrom Sutzkever that he has translated, The Full Pomegranate.

February 3, 2017: Yuri Herrera and Lisa Dilman

Creation and Collaboration: Signs and Transmigration

Yuri Herrera (Actopan, México, 1970) received his BA in Political Science at UNAM, his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, and his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. His novel Trabajos del reino won the Premio Binacional de Novela Joven 2003 and received the “Otras voces, otros ámbitos” prize for the best novel published in Spain in 2008, and has been translated to English, French, German, Dutch and Italian. His second novel, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo was finalist of the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, has been translated into Italian and is going to be translated into several languages. His latest book is La transmigración de los cuerpos, published in Spain by Periférica. He has taught literary theory, creative writing and Latin American literature at the Universidad Iberoamericana and at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He is currently Assistant Professor of Contemporary Mexican Literary and Cultural Studies at Tulane University.

Lisa Dillman is a US translator based in Decatur, Georgia, where she translates Spanish, Catalan and Latin American writers and teaches at Emory University. Some of her translations include The Frost on His Shoulders, by Lorenzo Mediano; Me Who Dived into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman; Rain Over Madrid, August October, Death of a Horse and the forthcoming Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba; and Signs Preceding the End of the World, The Transmigration of Bodies and the forthcoming Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera. A has-been runner with two-year-and-counting hamstring injury, she’s now a staunchly mediocre swimmer.

March 3, 2017: Barbara Epler, Susan Harris, and Jill Schoolman

Publishing Literature in Translation

Barbara Epler is the president and publisher of New Directions, where she began working after graduating from college in 1984. At New Directions, she edited the first English translation of W.G. Sebald, and was the first American editor to acquire Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño’s work. Other distinguished international authors she has worked with include César Aira, Anne Carson, Susan Howe, Michael Palmer, Inger Christensen, Yoel Hoffmann, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Takashi Hiraide, Yoko Tawada, Tomas Tranströmer, Clarice Lispector, Joseph Roth, and Robert Walser.

Susan Harris is the editorial director of Words Without Borders ( and the coeditor, with Ilya Kaminsky, of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry.

Jill Schoolman founded Archipelago Books in 2003 as a nonprofit focused on publishing foreign-language works in English translation. Over 10 years later, she has published more than 100 books (translated from 26 languages) from some of the world’s best known and bestselling authors. Archipelago has published five of Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury’s novels, including the renowned Gate of the Sun (which was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Palestine Prize), as well as books by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Polish novelist Magdalena Tulli, and Bosnian writer Miljenko Jergovic´. In addition to foreign contemporary novelists, Archipelago also publishes works from some of literature’s biggest names: Julio Cortázar’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness’s Hero, Bohumil Hrabal’s Harlequin’s Millions, and Auguste Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke. Possibly the most intriguing Schoolman acquisition has been the six books of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgård’s opus, My Struggle. Upcoming books include Ready to Burst, by Haitian writer Franketienne, which explores the oppression and cruelty of the Duvalier dictatorship through a young narrator and his alter-ego, and the Selected Stories of Turkish writer Sait Faik Abasıyanık, a collection centered on the daily lives of people in Istanbul.

March 17, 2017: Efraín Kristal

The Shakespeare of Yves Bonnefoy

Efraín Kristal specializes in Latin American literature in comparative contexts, translation studies, and aesthetics.  He is author of over eighty scholarly articles and prologues as well as the following books:  The Andes Viewed from the City.  Literary and Political Discourse on the Indian in Peru  (1987); Temptation of the Word.  The Novels of Mario Vargas Llosa (1998); and Invisible Work. Borges and Translation (2002).  He has edited The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel (2005) and the Penguin edition of Jorge Luis Borges’ Poems of the Night (2010).   He is also one of three associate editors of The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel (2010). His forthcoming publications include “Peter Sloterdijk and literature” for Sloterdijk Now, edited by Stuart Elden for the Polity Press; “Art and Literature in the Liquid Modern Age” for The Blackwell Companion to Comparative Literature edited by Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas, an essay on Nicolas Poussin and Philosophy, the essay on translation theory for the Blackwell Companion to Translation Studies, an essay on Yves Bonnefoy’s Shakespeare translations, and The Cambridge Companion to Mario Vargas Llosa co-edited with John King.

March 24, 2017: Edwin Frank

Translation: The Editor’s Share

Edwin Frank has been the editor of the New York Review of Books Classics series since its beginning in 1999. He graduated from Harvard College, received a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, and studied art history at Columbia University. He has published poems and essays in many journals and is the author of two books of poetry, The Further Adventures of Pinocchio and Stack. He is currently working on a book about the novel in the twentieth century and the twentieth century in the novel.

April 7, 2017: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Translating War, Translation War

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin earned a BA and MA at University College Cork and also studied at Oxford University. Ní Chuilleanáin is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Acts and Monuments (1966), which won the Patrick Kavanagh Award; The Magdalene Sermon (1989), which was selected as one of the three best poetry volumes of the year by the Irish Times/Aer Lingus Poetry Book Prize Committee; Selected Poems (2009); and The Sun-fish (2010), which won the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Her most recent volume, The Boys of Bluehill (2015), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. She translated two books by the Romanian poet Ileana Malancioiu,  After the Raising of Lazarus (2005) and The Legend of the Walled-Up Wife (2012), as well as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Water Horse (2001, co-translated with Medbh McGuckian). Ní Chuilleanáin’s work has been featured in several anthologies, including The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry, 1967-2000 (1999, edited by Peggy O’Brien). Since 1975 she has been a co-editor of the literary magazine Cyphers, and she has also edited Poetry Ireland Review. She taught at Trinity College Dublin from 1966 until 2011 and is now a Fellow Emeritus at the same institution. Recently, she has been appointed Ireland Professor of Poetry for the 2016-19 term.

April 14, 2017: Alissa Valles, Martha Collins, and Kevin Prufer

Into English: One Poem, Three Translations

Alissa Valles is the author of the poetry books Orphan Fire (2008) and Anastylosis (Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2014), and the editor and co-translator of Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert’s Collected Poems (2007; NY Times Notable Book) and Collected Prose (2010). Our Life Grows: Poems of Ryszard Krynicki, edited and translated by Valles, is forthcoming from NYRB Poets in Fall 2017, and Memories of Starobielsk & Other Russian Writings by Jozef Czapski is forthcoming in the NYRB Classics series. She is currently working on a translation of Aleksander Wat’s Diary without Vowels in the framework of a Ph.d at the BU Editorial Institute. Her criticism has appeared in BRICK, Boston Review, Essays in Criticism and elsewhere. She is on the Editorial Board of the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.

Martha Collins’ most recent book of poetry, Admit One: An American Scrapbook, was published by Pittsburgh this spring.  She has also published seven earlier collections, including Day Unto Day, White Papers, and Blue Front, as well as four volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry. Collins  has won numerous awards for her work, including an Anisfield-Wolf Award, a Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Siena Art Institute. Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for ten years and is currently editor-at-large for Oberlin’s FIELD magazine.

Kevin Prufer is Professor of English and the University of Houston, and the author of several books of poetry, including Fallen from a Chariot (Carnegie Mellon, 2005), National Anthem (Four Way Books, 2008), In a Beautiful Country (Four Way Books, 2011), and Churches (Four Way Books, 2014). He has also edited numerous volumes, including New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008; w/Wayne Miller), New Young American Poets (Southern Illinois UP, 2000),  and the forthcoming Into English (Graywolf, 2015; w/Martha Collins), and Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Milkweed Editions, 2015; w/ Wayne Miller and Travis Kurokwsky).  With Phong Nguyen and Wayne Miller, he curates the Unsung Masters Series, a book series devoted to bringing great out-of-print authors to new readers.  He has received three Pushcart prizes, multiple Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Society of America, and the Academy of American Poets. At the University of Houston, he teaches courses in poetry writing and poetic forms.

May 1, 2017 (MONDAY): Motoyuki Shibata and J. Keith Vincent

In and Out of Japanese: A Dialogue

Motoyuki Shibata taught American literature and literary translation at the University of Tokyo until March, 2014. He translates contemporary American fiction, and among authors he has translated are Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser, Stuart Dybek, and Rebecca Brown. He is editor of the English-language literary journal Monkey Business, as well as of the Japanese-language journal Monkey.

J. Keith Vincent’s research focuses on modern Japanese literature, queer theory, translation, and the novel. He is the author of Two-Timing Modernity: Homosocial Narrative in Modern Japanese Fiction (Harvard Asia Center, 2012). Recent articles include “Queer Reading and Japanese Literature,” in the Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature (2016) and “Sex on the Mind: Queer Theory Meets Cognitive Theory,” in the Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies (2015). Recent edited volumes include Sōseki Great and Small (Tai-shō no Sōseki), a “mini” special issue of the Japanese journal Bungaku (Nov-Dec, 2014), co-edited with Alan Tansman, and Honoring Eve, a Spring 2010 issue of Criticism co-edited with Erin Murphy, on the work of queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. His translation of Okamoto Kanoko’s A Riot of Goldfish (Hesperus Press,  2010) won the 2011 U.S. Japan Friendship Commission Prize for the  Translation of Japanese Literature, and his translation of Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s novella Devils in Daylight is forthcoming from New Directions. He is currently working on two edited volumes on Sōseki, in Japanese and English, and a book on haiku and the Japanese novel, with a focus on Masaoka Shiki and Natsume Sōseki.