Our Guest Speakers for Spring 2014 were:
January 24, 2014: Sergio Chejfec & Heather Cleary
The Art of Getting Lost (in translation)
Sergio Chejfec was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He writes novels, short stories and essays. Some of his books:Lenta biografía, 1990; El aire, 1992; Los planetas, 1999 (The Planets, Open Letter, 2012); Boca de lobo, 2000 (The Dark, Open Letter, 2013); Los incompletos, 2004; Baroni: un viaje, 2007; Mis dos mundos, 2008 (My Two Worlds, Open Letter, 2012); La experiencia dramática, 2012; Modo linterna, 2013). Recipient of a Guggenheim (2001) and Civitella Ranieri Residence Fellowships (2008) among others. He teaches at the Creative Writing in Spanish Program, New York University.
Heather Cleary Wolfgang completed both her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Comparative Literature at New York University. Her translations have appeared in various cultural journals such as the Borda Gardens ( Cuernavaca), The Literary Review and New York Tyrant. In 2005 she was awarded a Translation Fund grant from the PEN American Center for her work on Oliverio Girondo’s Persuasión de los días. Her research interests include 19th- and 20th-century Spanish and Latin American literature, translation theory and practice, and literary theory. Her website may be found here.
January 31, 2014: Fady Joudah
Translation as Metaphor
Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. He is the recipient of the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2013, for his translation of Ghassan Zaqtan’s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me. Joudah’s first poetry collection, The Earth in the Attic, won the Yale Younger Poets Prize, chosen by Louise Gluck. His translations of Mahmoud Darwish’s work earned him a Banipal prize from the UK and a PEN USA award. Alight and the ebook Textu, which is composed on cell phone in exactly 160 characters per poem or stanza, are his most recent poetry collections from Copper Canyon Press. Joudah practices internal medicine in Houston, TX.
February 7, 2014: A. M. Juster
From Horace to Housman: The Challenges of Translating Formal Poetry in Romance Languages into English Formal Poetry
A.M. Juster’s work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Criterion, North American Review, Southwest Review and other publications. His first book of original poetry, The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville Press, 2003) won the 2002 Richard Wilbur Award and he is a three-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award of The Formalist. His other books are Longing for Laura (Birch Brook Press, 2001) (selections from Petrarch’s Canzoniere), Horace’s Satires (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008) and Tibullus’ Elegies (Oxford University Press, 2012). The University of Toronto Press will be publishing his translation of Saint Aldhelm’s Aenigmata and the University of Pennsylvania Press will be publishing his translation of Maximianus’ Elegies.
He is a graduate of Yale and Harvard with two honorary doctorates and he has been a fellow at the Sewanee Writers Conference. He has taught formal poetry at Emerson College and biotechnology law and policy at Boston University.
February 14, 2014: George Kalogeris
DIALOGOS: Paired Poems in Translation
GEORGE KALOGERIS is the author of a book of paired poems in translation, Dialogos (Antilever, 2012), with a forward by Rosanna Warren and a Commentary by David Ferry, and of a book of poems based on the life and notebooks of Albert Camus, Camus: Carnets (Pressed Wafer, 2006). His translation of George Seferis’ book, Three Secret Poems, appeared as a special feature in Harvard Review (#30 ), with introductions by David Ferry and David Ricks. His translation of Seferis’ book- length poem, Thrush, appeared as a special feature in Fulcrum (#6). He has recently completed a manuscript of poems and translations, Guide to Greece, which utilizes material from the prose travelogues of Pausanias, particularly as that 2nd century A.D. work is concerned with Arcadia and Sparta–places which, for Kalogeris, connect to familial places of origin.
His poems and translations have been anthologized in Joining Music with Reason, edited by Christopher Ricks (Waywiser, 2010). He received an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Boston University, and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University. He is an Assistant Professor of Literature and Director of the Classics Minor at Suffolk University.
February 21, 2014: Anna Elliott
Haruki Murakami Translated: The Globalization of Modern Japanese Fiction
Educated in Poland and Japan, Anna Zielinska-Elliott is a translator of modern Japanese literature into Polish. She is best known as the translator for Murakami Haruki, and her best-selling translations of eight Murakami novels and three short story collections have reached a wide public. In addition, she has translated Mishima Yukio’s classic The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and Modern Nō Plays, the latter of which was the basis for a stage production directed by Andrzej Wajda. She has also translated Kitchen by Yoshimoto Banana, and is the author of a literary guidebook to Murakami’s Tokyo as well as scholarly articles on Murakami and on European translation practices relating to contemporary Japanese fiction. Currently, she is working on the translation of the first two Murakami novels, which have never been released in the US or Europe, and is editing a forthcoming special issue of Japanese Language and Literature. Zielinska-Elliott teaches Japanese language, literature, and translation studies at Boston University, where she is head of the Japanese language program.
February 28, 2014: Sinan Antoon
Translation and the Work of Mourning
Sinan Antoon’s teaching and research interests lie in pre-modern and modern Arabic literature and contemporary Arab culture and politics. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014) and numerous essays on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus and on contemporary Iraqi culture. His essays and creative writings in Arabic have appeared in major journals and publications in the Arab world and in New York Times , Aljazeera.net , The Nation , Middle East Report , Journal of Palestine Studies , Journal of Arabic Literature , The Massachusetts Review, World Literature Today , Ploughshares , and Washington Square Journal. He has published two collections of poetry in Arabic and one collection in English: The Baghdad Blues (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007). He has published three novels: I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2007) which has appeared in German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Italian editions, Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman (Beirut, 2010) whose English translation was published as The Corpse Washer (Yale University Press. 2013), and Ya Maryam (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012), which is forthcoming in Spanish from Turner Libros. His translations from the Arabic include Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence (Archipelago, 2011) and a selection of Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef’s late work, Nostalgia; My Enemy (Graywolf, 2012). His translation of Toni Morrison’s Home is forthcoming in Arabic in 2014. Antoon returned to his native Baghdad in 2003 as a member of InCounter Productions to co-direct a documentary, About Baghdad, about the lives of Iraqis in a post-Saddam-occupied Iraq. In 2009, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the EUME Program at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Arab Studies Journal and co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya. In spring 2013 he was a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin .
March 28, 2014: Rosanna Warren
Hearing Voices: Translating from Latin and French
Rosanna Warren is the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her book of criticism, Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry, came out in 2008. Her most recent books of poems are Departure (2003) and Ghost in a Red Hat (2011). She is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, The American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Lila Wallace Foundation, and the New England Poetry Club, among others. She was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999 to 2005, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1982 through 2011 she taught the Literary Translation Seminar, as well as courses in Creative Writing, English, French and Italian at Boston University.
April 4, 2014: Susan Bernofsky
Pinning Down the Beetle: Kafka and Beyond
Susan Bernofsky directs the literary translation program at the Columbia University School of the Arts. Her translations include seven works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Jenny Erpenbeck, Yoko Tawada, Gregor von Rezzori, Uljana Wolf and others. She chairs the PEN Translation Committee and is co-editor (with Esther Allen) of the 2013 Columbia University Press anthology In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means. She received the 2006 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize and the 2012 Calw Hermann Hesse Translation Prize as well as awards and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the PEN Translation Fund, the NEA, the NEH, the Leon Levy Center for Biography and the Lannan Foundation. Her translation of Jeremias Gotthelf’s classic tale of horror, The Black Spider, was published in October 2013 by New York Review Books Classics, and her new translation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis is forthcoming from Norton in January 2014. She blogs about translation at www.translationista.org.
April 11, 2014: Tararith Kho & Aisha Down
The Road Has No Name
Tararith Kho is a Cambodian poet, publisher, and educator who has made a name for himself in his homeland and in American literary circles. A key figure in the founding of PEN-Cambodia, he has been a Scholars at Risk Fellow at Harvard, and from 2010 and 2011 was a fellow at Brown University’s International Writing Project. His books and poetry anthologies include Lesson of Life (1998), Culture Should Not Stay Alone (2006), Regretful (2009), Red Print (2010), and Khmer Nigeria Poetry (2011). He now teaches Khmer language, and will be developing a program in Khmer language and literature, at Middlesex Community College.
Aisha Down is an undegraduate student at Harvard University. She spent seven months in Cambodia as a volunteer English teacher, where she learned to speak Khmer. Introduced to Kho during his time as a Scholar at Risk at Harvard, she is working with him on translating a collection of his poetry. Aisha has hiked in the mountains of nine countries and is majoring in English and Physics.
April 18, 2014: Ammiel Alcalay
“Unrelieved” History: A Belated Prologue for American English Translation
Poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar, Ammiel Alcalay is deputy chair of the PhD Program in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and former chair of Classical, Middle Eastern & Asian Languages & Cultures at Queens College. He was the first holder of the Lannan Visiting Chair in Poetics at Georgetown University and has been a visiting professor at Stanford University.
His books include a little history (2013), from the warring factions, 2nd edition (2012), “neither wit nor gold”(from then) (2011), Islanders (2010), Scrapmetal (2007), Memories of Our Future: Selected Essays, 1982-1999 (1999), and After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture (1993). In 2012, The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Department of Arabic & Islamic Studies at Georgetown University convened a symposium marking 20 years since the publication of After Jews and Arabs.
During the war in former Yugoslavia, he was one of the only translators working from Bosnian, and published widely, including Sarajevo: A War Journal by Zlatko Dizdarević and The Tenth Circle of Hell by camp survivor Rezak Hukanović. Other translations include Sarajevo Blues (1998) and Nine Alexandrias (2003) by Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinović, Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing (1996), and the co-translation (with Oz Shelach) of Outcast by Shimon Ballas (2007). With Megan Paslawski, he co-edited Michael Rumaker’s Robert Duncan in San Francisco (City Lights, 2013).
He is founder and general editor, under the auspices of the Center for the Humanities and the PhD program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative (http://centerforthehumanities.org/lost-and-found), along with its offshoot Lost & Found Elsewhere, and has edited texts by Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Diane di Prima, Joanne Kyger, and Michael Rumaker for these projects.
April 25, 2014: Dick Davis
Veiled Voices: Who Speaks in Translation?
Dick Davis is Professor Emeritus of Persian at Ohio State University, where he was chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from 2002 to 2012. He is the recipient of numerous academic and literary awards, and has written scholarly works on both English and Persian literature, as well as several volumes of his own poetry. He is probably best known for his translations from medieval Persian: these include Attar’s Conference of the Birds(with Afkham Darbandi); Borrowed Ware: Medieval Persian Epigrams; Ferdowsi’s Shahanameh; Gorgani’s Vis and Ramin; and, most recently, Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz. He has also translated one contemporary work, Iraj Pezeshkzad’s comic novel, My Uncle Napoleon. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has been called, by the Times Literary Supplement, “our finest translator from Persian”.