Guest Lecturers

Upcoming Speakers for Spring 2015:

January 30, 2015: Natasha Wimmer

After Bolaño: Translating in the Wake of 2666

Natasha Wimmer is the translator of seven books by Roberto Bolaño, including The Savage Detectives and 2666. Her most recent translations are Bolaño’s A Little Lumpen Novelita and Father and Son: A Lifetime, by Marcos Giralt Torrente. She spent four years in Spain as a child and got her undergraduate degree at Harvard, with a year at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She began her career in publishing, at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and has also worked as a book review editor for The American Scholar and Publishers Weekly. Her reviews have appeared in The Nation and The New York Times. She teaches at Princeton University and Columbia University, and she is the recipient of a PEN Translation Award and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, in a neighborhood where the languages spoken include Russian, Hebrew, Urdu, Bengali, and Spanish.

 February 6, 2015: Karl Kirchwey

“More Honor in Betrayal Than in Being Faithful by Halves”: Translating Paul Verlaine and Giovanni Giudici

Karl Kirchwey is the author of six books of poems, most recently Mount Lebanon (Marian Wood Books/Putnam’s, 2011). His new collection is Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems. He has translated poetry from Spanish, German, French and Italian, and his translation of Paul Verlaine’s first book was published as Poems Under Saturn in 2011 by Princeton University Press. Kirchwey has taught a creative writing workshop in Literary Translation at Bryn Mawr College, and is currently working on translations of poems by contemporary Italian poet Giovanni Giudici. He has received the Rome Prize in Literature as well as NEA, Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill grants. He is currently Professor and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University.

February 13, 2015 : Bill Coyle, Nora Delaney, Erica Mena, & James Stotts

Panel discussion: Young Translators at Work

Bill Coyle‘s poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies including the Hudson ReviewThe New Criterion, the New RepublicPoetry, and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets. His collection of poems, The God of This World to His Prophet, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and was published in 2006. His translations from the Swedish have appeared in journals such as Modern Poetry in TranslationPN ReviewPoetry and World Literature Today, and in the anthologies The Other Side of Landscape(Slope) and New European Poets (Graywolf). In 2010 he was awarded a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently in the doctoral program at Boston University’s Editorial Institute, working on an annotated edition and translation of Tomas Tranströmer’s debut volume, 17 Dikter.

Nora Delaney received her PhD in Editorial Studies from Boston University in 2014. She has served as a lecturer in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program at MIT and is currently a staff writer for MIT Global Education and Career Development. Her book reviews, translations from Dutch, and poems have appeared in a number of publications, including Little StarAbsinthe: New European WritingTwo Lines OnlineJacketFulcrumThe Critical FlameLiterary ImaginationBellevue Literary ReviewSubtropics and elsewhere. Nora was a recipient of the 2011 American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Travel Fellowship for her translations of the contemporary Dutch poet Remco Campert. She was also the 2011 judge of the Robert Frost Foundation’s Robert Frost Award.

Erica Mena is a poet, translator, and book artist. She is Managing Director of the American Literary Translators Association. She holds an MFA in poetry from Brown University, and an MFA in literary translation from the University of Iowa. Her chapbook Featherbone is forthcoming with Ricochet Editions. Her translation of the Argentine graphic novel El Eternauta by H.G. Oesterheld and F. Solano Lopez is forthcoming with Fantagraphics. She is managing editor at Drunken Boat. She is the founding editor ofAnomalous Press. You can find her online at

James Stotts is translator and poet, living in Boston.  He has a degree in Russian from the University of New Mexico and was a research assistant in Russian-Jewish literature at Boston College.  He has translated the work of Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, Sergei Esenin, Boris Ryzhii, Joseph Brodsky, and many others, and published in AGNI, Circumference, Little Star, etc.  He has traveled extensively in Russia, and visited the American Academy in Rome, for a memorial tribute to Brodsky’s influence on world literature.  He was married ten years ago in Nizhnii Novgorod, Russia, and often collaborates with his wife on projects.  His first book of poetry, Since, was published in 2009.

February 20, 2015: Halyna Hryn

Translating Memory Codes: Ukrainian Case Studies

Halyna Hryn is an author, translator, editor, and researcher. She is the editor of “Hunger by Design: The Great Ukrainian Famine and Its Soviet Context,” translator of Fieldwork in Ukranian Sex (2011) by Oksana Zabuzhko and “Peltse” and “Pentameron” (1996) by Volodymyr Dibrova. A Lecturer in Harvard’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, she is editor of the journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies. She has previously taught at the University of Manitoba, York University, and Yale University. Her research interests center on Soviet Ukrainian literature and cultural politics of the 1920s-1930s.

February 27, 2015: Eliza Griswold

Landays: War, Love and Drones in Afghan Folk Poems

Eliza Griswold received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work on water and poverty in America. Her first non-fiction book, The Tenth Parallel, was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas prize and was a New York Times bestseller. Her poetry and reportage have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among many others. She has held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New America Foundation. Griswold’s collection of reportage and translations of Afghan folk poetry, I am the Beggar of the World, was published in spring 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, with a second collection of her poems to follow.

March 20, 2015: Sassan Tabatabai

Intent and Ambiguity: Translating Persian Poetry into English

Sassan Tabatabai received his PhD in Persian Literature and History from the University Professors Program at BU, where he is now Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages & Comparative Literature and the Core Curriculum. He is also the head of the Persian language program. In addition, Tabatabai is a poet and translator who has published two books, Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his Poetry, a critical translation of the tenth-century Persian poet; and Uzunburun, a volume of his own poetry. He is also the Editor of Pusteblume: Journal of Translation. His forthcoming book is a translation of classical Persian Sufi poetry, From Abu Saeed to Hafez.

March 27, 2015: Daisy Rockwell

Translating a Hindi Classic into Western Aesthetics, or “How Can I Convince Everyone This Novel is Awesome?”

Daisy Rockwell is a writer, painter, and translator living in Vermont. She earned a PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. Her collection of translations of Upendranath Ashk’s Hindi short stories, Hats and Doctors (2013), is available from Penguin India. She also the author of Upendranath Ashk – A Critical Biography (2004), The Little Book of Terror (Foxhead Books, 2012) and a novel titled Taste (2014). Her essays on literature and art have appeared in Bookslut, Caravan, and The Sunday Guardian (New Delhi). She has taught at Loyola University, the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, and Dartmouth. She is also the vice chair of the UC Berkeley Center for South Asia Studies and has received an NEA grant for translating Upendranath Ashk’s 1947 novel Falling Walls.

April 10, 2015: Ronald Egan

Writing in the Air, Glyphomancy, and the “Impossibility” of Translating Chinese Poetry

Ronald Egan is Professor of Sinology in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University. His research is on Tang and Song period poetry, aesthetics, and literary culture. He is the author of The Problem of Beauty: Aesthetic Thought and Pursuits in Northern Song Dynasty China (2006), and the translator of selected essays from Qian Zhongshu’s Guanzhui bianwhich appeared as Limited Views: Essays on Ideas and Letters by Qian Zhongshu (1998). His newest book, The Burden of Female Talent: The Poet Li Qingzhao and Her History in China, was published by the Asia Center at Harvard University in 2013.


April 17, 2015: Tim Parks

Translation in an Era of Globalization

Tim Parks was born in Manchester, UK, in 1954, grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard before moving to Italy in 1981. He is author of some fifteen novels, once short-listed and three-times long-listed for the Booker Prize, as well as various works of non-fiction including four memoirs covering aspects of life in contemporary Italy, most recently Italian Ways, On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo. His many translations from the Italian include works by Moravia, Tabucchi, Calvino, Calasso, Machiavelli, and Leopardi. He has written widely on the subject of translation and his book Translating Style is an unusual attempt to fuse literary criticism with translation analysis. For more than a decade he has run a post-graduate degree on translation at IULM University, Milan, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books.

April 24, 2015: Motoyuki Shibata

From Horizontal to Vertical: Translating American Fiction into Japanese

Motoyuki Shibata taught American literature and literary translation at the University of Tokyo till March 2014. He is the founder and editor of Monkey, a literary quarterly in Japanese, and of Monkey Business, an English-language annual focusing on new writing from Japan ( He is the leading translator of contemporary American fiction and has translated over fifty books by many different writers, including Paul Auster, Stuart Dybek and Steven Millhauser. The American Narcissus, his collection of critical essays, received the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities in 2005. He is also the author of a short story collection titled Valentine.