Translating Poetry, Translating Blackness

Nov 5, 2019, 12:00 pm1:30 pm
399 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building



Event Description

 Over the last 50 years, translation studies has developed a substantial discourse around all forms of translations. Yet “race,” in relation to translation, remains little discussed. This talk will explore the issue of the translation of Black poets, writers and authors of African heritage, and of “Blackness” itself, particularly with regard to its complex relationship with the ideas of “America” and American hegemony. Why is it important to translate Black poets and authors writing in non-Anglophone and non-European languages, and how might our thinking about this apply to other non-White and non-European writers? How might Black translators in particular, of non-U.S. based Black writing, think about the work they are translating, and what practices might they incorporate into their process?

John Keene's recent books include the story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015, 2016), and several books of poetry. He also has translated the Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books, 2014). His recent honors include an American Book Award and Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, as well as a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He chairs the department of African American and African Studies, and teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University-Newark.

Program in Creative Writing