Readings & Discussion Documentation
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street
The title of this anthology, Currently & Emotion, brings together two metonyms, the former indicating our current cultural and political moment, the latter its attendant concerns of subjectivity and identity.
The use of ‘emotion’ is also intended to underline the advocacy of a feminist approach to knowledge that promotes emotion, sharing, trust, responsibility, bodies, process and the absence of hierarchy over dominant, culturally masculine traits that include products, rules, universality and impartiality.
‘Currently’ and ‘emotion’ are intimately bound to each other and to translation. I want to explore these relationships here.
– Sophie Collins, introduction to Currently & Emotion: Translations (Test Centre, 2016)
With 29 poetry translations over 352 pages, Currently & Emotion: Translations provides a survey of contemporary practices of translation. The anthology aims not to present a definitive thesis on the process and function of translation, but to encourage discussion about its challenges and possibilities, and the complex political and emotional issues with which it engages.
“All rewritings, whatever their intention, reflect a certain ideology and a poetics,” claim translation theorists Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere. The rewriting of language is as creative and critical an act as writing, and so merits a similar attention. In a climate marked by a calculated militarization, translation can be wielded as a tool of refusal: refusal to participate in isolationism, nationalism, and racialization. It is integral to the daily work of stating that no body is illegal, and challenging borders.
On the occasion of the U.S. launch of Currently & Emotion, the book’s editor, Sophie Collins, will discuss the politics of translation with poet and translator Uljana Wolf and novelist Valeria Luiselli. Topics foregrounded in this conversation will include the gender bias of work in translation, the status of the translator within literary culture, translation as practice—its creative possibilities as well as its potential as a form of activism and/or political writing—and translation as intimacy.
Sophie Collins is co-editor of tender, an online journal promoting work by female-identified writers and artists, and editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. Her poems have appeared in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and art books, and in Penguin Modern Poets 1: If I’m Scared We Can’t Win alongside work by Anne Carson and Emily Berry. She is an artist-in-residence at Glasgow Women’s Library, where she is researching and writing a text on self-expression, self-help and shame to be published by Book Works. Her first poetry collection is forthcoming from Penguin.
The novels and essays of Valeria Luiselli (born 1983, Mexico City) have been widely translated, and her work has been published in magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's. She has collaborated with artists in numerous multidisciplinary projects; among those, she has written a ballet libretto for the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, which was performed by the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She is studying for a PhD in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Granta published her first novel, Faces in the Crowd, in 2012, and her collection of essays, Sidewalks, in 2013. Her second novel, The Story of My Teeth, was named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Huffington Post, and The San Francisco Chronicle, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Uljana Wolf is a German poet and translator based in Brooklyn and Berlin. She has published four books of poetry, essays, and translations of numerous writers, among them Yoko Ono, John Ashbery, Charles Olson, Erín Moure, Cole Swensen, and Christian Hawkey. The first book length translation of her work, Subsisters: Selected Poems, translated by Sophie Seita, will be published by Belladonna in 2017. Wolf has been awarded the Erlangener Prize for Poetry as Translation 2015 and the Adalbert-von-Chamisso Prize 2016, and teaches German language, poetry and translation at New York University, the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the Institut für Sprachkunst in Vienna and Humboldt-University Berlin.