May 20, 2012

Mérida, January 2013 Highlights: Suzanne Jill Levine

U.S. Poets in Mexico
U.S. Poets in Mexico
4th Annual Poetry Conference
January 5-12, 2013
Mérida, Yucatán

Suzanne Jill Levine 
Translation Workshop: The Subversive Scribe  
  • Recommended books for the workshop (both inexpensive paperbacks):  A. Jorge Luis Borges, On Writing, Penguin paperback classics, 2010.   B. Suzanne Jill Levine, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction, Dalkey Archive Press, 2009 [also in Spanish, published by Fondo de Cultura Economica: they are planning to bring out a second edition].          
  • 1. Translation: a "more advanced stage": A discussion of the poetics of translation and approach to translation as a creative and critical act through readings of some essays and a "ficcion" by Jorge Luis Borges. As translator/editor of Penguin's recent editions of Borges' poetry and essays, I will lead the group in discussing not only Borges' poetics of writing and translating but also engage the students in practicing translation in order to explore the challenges of Borges' prose and poetry.    
  • 2. The Subversive Scribe: Discussing my work with other major Latin American writers and poets, particularly the concept of writing as translation, we will focus on translation as a collaboration between author and translator, and such challenges as wordplay, spoken language and dialect, and culturally specific forms and literary allusions. In this context I may also bring in poet Gabriel Magana whose linguistically experimental poems I am currently working on.    
  • 3. The workshop will function as a team, i.e. each student will translate either poetry or a work of fiction [brief, 3-5 pages] that he or she has already chosen, and while I will offer editorial guidance, each student will get to review actively all the translations from Spanish to English, or in the case of native Spanish speakers, English to Spanish.
See website for reviews of work/philosophy of translation:    here     


Professor Suzanne Jill Levine is a leading translator and scholar of twentieth century Latin American literature. She directs a Translation Studies doctoral program at University of California in Santa Barbara. Her groundbreaking book on the poetics of translation, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction, was published in 1991 (and reissued this year by Dalkey Archive Press).

Her publications include hundreds of contributions to major anthologies and journals including the New Yorker (July 2009) and over 20 book-length volumes of translations of some of the most challenging and original writings from Latin America. For her translations, she has received many honors including three National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grants, a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Grant, the first PEN USA West Elinor D. Randall Prize for Literary Translation and the PEN American Center International Career Achievement award in Hispanic letters. For her literary biography of Manuel Puig, she was awarded a NEH fellowship, a Rockefeller scholar residency at the Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship (1997).

Levine's most recent works include the five-volume Penguin Classics series of Jorge Luis Borges' Poetry and Essays (2010). She is the general editor of these series (Poems of the Night; The Sonnets; On Argentina; On Mysticism) as well as the editor of the Volume On Writing. This project continues her work in the non-fictions of Jorge Luis Borges, which received the National Book Circle Award for Criticism in 2000, the same year Farrar Straus Giroux published her much-praised and ambitious 450-page literary biography of Manuel Puig. She has also contributed essays in the Latin American literary field to the MLA series and the Cambridge Companion series, most recently Borges on Translation. Her latest translation, Jose Donoso's The Lizard's Tale, was published in fall of 2011 by Northwestern University Press.

Photo: Escuela Superior de Artes de Yucatan - workshop location

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