Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Transits + Translations

ChicagoThe new quarter begins next week, so I've headed back to to the midwest, a transition that's become familiar but never routine or easy, though the intra-term commuting is less disorienting now than it was a few years ago. The mental resettlement is the hardest part; it is an issue, in part, of translation. I have the voyager but not the nomad in my blood, the rooted ambassador but not the rootless journeyman. (Back to dis/locations....)

As is probably evident, I've begun to decelerate my blogging, though I have focused quite a bit on Hurricane Katrina and its horrific aftermath, since the latter represents, in crystalized form, so much of what is and has been wrong with our government and society, particularly over the last five years. I hope to maintain my discipline of posting at least a piece, even if only a poem (by someone else) or a quote of some sort everyday. So far I've broken the regime only during our summer trips; I said I was going to blog via remote, but I didn't get much past checking email once or twice.

Recently in packing up for the return west, I found some drawings (from an Afro-Futurist conference last spring at the university) I plan to scan in, and have been dabbling in some other things that should, with a little tweaking, be postable. I never cease to be amazed by people who, without a committee or assistance, can post long, deep and cogent entries on a daily basis (do they do anything else beyong blog, bathe, eat, go to the bathroom, and sleep?). I used to be able to write long journal entries on a daily basis, but they were hardly cogent or coherent (and since they were and are for private purposes, what need was there for them to be?).

I've wanted this to be a space for many--if not the full array--of my interests, particularly in the arts, but setting things down daily has proved more burdensome than I originally envisioned, especially after I sailed through my backlog. There are entries I've never gotten around to finishing, on Black aesthetics, Wittgenstein, Elizabeth Alexander's "When," and so on, and since they're involved, they'll have to wait for a bit/a lot longer. My own writing, creative and academic, as well as the argosy of student work I'll be seeing--since I teach a section of the introductory fiction writing class (Hi former students!) and that graduate class I outlined several entries ago--will mean even less time for entries here. But let's see what happens.

PS: To the Field Study Group A participants, I haven't forgotten you....

A shout out to Professor and fellow CC poet Greg Pardlo, who was just awarded an NEA translation grant to continue his work on the poetry of the young Danish poet Niels Lyngsoe. Greg published a collection of Lyngsoe's poems, titled Pencil of Rays and Spiked Mace (BookThug) last year.
And speaking of translations, polymath Ella Turenne has sent word of an upcoming conference at Columbia University, to be held on International Translation Day. It's entitled "Translating."

The Center for Comparative Literature and Society
at Columbia University
presents a conference celebrating International Translation Day

"Our goal is to think about translation as an active skill in this multilingual and globalized world. Translation today is not merely a convenience that forgets the original, but a performance that celebrates the original, makes it accessible to a larger audience even as it requires language learning among our students."

September 29-30, 2005

September 29
6-8 pm
Heyman Center Common Room
East Campus Entrance

Keynote Dialogue
Lawrence Venuti "Translation, Simulacra, Resistance" (Temple University)
Response: Mary Louise Pratt (New York University)

September 30, 2005
Buell Hall
East Gallery, 1st Floor
9:00 am -12:00 pm

Translation: A Conversation
Moderator: Reinhold Martin (Columbia University)
David Damrosch (Columbia University)
Karen Van Dyck (Columbia University)
Emily Apter (New York University)
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia University)
Martin Puchner (Columbia University)
Andreas Huyssen (Columbia University)

1:00 – 3:00 pm
Problems in Translation: The Rest of the Word I
Moderator: David Freedberg (Columbia University)
Kofi Anyidoho "Translating The Oral Performance" (University of Ghana)
George Saliba “Seeking Earlier Cultures: Translations into Arabic in Early Islamic Times”(Columbia University)
Valerie Henitiuk “Things That Can Be Treacherous: Worlding the Pillow Book” (University of Alberta)
Paolo Valesio “Notes from a Translation Workshop”(Columbia University)

3:30 – 6:30 pm
Problems in Translation: The Rest of the Word II
Moderator – Jean Franco (Columbia University)
Halyna Hryn “Translating the Soviet Experience: Ukrainian Case Studies”(Harvard University)
Lydia Liu “What is Printed English”(University of Michigan)
Bruno Bosteels “Just Translating”(Cornell University)
Arindam Chakrabarti “Acyuta! Park my chariot between the two armies: How to Do Things with Sanskrit and English Words” (University of Hawaii)

Co-sponsored by La Maison Française


  1. I've wanted this to be a space for many--if not the full array--of my interests, particularly in the arts, but setting things down daily has proved more burdensome than I originally envisioned

    Ahhh, you've hit the blogger wall! Happens to every new blogger. You will eventually find the frequency that works best for your lifestyle and you'll lose any guilt feelings for not posting regularly.

  2. Bernie, you're right about that wall. I won't feel guilty for not posting, but I do want to see how long I can maintain the discipline of attempting a daily post. Even if it's only a stub, a blurb, or something equally minimal.