Poetry, Translation, and the Circulation of Global Modernism: A Roundtable and Reading

Thursday, 12 November, 2020 (US): 6:00-8:00pm EST / 3:00-5:00pm PST / 11:00pm-1:00am GMT
Friday, 13 November, 2020 (Australia/Asia): 10:00am-12:00pm AEDT / 8:00-10:00am JST

Speakers: Emily Drumsta, Klara Du Plessis, Ariel Resnikoff, and Sho Sugita

Moderators: by Alys Moody and Stephen Ross

Global modernism exists only in translation. Its condition of possibility is the circulation of texts through time and space, across languages and in languages that are not the texts’ own. Historically speaking, the texts we think of as modernist are, almost without exception, the products of lively eras of translation in an expanded sense that reaches beyond the strict remit of textual translation between languages. In order to have global modernism, then, there must be translation and, necessarily, its distortions. Global modernism, by foregrounding this established problematic of translation in the context of an awareness of the unevenness of global exchange, highlights the centrality of language politics to modernist literary creation.

The study of global modernism, too, relies on active and continuous translation efforts. Contemporary translators, many of them themselves practicing poets or writers, are increasingly making available modernisms from around the world. In doing so, they underscore the extent to which modernists so often regarded translation as a primary creative act rather than secondary or derivative one.

This roundtable and reading features the work of four scholars and translators of modernist poetry who contributed original translations to the anthology Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2020) and whose efforts shine illuminating cross-lights on the modernist labour of translation. As several of our participants are also practicing multilingual poets, the event will offer an occasion to listen to and reflect on the contemporary legacies of modernist poetics.

This conversation, held under the shared auspices of the Literature Program at Bard College and Concordia University’s Centre for Expanded Poetics, is the second of a three-part series exploring global modernism, in celebration of the anthology. It was preceded by a roundtable on “Editing Global Modernism” held on October 23rd and will be followed by a workshop on pedagogy and global modernism on Friday, 4 December, 1:30-4:30pm EST.

**To receive the Zoom invitation for this event, please email [email protected]. Invitations will be sent out on the morning of the event.**