Olivia Lott | Transhemispheric Translation: Scenes from Contemporary Latin American Poetics

Sep 20, 2023, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
PLAS 3rd Floor Atrium, Burr Hall (open to Princeton students, faculty, visitors and staff)



Event Description

This talk is organized around case studies of “transhemispheric translation,” a term employed to describe poetic experiments that fundamentally foreground translation—between Spanish and English, Latin America and the United States—for the purpose of negotiating hemispheric power differentials. Beginning in the context of the inter-American Cold War of the late 1960s and early 1970s, this talk demonstrates that translation operated as a space of Cold War power. This context allows for a re-reading of Cold War poetic performances of inter-American contact: the Argentine poet Juan Gelman’s 1969 pseudotranslation of a fake US poet and the Chilean multimedia artist Cecilia Vicuña’s 1973 “untranslation” into English. The talk ends by considering a recent example—non-equivalent self-translations by the Puerto Rican poet Urayoán Noel—to consider how transhemispheric translation continues to function in anti-imperialist fashion today.


OLIVIA LOTT (Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis). Lott is a scholar of comparative Latin American and inter-American poetry and poetics, avant-gardes, and translation, with particular emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s. Her book project, Radical Re/Turns, chronicles the revitalization of avant-garde activity across the “long 1960s” and the inter-American Cold War. Her scholarly writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from PMLA, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Translation Studies, and Chasqui. She is also the translator of four books of Latin American poetry, and her most recent co-translation, Juan Calzadilla’s The Roof of the Whale Poems, is forthcoming in Fall 2023 from University of Wisconsin Press. Before joining PLAS, Lott was Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Washington and Lee University (2022-23) and Marilyn Yarbrough Dissertation Fellow at Kenyon College (2021-22). In Fall 2024, she will begin an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University.


Rachel Price, Spanish and Portuguese, Princeton University

This event is open to Princeton students, faculty, visiting scholars, specially invited guests, and staff. A boxed lunch will be available while supplies last at the conclusion of the event.

Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication