Call for Papers

Translation, considered as a distinct articulation of knowledge rather than a means to a communicative end, demands particular forms of listening. Noise, in the sense of the opening up of multiple channels, is closely linked to the creative multilingual space that emerges in the act of translation, but the carrying over of translation also implies a boundary between the clean channels of different languages. Traditional concepts of translation are often based on proverbial constructs that operate through rhythm and pun, such as 'traduttore traditore', while the statement attributed to Robert Frost, 'poetry is what is lost in translation', takes for granted his view of poetry as 'the sound of sense,' that is, a shared sense of the cadences of the English language. Language is sensed differently, however, when it is not assumed as shared ground. What new relationships between languages are possible within the scope of poetic practice and its intersections with translation and performance?

Underlying these issues is an interest in how poetry travels internationally on the ear, creating links and legacies that connect poetry across languages, for example the influence of early twentieth-century Dada performances on contemporary sound poetry. In a time of isolationist politics, this conference will ask how such cross-currents might help us to engage with the multiple linguistic communities of contemporary Europe and beyond.

Proposals for critical or practice-based papers of 20 minutes are invited. They may deal with one or more of the following questions or any theme related to the conference:

  • the role of sound when poetry is performed in bilingual and multilingual contexts
  • sound in the practice of poetry translation
  • the relation between translation and the ecological dimensions of listening
  • the political questions raised by a cross-border ethics of listening
  • ways in which a considerations of noise might open up new ways of listening to other languages
  • the relationship between sound poetry and translation
  • the role of translation in revealing different ways in which the poem 'listens'
  • the kinds of listening and translation at work in a poetry reading
  • the relationship between poetry and song lyrics
  • approaches to poetry performance that might enable or articulate new relationships between languages
  • collaboration between poets and musicians or sound artists as intercultural dialogue

Please send abstracts of 250 words to z.skoulding@bangor.ac.uk and j.hilson@roehampton.ac.uk by January 2nd 2018.