News and Events

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Poetry in Expanded Translation III: Poetry and Sound in Expanded Translation

April 4th to 6th 2018
Bangor University
Wales

Deadline for abstracts: January 2nd 2018

Keynote speakers

Caroline Bergvall, artist, writer and performer

Lawrence Venuti, translation theorist, Professor at Temple University

Performance

Andrew Lewis, composer, Professor at Bangor University

Conference organisers

Dr Jeff Hilson (Roehampton University) and Dr Zoë Skoulding (Bangor University).

About the Conference

This international and interdisciplinary conference will consider the role of sound in poetry translation, and in related areas of performance and creative practice. How helpful is a musical vocabulary in discussion of the sound of a poem in translation? Conversely, what is meant by describing music as a language? Can the relationship between poet and translator be compared with that of composer and performer? Such parallels will be used to explore poetry in bilingual, multilingual and cross-artform contexts. Examining new and emerging interfaces between poetry, sound and translation, this conference will bring together poets, musicians, critics and translators.

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.

This conference is the third and final event of the AHRC Network Poetry in Expanded Translation. Confirmed speakers include Jennifer K. Dick (Université de Haute Alsace), Chris McCabe (National Poetry Library), Vahni Capildeo (Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow, Leeds University), Vincent Broqua (Université Paris 8), Lily Robert-Foley (Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier), Carole Birkan-Berz (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3), Alys Conran (Bangor University), Nia Davies (Poetry Wales), Tim Atkins (Roehampton University), Philip Terry (University of Essex), Simon Smith (University of Kent).

Call for Papers

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.

Past Events

Poetry in Expanded Translation II: Intersemiotic Translation—Between Text & Image

International interdisciplinary conference
8 - 10 November 2017
Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse, France.

Deadline for abstracts 25/08/17

Poetry in Expanded Translation II: Between Text and Image will consider the relationship between poetry and visual texts as a form of translation. It will also explore the place of language within visual works as poetic discourse and investigate the reception of poetry and visual art across linguistic boundaries. Transposition will therefore be examined alongside translation as a means of exploring interlingual and intersemiotic crossovers. These will include sound poetry's transformation into written score, concrete or visual poetry written across languages, and literary work transformed into visual art works. Reception of verbo-visual translation in and out of book formats will be a central focus.

The conference will explore the limits of intersemiotic translation and intermodal translation practices in order for researchers, translators, and creative practitioners from varied disciplines, languages and cultures to begin formulating a new criticism for these radical, exploratory forms of translation. We aim to provide tools for writers and visual artists applying techniques of translation to this liminal zone between literary language and sign/visual image. The goal is to contribute to the development of theoretical reflection as well as to creative practice in translation.

Potential topics for 20 minute talks include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Does one need language to translate? At what level are certain intersemiotic translations not verbal-verbal translations, but intermodal exchanges of sign and sign types?
  • Semiotic, intersemiotic vs. 'post-semiotic' translation (bpNichol).
  • What are the issues of translating polysemic elements in verbo-visual texts? What skills or techniques are needed in these cases?
  • The translation of visual protocols (typographic plays, scribbling, collages, importation of images, etc.) in ultra-contemporary literature.
  • The multimediality of the page / screen as a space for redefinition: form and translation.
  • The modality of an image-rhetoric in the context of emerging screen cultures for video-poems, hypertext works or on-screen translations of poetry.
  • Untranslatability? Textual processes which lead to “unreadable” readings, to illegible texts, thus to “impossible” translations. In parallel: untranslatability in general, as in plays on words and images that are so global/telling they do not need to be translated.
  • Emergent modes for readers and spectators of lexiconographic translations.
  • In the case of concrete poetry or modes of poetry verging on asemic writing: what does it mean to translate? What is not translated in visual poetry?
  • Translating a visual feature into a sound, or translating a literary work into a visual object or image.
  • Silence and its translation on and through the page – can silence be turned into a blank or an image?
  • Transcription of sound poetry performances to the page as forms of translation.
  • Translation into visual sign as a method of reading or understanding a work.
  • Translation and illustration.
  • New critical methods that might analyze exchanges between text and image, between form and content.
  • Identity (and the interrogation of identity) of the translator-author-artist by these verbo-visual creative translation practices.

Confirmed speakers/performers: Sandrine Wymann (Director of the Kunsthalle-Mulhouse), Cole Swensen, Christophe Manon, the performance duo Montaigne Froide, and Mathilde Sauzet Mattei.

Participants from the AHRC Network Poetry in Expanded Translation (for which this will be the second meeting) include: Zoë Skoulding, Jeff Hilson, Jennifer K. Dick, Chris McCabe, Nia Davies, Alys Conran, Tim Atkins, Philip Terry, Lily Robert-Foley, Vincent Broqua, Simon Smith, Carole Birkan-Berz and Vahni Capildeo.

Paper proposals (250-300 words) in French or English should be emailed before August 25th 2017. They should be sent to both Jennifer K Dick at poextrans@gmail.com and to Maxime Leroy at maxime.leroy@uha.fr. Please include: “Expanded Translation” in the subject line.

Further information:

This conference is a collaboration between the Université de Haute-Alsace, the Kunsthalle-Mulhouse and the AHRC Network Poetry in Expanded Translation. It develops research from two previous events:

  • The conference Lex-Icon: Treating the image as text, treating the text as image, held at the Université de Haute-Alsace in 2012, asked whether it was emphatic attention to the physical substance of language (the plasticity of words) that draws the practices of authors and visual artists together today, or whether there are very different modes of representation, creation and reception engendering cultural upheavals in artistic and literary practice in verbo-visual works. We also asked whether one needs language to produce thought, to write or to describe the world.
  • The first seminar of the AHRC Network Poetry in Expanded Translation, held in London in April 2017, explored the ways in which rewritings of texts are in and of themselves translations.

Building on the body of reflections from these two preceding encounters, Poetry in Expanded Translation 2 will investigate the role of the visual in poetry as intercultural dialogue. It will explore the limits of what it means to translate between sign systems. Linguistic and visual frontiers will be contemplated through works containing collage, invented visual sign languages, images meant to be “read” as part of a text, and text meant to be seen as part of a work of art. Transposition of language and other codes will be examined side by side with interlingual translation issues. What can translation can mean if we think of it as going from one semiotic code to another, and not just one language to another? How does this overlap with adaptation? When does it stop being translation, or when does the word “translation” become only a metaphor for a kind of artistic or inter-artistic practice or dialogue? What is at stake in these questions?

We therefore welcome papers on intra- and interlingual translations as well as inter-media, intermodal translations and translations from digital to print to performance or mise-en-espace. Especially welcome are papers addressing the history and the historiography of intersemiotic translation, providing an overview of intersemiotic dialogue in the field. All critical, theoretical and disciplinary approaches are encouraged.

The organizers will confirm the final programme by September 10th 2017.

Comité d’organisation UHA : Jennifer K Dick (UHA/ILLE), Maxime Leroy (UHA/ILLE), Enrico Monti (UHA/ILLE), Martina Della Casa (UHA/ILLE).
AHRC Organizational Committee: Zoë Skoulding (Bangor University), Jennifer K Dick (UHA), Jeff Hilson (Roehampton University), Chris McCabe (National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, London)
Multilingual Doctoral Support Commitee : Zahra Kandeh Kar (UHA/ Iran), Alexandra Kraeva (UHA/Russia), Charlaine Ostmann (UHA/France)

Expanded Translation at the National Poetry Library

Monday April 10th 2017, Southbank Centre

1.45 - 5.30
6.30 - 7.30

Poetry in Expanded Translation: Rewriting as Translation

Poets and translators from the UK and France will gather to consider translation as a means of revealing international contexts and connections, and the National Poetry Library's role in sustaining these. How does poetry travel? What kinds of reading are enabled by the physical space of a library, and how do these intersect with digital or virtual experience of texts? How might experimental techniques in poetry translation contribute to new kinds of intercultural understanding?

The afternoon of April 10th will feature a series of dialogues and specially commissioned collaborative rewritings of texts created on-site in the National Poetry Library, with discussions of these and other questions.

This will be followed by a reading by Vahni Capideo and Michael Zand.

Both parts of the event are free and open to all. There is no need to book for the afternoon, but please email specialedition@poetrylibrary.org.uk to reserve a place for the 6.30 reading.

1.45 Welcome to Expanded Translation
2.00

Dialogues and Collaborations

Jeff Hilson and Nia Davies
Philip Terry and Lily Robert-Foley
Simon Smith and Jennifer K. Dick

   
3.30 - 4.00 Break
  Vincent Broqua and Robert Sheppard
Zoë Skoulding and Chris McCabe
Alys Conran and Vahni Capildeo
17.30 Break
18.30 Reading by Michael Zand and Vahni Capildeo


This event is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is part of a series of network events. For further details see:
http://expanded-translation.bangor.ac.uk/

wetblackbough
www.poetrylibrary.org.uk

The image used above is a detail from Eric Zboya's 'Howl #16', from The New Concrete, ed Chris McCabe and Victoria Bean (Hayward Publishing, 2016).