Bird, 2015, Photo by K. Dykstra
Bird, 2015, Photo by K. Dykstra

The obvious entry for A is anxiogenic:  translation is anxiogenic.

Whereas the convergences defining translation cause anxiety or manifest around situations causing anxiety – be that experienced as apprehension, dismay, desire, dread, fear, fugue, inclination, misgiving, restlessness, etc. 

Alternatives. Abolition Abrasion Accompaniment Acumen Adhesive Alien Aliment Altercation Altitude Amnesty Anathema Anodyne Antichronism Apoplexy Arabesque Asperity Asylum Aversion Axis And

Antonym. Advisable

One thread in this series is recursive attention to a statement from Jacqueline Loss.  Earlier this spring, as she meditated on much-hyped proposals for changes in US/Cuba relations, Loss wrote: “Sharing with each other and our readers how we come to translate what we translate is sometimes personal but is also part of knowledge networks that link us to distinct and sometimes overlapping circuits of power.”[1]  

Circuits, and also shards: the jostling of vocabularies makes for interstitial spaces amid putative monoliths and creeping bureaucracies.  

Translators who trace, inhabit, elide and enact asymmetries of life in the Americas endure a seemingly interminable barrage of neoliberal logic and witness many of its consequences. 

What fragments of enabling myth do translators adopt under these circumstances?  To what degree do translatorial tellings engender actions that would not otherwise take place?  Via translation, writers & artists & thinkers with distinct, overlapping, or simply proximal aesthetics gain some form of potential, a potency.

Translators – & now I’m specifically thinking of the poetics advanced by writer/translator Omar Pérez – may not resolve inequities of hemispheric life, but they can envisage turns.  Can poetry and its translation turn misalignment and contradiction upon themselves?

Allowing acts of translation and insights from translators to drive my commentary, I’ll be listening for contemporary ways of conceiving and executing the translation of poetry, and its intersecting or (better yet) ill-defined genres of expression.  The structure of my series represents a nod to Peter Cole, whose Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol travels with me.  This is not because of the poems -- no criticism of them.  But it is the translator’s mesmerizing introduction that inspires my return to the book, and to translation, so for his thoughts, I open with thanks to Cole.


[1] “Jacqueline Loss introduces The Magic of Translation.”  Cuba Counterpoints:  Public Scholarship about a Changing Cuba.  18 May 2015.