Bad Translator: Experimental Translation in New North American Poetry


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




“Bad Translator” uses poetry from Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and the United States as a crucible for studying the importance of translation to the twentieth-century rise of the US empire. While attempts to translate poetry highlight the obvious—that no language is entirely commensurate with another, and no literary work is entirely extractable from its cultural context—poetry, as a textual genre, is also largely unique in its use of translation as a critical literary device. Taking as its subject poetic texts that use translation as a technique, “Bad Translator” makes crucial observations about the active workings of translation more broadly, as a function of contemporary global life and as a logic of exchange and transferability embedded in a vast array of social and economic structures.