The Critical Performance of Translation in The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare

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The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare, edited by Sharmila Cohen and Paul Legault, is a collection of “translations” of Shakespeare’s sonnets, where translation, as opposed to operating between languages, means a variety of English-to-English transformations and other experimental procedures. Each sonnet is translated by a contemporary poet based on a wide range of processes that take to its limits Walter Benjamin’s notion that “[t]he task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect upon the language into which he is translating which produces in it the echo of the original.” In Cohen and Legault’s Sonnets, this “echo of the original” is deformed, defaced, silenced, or amplified in a myriad of translation processes that, as the book’s introduction suggests, are conceptually in keeping with the piracy and theft that led to the initial unauthorized publication of Shakespeare’s sonnets in 1609, the cover of this collection being a fact-simile of that pirated edition. “[O]ur hope,” write the editors, “was that the contributors would approach the original texts from their multitude of vantage points, that they would board the ship, loot and pillage, break things down, and reconstruct it all in a fashion that would allow us to view multiple dimensions of the original work in a new light, as a new structure.” The editors continue, “If Shakespeare’s framework was the sonnet, then our contributors’ framework was Shakespeare.” This emphasis on reevaluating translation as a negotiation within a conceptual space of authorship rather than strict or accurate formal and semantic carry-over animates the project of this book. Including a wide-range of poets from disparate aesthetics and politics, this anthology is unique in its inclusion of an array of “new” or “conceptual” translation methods, including homophonic translation, erasure, collage, and a number of hybrid forms that challenge traditional notions of what a poem is, not to mention the reliability and purpose of the act of translation.

In this polyphony, Benjamin’s contested notion that in the translation of a text “there remains in addition to what can be conveyed something that cannot be communicated” is radically extended towards Johannes Gorannson’s idea that in what he calls the “wound of translation,” “the “meaning” may have been “lost” but the materiality of the text is brought to life.” Translation as such, if by translation one means fidelity to an accurate one-to-one carry-over of meaning between languages, is of no interest to the poets in this collection. Rather, the translator here is closer to Artaud’s conception of the director as “a kind of manager of magic, a master of sacred ceremonies” who performs the theatricality of translatability that abandon’s semantic fidelity to reimagine translation as a site of affective resurgence, a process that is as much séance as scene (in the theatrical sense), as much creative appropriation as critique. As critic Patrick Primavesi notes, “The performance of translation enacts the encounter of texts in different languages.” That these translations are mostly English-to-English dramatizes this performance by semantically internalizing the encounter with otherness, or untranslatability, that frames traditional translation.

Precedents for such performative conceptual translation include poet Jack Spicer’s 1957 After Lorca which begins with an introduction presumably written in English by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca that states, “It must be made clear at the start that these poems are not translations…. Even the most faithful student of my work will be hard put to decide what is and what is not Garcia Lorca as, indeed, he would if he were to look into my present resting place.“ Of course, in 1957 Lorca had been dead 21 years, shot at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, his body never found. One also thinks of Charlie Kaufman’s 2002 film Adaptation, which dramatizes Kaufman’s failed attempt to adapt Susan Orlean’s novel The Orchid Thiefinto a movie, transgressing and blurring the boundaries “between theory and practice, text and performance, language and body” in a way analogous to these prismatic restructurings of Shakespeare’s sonnets. What is important in these examples is the foregrounding of the failure of translation and the gesture toward formal innovation, the materiality of the text, and process-as-critique as the theatrical mechanisms of translation’s performance. Examining a selection of poems from The Sonnets will show the political, economic, and aesthetic performances of these translation methods, suggesting how acts of translations might act as a revolt that produce poems and poem-objects which, as Brandon Brown describes, “in a minor and yet powerful way, call for the end of masters.”

One act of translation that dominates The Sonnets is what will be referred to as conceptual formalism. For example, Vanessa Place’s translation of Sonnet 20, titled “Boycott,” simply changes the gender of the pronouns and nouns from female to male while retaining the formal elements of the original poem, highlighting Shakespeare’s contested sexuality and challenging the gendered and political nature of language and description. Place’s “Boycott” is subtle, but its reassignment of desire threatens to undermine the formal structure that houses it, transgressing against the traditional, heterosexual work of the sonnet form. Dara Wier’s translation of Sonnet 106 is another example of conceptual formalism, provocatively foregrounding the form and the act of translation by doubling each line to create a 28-line poem, as if Wier had copy-and-pasted each line of the original sonnet; even the poem’s numeric title “CVI / CVI” succumbs to this twinning, calling further attention to the sonnet’s reliance on numbers as a structuring mechanism. When read out loud, the result is a kind of formal stuttering that humorously interrupts the iambic eloquence of the original and brings to the fore the poem’s formal constructedness. Most interestingly, in the doubled translation the poem’s Shakespearian rhyme scheme of four alternating, rhyming quatrains with a final rhyming couplet is radically upset so that each line’s end word is now made to rhyme with itself. This both parodies the contrived, “forced” nature of rhyme (one thinks of the lyrics “Generals gather in their masses / just like witches at black masses” from Black Sabbath’s 1970 song “War Pigs” or “boom, boom, boom, / Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon” from Katy Perry’s 2010 innuendo-rich “Firework”) and overemphasizes the subtle use of eye rhyme in Elizabethan poetry: it is no coincidence that “rime” is made to rhyme with itself in lines 5-6; the same goes for “eyes” in lines 21-22. But eye rhyme is not excluded to end words; Wier’s poem visually extends the notion of eye rhyme to encompass each whole line. These redundancies and stutterings turn the reader’s focus from the sonnet’s lyric argument about writing, time, and beauty to the overdetermined nature of the poem’s formal constructedness, calling attention to the poem’s artificial scaffolding rather than its content. That the original poem’s meaning is explicitly concerned with semantics – with reading texts “in the chronicles of wasted time” and meditating on how these dated authors’ “antique pen would have express’d / Even such a beauty as you master now” – shows how Wier’s doubling translation toys with and undermines the specific content of the poem in its translated theatricality. 

In the larger scope of The Sonnets, Place and Wier’s sonnets are relatively restrained experiments, retaining much of the original texts in order to draw attention to political and aesthetic issues latent in the poems’ content. Thom Donovan’s translation of sonnet 64, another example of conceptual formalism, further radicalizes these moves in a number of ways. As Joyelle McSweeney writes about affective, deforming translation methods, “‘acts of translation’ are matters of one medium entering into another’s space, of one body saturating another, of disintegration, a disorientation of borders.” Donovan literalizes this transubstantiation of mediums by presenting his poem as a screenshot of his computer on the website Google Translate, an interface that allows users to translate a text between any number of languages by copying a text into one box, selecting the source and translated language, and clicking “translate,” causing the translated text to appear in another box. In the screenshot, Donovan’s English text appears highlighted on the left side of the page, supposedly copy-and-pasted from another document, and on the right appears the same text translated into Arabic. However, the English text is not the text of sonnet 64, but a brief, seven sentence reaction to the original poem’s themes of disaster, ruin, and monuments to death written into the context of post-9/11 American politics. Sonnet 64’s references to “lofty towers I see down rased” and its politically charged lines, “When I have seen such interchange of state, / Or state itself confounded to decay, / Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,” clearly directed Donovan, a poet actively engaged in New York’s Occupy Wall Street, to read the poem’s meditation on death and love’s fleetingness next to the themes of violence and remembrance surrounding the rhetoric and politics of September 11th.

Donovan’s reaction begins by referring to Shakespeare’s now-unseen sonnet: “The upper echelons of American government are unlikely to respond to September 11 in this way. The recent war with Iraq implies the obverse of what Benjamin – or probably even Shakespeare – might like to see. Still the reflection on ruins is an undertaking available to us all.” The government not responding “in this way” refers to the introverted helplessness and ravaged empathy of the turn in sonnet 64’s final three lines: “That Time will come and take my love away. / This thought is as a death, which cannot choose / But to weep to have that which it fears to lose.” Instead of this admission of vulnerability, Donovan suggests, the American government has gone to war with Iraq, here calling on Walter Benjamin, the German-Jewish theorist who died fleeing the Nazis in 1940 whose essay “The Task of the Translator” haunts The Sonnets as a project, as well as Shakespeare himself, as a means of layering the discourse around authorship in the same way that the screenshot layers the several textual modalities that compose the final “translation.” In this way, Donovan emphasizes “the irreducible violence” of translation itself, how the diasporic movement of Shakespeare’s sonnet into various modes, locations, and languages acts as a corollary to the violent dispersal of bodies in war and reactionary nationalisms.

This fluid relationship between translation and violence, the aesthetic and the political, is further performed by Donovan’s translation in terms of disaster and economy, the related scenes whose legibility is defined and policed in the behavior of bodies and poem-bodies. With Shakespeare’s sonnet 64 wholly absent from the translation site of Donovan’s screenshot, the original poem becomes the invisible ruin at the site of war’s excessive beginning in the same way that, as Donovan writes in his poem-response, “the rubble at Ground Zero has been hastily, almost heroically, cleared; and [there are] plans progressing for building something new on the site.” The removal of debris and recovery of bodies here becomes analogous to how the vast majority of translated texts are presented in English, absent the original and radically deemphasizing the role of the translator. Instead of an active, exposed participation with ruin and/or text, Donovan’s translation suggests that erasure and memorial are our culture’s modus operandi, both in literature and politics. Rather than linger on “[i]mages of immense piles of debris and deep holes of devastation,” such images are quickly circulated through the bodies of various media and deformed in the process, most pointedly on the internet, a process similar to translation that further complicates the relationship between memory and time expressed in the original sonnet and performed in Donovan’s screenshot. That Donovan’s already translated text is then translated into Arabic, stereotyped as the language of “the terrorists,” and a language that Donovan supposedly does not know (hence the use of Google Translate), exposes the densely tangled and often erased assertions of otherness and untranslatability involved in American diplomacy and traditional North American translation models, as well as the increasing complications of neoliberalism’s appropriation of Arabic as a valuable language of business in the entrenchment of global capitalism. The pressures of economy also explicitly enter Donovan’s translation in the form of the screenshot, which allows us to see, at the top of the image, Donovan’s browser and bookmark toolbar, including quick links to various art websites, Facebook, Gmail, the American Alliance of Museums job search page, the AWP job list, and, in the Apple menu bar, a small American flag symbol that indicates the use of a “U.S.” keyboard palette, an apt representation of the politicization of all language acts.

Brian Teare’s translation of sonnet 40, “OCCUPY SONNET,” continues the political critique of Donovan’s conceptual formalism, but Teare’s methods are slightly different. Here, the original text is still completely absent, but the translation takes the form of a loose close-reading-cum-litany that analyzes sonnet 40 in the context of Occupy poetics. This translation method, written in prose, investigates the economy of form and the form of economy, commenting on the formal movement of meaning in the sonnet as it relates to the economic movement of capital. How both of these systems of exchange and value allow or prohibit individuals’ capacity to love others is of direct interest to Teare’s translation. Like Shakespeare’s original sonnet, Teare’s “OCCUPY SONNET” begins with a question, “Why turn a lover’s discourse into a discourse about debt?” Having pressured the sonnet as “a lover’s discourse” into a politicized space of “discourse about debt,” the poem immediately answers itself with lines written as an economically motivated reading of the poem, where “love” in the original becomes “money” in the translation: “The sonnet begins with a complaint: if I’ve already given you all my money, then – duh – you’ve got it all. But sonnets and lovers depend on numbers.” Like Wier, Teare calls attention to the sonnet’s formal reliance on numeric patterns, but here Teare’s translation suggests that an inherent debt results from the exchange between love and form, money and economy. The flippant “duh” of Teare’s economic rationalization stands in for the beleaguered position of Occupy Wall Street activists rallying against the excesses of corporate capitalism, their radical “complaint” echoing the complaint in Shakespeare’s original, “What hast thou then more than thou hadst before?” Shakespeare’s dense repetition is performed in Teare’s translation as an interlocking set of litanies beginning with the phrases, “The sonnet…”, “We tried to explain…”, and “Some of us…” that act as the formal elements of the translation’s poetic argument as it slowly comes to “occupy” Shakespeare’s sonnet just as protestors occupied public spaces during the Occupy movement.

 As the poem progresses and the list of who “we tried to explain” economic inequality to moves through capitalism’s hierarchy to include credit card companies, banks, the federal government, and finally the president, Teare’s translation is forced to take action: “A few of us began to protest. “Poverty is something money can’t buy,” Joanne says, but it can be stolen when it’s a metaphor.” The tension here between the hegemonic control of material wealth and the theft of discourse’s immaterial power appears in Brandon Brown’s formation of translation as shoplifting: “The scene of translation sometimes felt like the moment you’ve shoplifted something in a store where surveillance systems are unknown to you. Will you make it out?” Oblivious to traditional demands of “fidelity and license,” as Benjamin notes, Brown and Teare’s translation methods audaciously steal back language’s ability to articulate meaningful demands for autonomy and socio-political accountability, neglecting the surveillance and policing of poetic and political representation.

 As Teare’s translation continues to glibly and angrily elucidate Shakespeare’s sonnet in economic terms, “The sonnet continues: I’ve given you all I had, and now you’ve taken more, what the fuck?”, particular repetitions begin to suggest critical pairings, such as “counting” and “accounting,” “forgiven” and “forgiveness.” The sonnet’s formal “counting” morphs into “accounting,” referring both to the irresponsible financial accounting of the “1%” and to the lack of accountability for the economic crisis, issues that dominated the discourse of Occupy Wall Street. Furthermore, the inability to have one’s debt “forgiven” by economic institutions is layered with the affective-spiritual dimension of “forgiveness.” As Teare writes, “When poverty is literal and persistent, it’s an injury we learn to live with without forgiveness.” If the goal of the Occupy movement was to occupy the symbolic “publicness” of civic spaces as a means of, like Zizek’s Bartleby, “preferring not to” submit to the strictly oppositional logic of capitalism’s hegemony, Teare’s “OCCUPY SONNET” similarly occupies the representational space of Shakespeare’s sonnet 40. This occupation is both metaphorical and literal as it negotiates the contradictions inherent in our ability to “carry-over” meaning and value both in the act of translation and the act of revolution, redirecting value towards a radical embrace of this aporia, the poetic-political scene of utopian salvation where “their [the 1%’s] dream will stop, the doors will open and they will wake up in our arms.”

Similar to Donovan’s translation, Teare’s critique of economy and revaluation of form’s role in that critique is mediated by the absent text of Shakespeare’s original sonnet as well as a historical lineage of literary and political precursors from Benjamin to Occupy. Dana Ward’s translation of sonnet 4, “Cinq Saveurs: A Children’s Book,” written in 14 prose stanzas equivalent to the 14 lines of the sonnet, further extends these methods by combining Donovan’s ability to construct the poem as a constellation of layered texts with Teare’s development of a personal narrative around the master text. More than any of the previous examples, Ward’s poem enlarges the performative scope of translation to include a lush range of intimate narratives subtly engendered by the text of sonnet 4. But Ward’s “translation does not describe the original work, so much as it reconcieves it, injecting it with new ideas and values” (Brown). Like Teare’s poem, this radically revalued poem comments on the economy of form and the form of economy, negotiating concepts such as friendship, tradition, community, and affective transformation.

Ward’s poem is prefaced with an epigraph from Bay Area poet Dodie Bellamy, to whom the poem is dedicated, describing “one lovely evening with John Wieners,” a poet of the second generation of New York school writers, that culminates with Wieners purchasing a pack of Lifesavers candy for Bellamy. “I keep that pack of Lifesavers in a draw in my desk,” the epigraph ends, an affectionate expression of her reverence for Wiener’s gesture as well as the role of his poems in her writing life. The beginning of Ward’s translation performs the poet’s readerly reaction to Bellamy’s narrative, asking

What would I do with those candies if I had them? Save them forever, an heirloom I’d guard with my life to be given not even to Viv but somehow just given away. For the moment I guess that’s impossible here. There are too many Charons between us for gifts to bridge the rough abyss they shelter & reveal. Shatter & confirm.

The speaker’s negotiation with the generosity of gift economy is immediately complicated by his desire to save the Lifesavers as his own, even from his daughter, “the bad karma of wishing they were mine” propping up what is “impossible here” (5). Bellamy’s Lifesavers, like Shakespeare’s original sonnet, “shelter & reveal,” “[s]hatter and confirm” the borders between death and life, the irrevocably complete past and the constantly generating present. It is from this generative present that Ward constructs his translation, as the speaker says in the second stanza, “The morning I read Dodie’s post I knew I’d be nourished by its questions forever. The question of the lineage of love’s exilic candy, … of preservation, consumption, & hunger & care.” He continues in the third stanza, “I know their magic would seduce me in the end. I’d succumb because it’s what I always do.” Like in Teare’s translation, Ward reimagines the ability or inability of affective exchange between individuals, as embodied by the candy, as the conditions of translation and literary tradition at large. But also at play here is an anxiety about the unavoidability of succumbing, both as a participant in capitalism and as an artist, to the selfish consumption of ideas and goods, of what it means to constantly negotiate personally, aesthetically, and politically between one’s “hunger” for self-preservation and “care” for one’s community.

Ward’s translation so thoroughly blurs the distinctions between the personal, aesthetic, and political that earlier lines such as “It’s so cherry though, thinking economy’s grave,” with its pun on a Lifesaver flavor and the colloquial meaning of cherry as “in exceptional condition,” suggest radical political possibilities are deeply embedded in everyday choices, both personal and artistic, but, like translation, especially in how one chooses to “carry-over” value between individuals and over time. This is illustrated later in the poem as Ward and a friend attempt to stage the exchange between Wieners and Bellamy on their own terms by buying Lifesavers and throwing them into the Ohio River together as a wish ritual. However, when they stop at the mall’s candy shop to buy Lifesavers they find only the “gummi kind that come in little bags,” their translation of the scene already failing. But by no means does the speaker encounter this failure as a prohibition, as he continues, “I decided those would have to do. Maybe they’d finally be better. In trying to excise a fantasy why not begin by unmaking its fidelity, first to itself, & then to every other thing.” These lines not only describe the speaker’s ritualistic act of homage, but speak to the poem’s own relationship with Shakespeare’s original, which it has thoroughly “excised,” a term that Artaud welcomingly applied to his notion of performance as that which should “make our demons FLOW.” Embodying this flow, Ward’s translation “creates this proliferation of openings” that later in the poem allow the possibility of the speaker being “instantly & totally transformed,” a kind of translation as instant gratification that foregrounds the impossibility of absolute fidelity in the scene of translation.

Indeed, if Ward’s poem is provocative in its exclusion of any direct carry-over of meaning from Shakespeare (it does carry-over associatively), it is more provocative for choosing the only actual moment of translation inthe poem as its title: “I asked Julian before he ran into the store to grab a roll of Life Savers I could keep as an emblem of our weekend. The package had the French & English both. Cinq Savuers. I savored the word in my mouth.” But as noted above, “Cinq Savuers: A Children’s Book” formally corresponds to the sonnet with its 14 prose stanzas and, in the final stanza, alludes to Ron Padgett’s 1964 sonnet “Nothing in That Drawer,” an early conceptual poem that repeats the phrase “Nothing in that drawer” for 14 lines, commenting on the artificiality of the sonnet’s formal conveyance. Ward’s poem also performs the theatricality of translatability in its acknowledgement of the speaker’s failure to reproduce the emotional effect of the events that precipitated the poem while nevertheless generating its own unique emotional resonance. Like Donovan’s screenshot, Ward’s translation layers various reading and writing experiences in the folds of a single text to encourage a reevaluation of meaning’s origin, to consider translation as a ritual exchange between bodies and over time that must begin and end in failure, in love.

If Teare and Ward’s poems extend Place, Wier, and Donovan’s poems even further beyond traditional notions of translation, then Amaranth Borsuk’s translation of sonnet 103 almost fully obliterates it. Borsuk’s poem is a sparse flash of phrases across the page, visually reminiscent of Jen Bervin’s erasures of Shakespeare sonnets, Nets, in which the majority of the text is erased, leaving only a ghostly trace of the original and a new poem standing out from the excised text. Borsuk’s translation, on the other hand, strays even further. Taking its cue from the first line of the original sonnet, “To me, fair friend, you can never be old,” Borsuk begins her translation as an epistolary to Shakespeare himself, “Will, / blame me not / for striving / to rehearse // your lines / in this / fogged mirror.” The poem digresses from there into two more short, often-enjambed sentences packed with puns and double entendre: “Language fails, // or mine does. / Call me lame – / I can’t reverse // your verses, / or reflect: / my typed face pales.” However, this is not the end of Borsuk’s translation. Following the poem proper is a three-page “Translator’s note,” a kind of mini-essay that fully elucidates Shakespeare’s sonnet 103 and Borsuk’s choices in relation to an avant-garde tradition. Reading the poem and translator’s note as a unified text, Borsuk’s translation thoroughly destabilizes “the distinction between the inside and outside” of both poem and translation, insisting on a rich lineage of aesthetic predecessors and critiquing the traditional invisibility of the translator.

The relationship between Borsuk’s translation and the translator’s note is especially provocative when one considers the use of “rehearse” to describe the poet’s failed, self-conscious effort of translating Shakespeare’s sonnet. In its traditional theatrical context, rehearsal is that preparatory space of repetition and experimentation where failure is necessary in order to decipher “what is and is not working” in a given performance. Here, the poem is exactly that space of rehearsal refusing to be totalized, complete, or perfected. The poem also rejects the concept of translated texts “mirroring” the original, suggesting that such reflections of meaning and authorial identity are fictions. Rather, Borsuk’s “typed face pales,” a pun on typeface that finds identity, however weak, in how thoroughly a text does not reflect its source. But if identity is in the typeface, in written language, then, as we all know, such identities are by nature highly destabilized, borderless, malleable. This emphasis on deformation and the potential untranslatability of poem/self is equally performed in the translator’s note, a critical-poetic prose essay that, just as the poem does, rehearses the critical process of thinking through Shakespeare’s sonnet and a lineage of theorists and poets including Jacques Derrida, Gertrude Stein, and Ronald Johnson. Many of the note’s word choices comment on the “rehearsal” space of the translation, suggesting that Shakespeare’s sonnet 103 operates “in the guise of a praise sonnet,” that “the Bard writes,” and Borsuk’s comment that sonnet 18 “inspired Derrida’s own thoughts on différance.” This “guise” suggests that the sonnet’s formal qualities constitute, like an actor on stage, the poem’s “costume,” obscuring in measure and rhyme Shakespeare’s own “typed face.” Similarly, Borsuk referring to Shakespeare as “the Bard,” that stereotypical master-poet, situates the author as a character in his own production, an actor performing “a verbal joust” via the sonnet’s theatrical metrics and rhetorical turns. With the page now thoroughly transformed into a stage, Borsuk’s statement that Derrida’s burgeoning post-structural project was “inspired” by an anxiety about linguistic insufficiencies in sonnet 18 brings critical and theoretical writing closer to poetry and translation by suggesting that a theorist might be “inspired” by a creative text in the same way that a poet might be.

In this sense, this vague notion of inspiration becomes the space in which all reactions to a work of art become a “translation” of that work. Indeed, Borsuk’s translator’s note is itself “a verbal joust” that makes (perhaps) preposterous claims about Robert Herrick and Gertrude Stein imitating Shakespeare and generates itself out of clever puns, such as when a quoted line from All’s Well That Ends Well, “Here comes my dawg” (II. v. 52), echoes in the following paragraph when Borsuk writes, “As writers following at his heel or on his path, well all dog William Shakespeare.” To dog Shakespeare, meaning to pursue or to shadow his legacy and innovations, seems an apt description of the project of The Sonnets as a whole and, in a wider sense, as a comment on how various avant-gardes approach literary heritage in general. Borsuk’s note ends in a provocative gesture, noting that “These poets, and others, have sought to kiss the hem of Shakespeare’s argument with their praise, only to find it gone – our Bard stripped bare by his bachelors, even.” Reduced to mere discourse, the authorial space of “Shakespeare” is revealed to be empty, “stripped bare by his bachelors” in their gestures of appropriation. The final, ambiguously charged “even” of Borsuk’s note performs exactly as it would in a poem, acting as the literal and metaphoric space of finality, so that, perhaps before the true performance begins, all actors, all poets, might be “even.” If the various experimental translation methods in The Sonnets have anything in common, it is this insistence on the dismissal of the academic gate-keeping and the hierarchical notions of fidelity and accuracy that dominate traditional discourses around translation. Rather, these poets propose various methods and models that imagine translation, and art-making in general, as a continually coalescing space of performative critique and celebration. Whether that means translation is a conceptual disorientation, breaking and entering, occupation, digression, or the act of enjambing oneself in the dialectic, the possibilities for translation as performance are endlessly renewable.


Artaud, Antonin. The Theater and Its Double. trans. Mary Caroline Richards. New York: Grove Press, 1958.

Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator.” The Translation Studies Reader. ed. Lawrence Venuti. London: Routledge, 2000.

Brown, Brandon. “Translation and Revolt.” Harriet. The Poetry Foundation, 8 Nov. 2012.

Cohen, Sharmilla and Paul Legault, eds. The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare. New York: Telephone Books, 2012.

Donovan, Thom. “Proceeding Translation: Brandon Brown & David Larsen.” Harriet. The Poetry Foundation. 3 Feb. 2010.

Goransson, Johannes and Joyelle McSweeney. Deformation Zone. New York: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012.

Primavesi, Patrick. “The Performance of Translation: Benjamin and Brecht on the Loss of Small Details.” TDR 43.4 (1999): 53-59.

Shakespeare, William. Sonnets. ed. Barbara Herrnstein Smith. New York: Avon Books, 1969.

Spicer, Jack. My Vocabulary Did This To Me: Collected Poems of Jack Spicer. ed. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian. New York: Wesleyan University Press, 2010.