In this weekend-intensive course, we will discuss the desire for going beyond traditional definitions of translation and look at several examples of works which apply experimental and innovative approaches to translation and multilingualism. Instead of focusing on concepts such as fidelity to the original and transfer of meaning, we are going to try translations that make use of the impact of natural elements, emojis, etymology, erasing the borders between two (or more) languages, contemplations about language and its surrounding contexts, etc.
Readings will include excerpts from Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint’s Names for Light, Christian Hawkey’s Ventrakl and Sift, Antena’s A Manifesto of Ultratranslation, Sam Knight’s Home Spreads, Ali Araghi’s Daybreak (unpublished), pieces from Asymptote’s Multilingual Features, as well as poems by Khashayar Mohammadi and Solmaz Sharif. Participants will then be given prompts to try their own hand in similar experimentations with language and translation.
By the end of this class, students will be more familiar with concepts critical to translation theory and practice, will learn how to become more experimental in their own process, and will be able to blur the lines between writing and translating.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Familiarity with some central translation concepts
- Discussion of potentials of innovative translation and multilingual writing
- Discussion of translators’ and authors’ perspectives on such works
- Studying examples by writers and translators who implement these approaches
- Discussion of how these approaches can be transferred to writing practices
- Working on individual pieces using the discussed topics
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Knowledge of another language is not mandatory for participation in the course
- We will look at and discuss works in class together, so no pre-class reading is necessary for this course
- Participants are expected to take part in class conversations, preferably orally if not through zoom chat
- Participants are expected to write/translate during class time as well as in response to the offered prompts and upload them for brief feedback from the instructor
Day One: Looking at work samples, discussion of related translation concepts, analysis of approaches used and reader responses, as well as working on individual pieces implementing similar approaches
Day Two: Looking at work samples, discussion of related translation concepts, analysis of approaches used and reader responses, as well as working on individual pieces implementing similar approaches
Poupeh Missaghi is a writer, a translator both into and out of Persian, an editor, and an educator. She holds a PhD in English and literary arts from the University of Denver, an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in translation studies. Her debut novel trans(re)lating house one was published by Coffee House Press in February 2020. I’ll Be Strong for You, her translation of Iranian author Nasim Marashi’s novel, was published in spring 2021. She co-edits Matters of Feminist Practice from Belladonna* Collaborative. She teaches at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, at the low-residency MFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, and at Baruch College, CUNY, NY.
“In this beautiful and brave book, art, love, death, and shards of the city accrete into a crucial archive of unbearable loss, but also of rich, fierce life. Echoing the probing explorations of Edmond Jabès, Anna Akhmatova and Charlotte Delbo, but with concerns and methods all her own, Poupeh Missaghi has fashioned a novel that bears clear-eyed witness and calls into question the act of witnessing, that beautifully renders a time and a place and interrogates whether such an endeavor is possible at all. The process of making and unmaking mirrors the world of missing art and bodies at the book’s center. This is important work. I hope Missaghi’s stunning debut finds its way into many hands.”
“Poupeh Missaghi’s TRANS(RE)LATING HOUSE ONE, through a fascinating synthesis of poetic form and rhetorical voice, strikingly theorizes our incessant need to narrate death and ‘to translate loss into language,’ while affirming those who memorialize, who make art, who witness. TRANS(RE)LATING HOUSE ONE documents disappearance. It documents state murders. It documents the disappearance of art, culture, and documentation itself. These urgent narratives make real what the cold facts cannot contain: how the corpses were once bodies that were loved, how they loved others, how they were tortured, how the authorities do all that they can to not name the missing, to conceal the histories, and to prevent society from understanding, grieving, and healing. TRANS(RE)LATING HOUSE ONE resonates with recent masterworks about disappearance, such as Sara Uribe’s ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ or Patricio Guzmán’s NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT, where the search to find the disappeared becomes inseparable from how we understand the hemisphere, the nation, and even the universe itself. This is a rare and remarkable book.”
“All of Missaghi's work is written with an eye to probing human experience, cracking open the English language, and portraying life in the U.S. and Iran with a crisp honesty . . . trans(re)lating house one is an experimental hybrid work that combines a traditional novel narrative with quotes from theorists and writers, dossier-style notes on people who have been made to disappear after death, and poetry. The unnamed protagonist’s journey through Tehran—its teahouses, gardens of private homes, and streets—takes the reader along on her quest.”
“You have steered me in a direction of politics, love, attitude, and education that will truly better my mental and physical environment as well as others.’”
“I feel more educated about the history of marginalization in America and the world, and I know where I stand with world issues that I barely knew anything about before.”
“This is the second event I've attended that was led by Poupeh, and both times she introduced multiple perspectives of the topic, encouraging participants to look at writing from a historic, layered, perspective. In both sessions with Poupeh, I took pages of notes because everything she and the other participants said was illuminating. She invited participants to engage throughout the session, so it was less of a lecture and more of a living breathing class with speakers building off of each other and responding to each other. ... I left the session wishing it could be an ongoing class and also having dozens of ideas for writing. Poupeh is one of those instructors/speakers who brings out nuanced and thoughtful comments from the participants. I'd love to take more classes with her, especially a longer generative writing class.”
“The professor was excellent: nice, clear, entertaining, and responsive to the students' question[s]. I would take another course with this professor.”