Editing Bilingual Poetry Anthologies in the Twenty-First Century – Centre for Poetic Innovation

Editing Bilingual Poetry Anthologies in the Twenty-First Century

Prof. Nina Parish (University of Stirling) & Dr Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham)

In 2016 Nina Parish and Emma Wagstaff published a bilingual poetry anthology of contemporary French poetry with Enitharmon Press. As well as co-editing the volume, they each translated an extract of work by one poet for inclusion in it. The first part of this paper argues that the process of editing an anthology of contemporary poetry with multiple translators is a form of re-writing that not only introduces new writers into the target-language poetic system, but also recasts their positions in the poetic system of the source culture by giving them new readers who have no or few preconceptions about the writers’ place in that system. Those poets whose work was included in the anthology represent a variety of approaches, but it was necessary, in the case of this print volume, to restrict the selection to written texts. The second part of the paper will discuss the possibility of a further anthology that would give voice in translation to important developments in twenty-first-century French poetic practice that takes place outside the page: in performance, for instance (Sabine Macher, Anne-James Chaton), or in digital or augmented reality formats (Alessandro De Francesco). It would, in addition, be possible to include translations of highly allusive and intertextual poetry (Philippe Beck) that is extended by embedded hyperlinks. The paper argues, therefore, that digital technologies contribute a further dimension to the re-writing enacted by bilingual anthologies.

Nina Parish is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Stirling. She has published on the interaction between text and image in the field of modern and contemporary French Studies. She also works on representations of difficult history, the migrant experience and multilingualism within the museum space. With Emma Wagstaff (University of Birmingham), she co-edited Poetry’s Forms and Transformations, a special issue of L’Esprit Créateur, 58,3 (Fall 2018) and Writing the Real: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary French Poetry(London: Enitharmon Press, 2016). They also edited, with Hugues Azérad and Michael G. Kelly, Poetic Practice and the Practice of Poetics in French since 1945 (= double special issue of French Forum, 37, 1-2) (2012), and Chantiers du poème : prémisses et pratiques de la création poétique moderne et contemporaine (Oxford : Peter Lang, 2012).

Emma Wagstaff is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Birmingham. She works on modern and contemporary French poetry, literary responses to the visual arts, and creative reactions to protest. She has recently published André du Bouchet: Poetic Forms of Attention (Brill, 2020).

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