F229. Translating Contemporary African Poetry

Room 204C, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Friday, February 10, 2017
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Ivorian poet Tanella Boni identifies fringe literature as work marginalized by dominant literary economies because it is written in a language with limited market potential, or because the work represents a social world that seems unimaginable for nonlocal readers. Five translators discuss their experiences accounting for the plurality of social worlds in African poetry—the convergence of languages, the nuances of ethnic and cultural difference—and read from their translations.


Todd Fredson is the author of the poetry collection, The Crucifix-Blocks. His translations of poet Josué Guébo’s Mon pays, ce soir and Songe á Lampedusa are forthcoming. He was a 2015–16 Fulbright fellow to the Ivory Coast.

John Keene is the author of Annotations; Seismosis, with artist Christopher Stackhouse; and Counternarratives; and he is the translator of Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer. He teaches at Rutgers University-Newark.

Janis A. Mayes is a professor of literature in the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University. Her translations include books by Bernard Binlin Dadié and Véronique Tadjo, as well as the poetry in A Rain of Words: A Bi-lingual Anthology of Women’s Poetry in Francophone Africa.

Kazim Ali is a poet, translator, essayist, and fiction writer. His books include Sky Ward, Bright Felon, and Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence. He is associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College.

Hodna Bentali Gharsallah Nuernberg holds an MFA in literary translation and an MA in francophone world studies, both from the University of Iowa. She will serve as the 2016–2017 Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer in literary translation for Iowa's undergraduate creative writing program.


March 27–30, 2019
Portland, OR

Oregon Convention Center