Poets and translators Fady Joudah and Sinan Antoon will read their own work in Arabic and English and discuss poetry in translation. In the Beloit Poetry Journal Joudah talked about the challenges: "I have a dislike of discourse on translation that addresses the 'cultural' or 'philological' aspects of language as pretext or text that explains the inevitable: that which is 'lost in translation' and the 'limitation,' the 'difference,' of (or is it 'in') 'the other.' When it comes to Arabic in particular there is much darkness that sheds a shady light on the space between spoken vs. written Arabic: the colloquial vs. the formal—which of course requires a lengthy discussion that cannot be summarized easily into a sentence, a paragraph, or even an essay, no matter what or who is doing the summary (often someone who speaks neither form of Arabic, or one and not the other). The discussions often break into analysis of “modernity” and other slippery slopes of representing the other.
Fady Joudah is a Palestinian-American poet and physician. He is 2007 winner of the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition for The Earth in the Attic. He is translator of Mahmoud Darwish's The Butterfly's Burden (Copper Canyon), which was short-listed for the PEN awards and won the TLS translation prize, and his most recent translation of Darwish's lyric epic, If I Were Another, is available from FSG. He is currently based in Houston, Texas, and is member of Doctors Without Borders.
Iraqi poet, novelist, editor, and translator Sinan Antoon is author of the recent satire I' jam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights). His poems, prose, and essays (in English and Arabic) have appeared widely in the Arab world. His book Baghdad Blues was published by Harbor Mountain and he returned to his native Baghdad to co-direct/produce the documentary "About Baghdad." Anton is active on several editorial boards and consults widely on issues of translation and cultural transmission. He has been on the national advisory board of Levantine Cultural Center since 2007.
This event is made possible with the generous support of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.