Ilan Stavans and Charles Hatfield
The following discussion of Paz and Borges as translators is part of the work-in-progress The Big Theft: Adventures of Translation in the Hispanic World, a series of conversations between Ilan Stavans, the Mexican essayist, translator, and editor and the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, and Charles Hatfield, Associate Professor of Latin American Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Translation Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Charles Hatfield: I want to talk about Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges as translators. Let’s start with one of the translations in Versiones y diversiones (1973/1978/1995), the volume that brought together Paz’s translations of poets ranging from William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane to Pierre Reverdy and Guillaume Apollinaire. One of Paz’s richest translations is of Elizabeth … Read More »
Men anpil, chay pa lou, says a Haitian Creole proverb, many hands make for a light load. As the only Haitian writer widely known to English-language readers, Edwidge Danticat has no one with whom to share the burden of serving as spokesperson for a nation, often “in 1500 words or less.” Her collection of essays, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, gives readers a sense of the incredible weight the author feels on her shoulders. The weight of indebtedness to her family’s sacrifices that enable her to write today in relative security. The weight of guilt that she has not lived through what others have. The weight of self-doubt and accusations that she might be misrepresenting her native land. The weight of feeling that her writing has to matter deeply. All this weight impels Danticat to … Read More »