Radical Translation event at Lyra Festival Bristol (9 April 5pm)

Radical Translation explores politically and artistically “radical” approaches to poetry in translation, featuring poets and translators published by or connected with Bristol-based small publisher Girasol Press. We’ll hear from Say, Spirit, Sheffield-based poet Alex Cocker’s experimental translations of Michelangelo’s sonnets, which tease out questions of androgyny, queer desire and the “trans” in translation. There will be readings of new work from Latinx poet and translator Juana Adcock, whose poetry explores living between languages and the violence of present-day Mexico, and from the writer and translator Jessica Sequeira, whose fiercely hybrid texts transgress boundaries of language and genre.

Lastly, the afternoon will feature video contributions in Ch’ol and Tsotsil, as well as Spanish and English, from three Mexican poets included in Jukub: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest. Jukub, the Ch’ol word for canoe, alludes to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation’s maritime delegation, which in 2021 sailed to Europe to mark 500 years since the “conquest” of Mexico in 1521. As a publisher, Girasol Press is interested in experimental approaches to translation and in the tactility and radical slowness of book-arts and antiquated print technologies, such as their trusty Adana 8×5!

Juana Adcock is a Latinx poet and translator working in English and Spanish. Her poems and translations have appeared in a range of publications and her first book, Manca, explores the anatomy of violence in Mexico. Her English-language debut poetry collection, Split, published in 2019 by Blue Diode Press, was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was included in the Guardian’s Best Poetry of 2019.

Alex Cocker recently completed a doctoral thesis on the representations of non-binary genders in modernist literature at the University of Sheffield, and they show absolutely no signs of moving anywhere else anytime soon. Say, Spirit (Girasol Press, 2021) is their first collection of poetry, but more is underway. When they are not writing, they might frequently be found cooking, climbing, or pretending to be other people.

Canario de la Cruz studied Hispanic-American Languages and Literatures and Education for the Indigenous Environment at the National Pedagogical University. He edited Iwejlel k’uk/Vuelo de quetzal, an anthology of Ch’ol poetry (2020). He is author of the collection Mayinaj (Coneculta, 2021) and his poetry also appears in Jukub: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest (Girasol Press, 2021).

Edgar Darinel García writes in Tsotsil and is a member of Writers in Indigenous Languages of Tabasco. His texts are included in Jukub: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest (Girasol Press, 2021), the first Anthology of Texts in the Indigenous Languages of Tabasco (State Institute of the Culture of Tabasco, 2015) and the poetry collection Slopes (letras de pasto verde, 2018).

Miriam Esperanza Hernández Vázquez is a speaker of the Ch’ol language and graduate in Language and Culture of the Intercultural University of the State of Tabasco. Her poetry appears in Jukub: Poems from Chiapas for the Reverse Conquest (Girasol Press, 2021) and she has worked with the National Institute of Indigenous Languages (INALI) translating Ch’ol to Spanish. She is also a digital activist for the lakty’añ language.

Jessica Sequeira lives between Chile and the UK, where she is based at the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge. She has translated many books by Latin American authors and published the novel A Furious Oyster, the story collection Rhombus and Oval, the essay collection Other Paradises: Poetic Approaches to Thinking in a Technological Age and the hybrid work A Luminous History of the Palm.

Part of Lyra – Bristol Poetry Festival 2022.

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