Jennifer Rathbun —USA—

As a translator, Jennifer Rathbun has translated and published complete poetic works by Mexican poets Alberto Blanco, Fernando Carrera, Minerva Margarita Villarreal, Juan Armando Rojas Joo, and Ivan Vergara and Colombian national poet laureate Carlos Satizábal. Rathbun is co-editor of the anthologies of poetry Sangre mía / Blood of Mine: Poetry of Border Violence, Gender and Identity in Ciudad Juárez (2013) and Canto a una ciudad en el desierto (2004). In addition, she has published more than thirty poetic translations of Hispanic authors in prestigious national and international reviews and journals. Jennifer Rathbun received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Contemporary Latin American Literature and she is currently a Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University in Indiana. Rathbun is a member of The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and she is the Associate Editor of Ashland Poetry Press. Her book of poems El libro de traiciones / The Book of Betrayals was published by Artepoética Press in 2021.

Traductora

Al temer mis propios versos, hablo por otros. Sus rimas, no las mías, ocupan mi tiempo interminables cartas indagatorias, biografías.

Estos versos no exponen mi voz— siempre me escondo tras la máscara.

Los míos están a salvo, bien arropados, escondidos de la luz.

¿Por qué uso mi tiempo, talento, traduciendo los pensamientos ajenos a los versos escritos en inglés? ¿A quién realmente escuchas?

Guardo mis poemas cerca del corazón los comparto lentamente, uno cada vez. Pasan diez años y nadie me lee—salvo mis nueve poemarios en traducción y casi tres docenas de poemas.

Relativa a mi, sigo a salvo. Siempre traductora, nunca poeta.

La historia puede juzgarme como a la Malinche— para salvar su vida habló por otros. Jamás conoceremos sus propios deseos.

Translator

Fearing my own verses, I speak for others. Their rhymes, not mine, occupy my time never-ending letters of inquiry, biographies.

Those verses don’t expose my voice— I’m forever hidden behind the mask.

My own remain safe, tucked tightly away, hidden from light.

Why do I spend my time, talent, translating other’s thoughts into English verse? Whose voice do you really hear?

I hold my poems close to my heart share them slowly, one at a time. Ten years go by and no one reads me—just my nine poetry books in translation and three dozen or so poems more.

As for me, I’m still safe. Always the translator, never the poet.

History can judge me like Malinche— she spoke for others to save her life. We know nothing of her own desires.

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