Sarah Dowling’s book: Translingual Poetics


A book by Professor Sarah Dowling has appeared:

Translingual Poetics: Writing Personhood Under Settler Colonialism (2018)

From the University of Iowa Press website:

“This lively, enlightening, and politically engaged study challenges the English-language nativism that undergirds liberal multiculturalism. The book explores multilingual poetry beginning with women of color feminists’ poems written in the 1980s and ending with twenty-first-century experimental writing as they develop a multilingual poetics of (dis)location.”

—Rafael Pérez-Torres, University of California, Los Angeles

Since the 1980s, poets in Canada and the U.S. have increasingly turned away from the use of English, bringing multiple languages into dialogue—and into conflict—in their work.

The first book-length study on the subject, Translingual Poetics argues for an urgent rethinking of Canada and the U.S.’s multiculturalist myths. Dowling demonstrates that rising multilingualism in both countries is understood as new and as an effect of cultural shifts toward multiculturalism and globalization.

Reading a range of poets whose work contests this “settler monolingualism”—Jordan Abel, Layli Long Soldier, Myung Mi Kim, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, M. NourbeSe Philip, Rachel Zolf, Cecilia Vicuña, and others—Dowling argues that translingual poetry documents the flexible forms of racialization innovated by North American settler colonialisms. Combining deft close readings of poetry with innovative analyses of media, film, and government documents, Dowling shows that translingual poetry’s avoidance of authentic, personal speech reveals the differential forms of personhood and non-personhood imposed upon the settler, the native, and the alien.

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