Note to the Reader: Alexis Almeida, John Keene, and David Larsen

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The third in a series of programs devoted to translation, Note to the Reader takes the translator’s introduction, preface, or note, as the starting point for conversation. How do translators use the space of the note or the introduction to position themselves in relation to the translated text? How might the translator’s introduction open a space for engaging process, poetics, and politics?

Alexis Almeida, John Keene, and David Larsen read from their own introductions and notes, alongside those of others, and join in a conversation moderated by Friday Night Series Curators Mirene Arsanios and Rachel Valinsky.

Alexis Almeida

Alexis Almeida grew up in Chicago. She is the author of I Have Never Been Able to Sing (Ugly Ducking Presse, 2018), and most recently the translator Dalia Rosetti’s Dreams and Nightmares (Les Figues, 2019) and Marina Yuszczuk’s Single Mother (Spork, 2019). Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Folder, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Tripwire and elsewhere. She currently teaches at the Bard Microcollege at the Brooklyn Public Library and runs 18 Owls Press.

John Keene

John Keene‘s recent books include the story collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015), and several books of poetry. He also has translated the Brazilian author Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat Books, 2014). His recent honors include an American Book Award and Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, as well as a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He chairs the department of African American and African Studies, and teaches English and creative writing at Rutgers University-Newark.

Photo: Marc Schachter

David Larsen

David Larsen is a US poet and scholar of Islamic literature. His translations from Arabic have appeared in Denver QuarterlyCambridge Literary Review, and the Poetry Project Newsletter, and the 2018 Harold Morton Landon Award went to his translation of Ibn Khalawayh’s Names of the Lion (Wave Books). David Larsen lives in New York City, blogs at, and teaches at NYU.

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