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Challenging Tongues: The “Irreducible Hybridity” of Language in Contemporary Bilingual Poetry


Published: May 1, 2012
Keywords:
poetry language bilingual poetry bilingual bilingualism translation
Laura Pfeffer
Abstract
Contemporary bilingual poetry provides readers with an opportunity to explore and better understand how contemporary artists address the reality of their linguistic contexts. These works pose a challenge to traditional canonical (often national) literatures; furthermore, bilingual poets are keenly attuned to the ways language use represents the personal and political values at stake for their cultures. Bilingual poetry functions as a site of translation where languages interact within the text without traditional demarcations of original and translated text, representing a larger ideological challenge to institutional hierarchies that are often imposed on language. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Internet has fostered bilingual poetry; the quality and proliferation of these works emphasise the need for more critical recognition of this form of expression. The friction, fluidity, cacophony, and subversive impulse of bilingual poetry embodies the convergence of enmity and rapport experienced by the very real speech communities that give them context.
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Author Biography
Laura Pfeffer
Laura Pfeffer is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at Arizona State University. Her research interests include twentieth-century British Literature, Contemporary British Literature, Bilingual Literature and Translation Studies, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies
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