Watershed Reading: Whirlwind World Poetry Tour

A fast-paced evening of poems from Uruguay and Poland

Join our whirlwind world poetry tour: a lively evening of poetry from two new anthologies, América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets and Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets. The editors of the anthologies, Jesse Lee Kercheval and Karen Kovacik, host a reading that will build bridges between countries and languages. The editors, translator Catherine Jagoe, local poets and UW MFA students will read poems from the anthologies. Kercheval and Kovacik will share stories from the front line of translating, of two very different countries and languages—and bring along some food and drink to share too!

America invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets, edited by Jesse Lee Kercheval, introduces twenty-two Uruguayan poets under the age of forty to English-speaking audiences for the first time. Kercheval pairs poets and translators to produce a rich volume based on a multicultural dialogue about poetry and the written word.

“This anthology is a gorgeous bridge to Uruguay. The emerging generation of poets is bold and ambitious; their poems explore and expand the lyric. Deftly curated by Jesse Lee Kercheval, América invertida is an important contribution to world literature.” - Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning

“This superbly edited anthology breaks new ground. North Americans and Anglophones with diverse interests will come to this trove of new writing with gratitude. Not only have we lacked access to this era of Uruguayan poetry, but the poems themselves are brilliant—and the translations crisp and surefooted.” - Peter Thompson, translator of Nabile Farès’s Escuchando tu historia

“These poets are mystic, down-to-earth, demanding, reserved, ecstatic, intimate, and prophetic, turn by turn by turn. The poet-translators who bring them into English perform correspondingly modest or audacious sleights of hand. . . . One feels briefly enveloped in these poets’ iridescing wings and is left with keener eyes to trace their rising, particular flights.” - Joyelle Mcsweeney, author of The Red Bird

Scattering the Dark, edited by Karen Kovacik, offers a lively selection of over thirty of Poland's women poets writing before and after the fall of communism.

"Wow! What a book! The tradition of women's writing that flows out of the work of Symborska and Anna Swir—the way this mighty tradition turns in the hands of a younger generation from the traumatic history of their country to a poetics of everyday life, of play, and experiment. An absolutely rich and appealing book." - Robert Hass

"These cosmopolitan, multilingual poets speak to us across the decades, overcoming a great silence, redirecting the myths, reimagining the role of the poet, and the nature of poetry itself. Scattering the Dark is a useful, subversive, even necessary anthology." - Edward Hirsch

Wisconsin Poet and Writer Jesse Lee Kercheval

Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author of fourteen books of fiction, memoir and poetry and also a translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. Her translations include The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and Fable of an Inconsolable Man, by Javier Etchevarren. She is the editor of the anthologies Earth, Water and Sky: An Bilingual Anthology of Environmental Poetry and América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets. She is currently the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is the Director of the Program in Creative Writing.

Karen Kovacik poet translator

Karen Kovacik is a poet and translator of contemporary Polish poetry. Her poetry books include Metropolis Burning, Beyond the Velvet Curtain, winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize; and Nixon and I. Her translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist,  longlisted for the 2014 National Translation Award, is available from White Pine Press, and in 2016, White Pine published Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets, edited and selected by her. She’s Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she teaches creative writing and American poetry. She has received a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland and a Fellowship in Literary Translation from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Summer gallery hours are Wednesday-Friday 12-5pm and Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.

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