Call for papers: Coolabah

“Translating Poetry”

When translating poetry there is a tension between seeking the perfect translation and simultaneously knowing that this is not possible. It could be argued that there is no way to replicate exactly the complexity of poetry from one language to another – although it is possible to translate form, message or voice with an empathetic ear – but what happens in this liminal space where meanings meet? Poet-translators can find the act of translating opens up new spaces of experimentation and expression, stretching the rules of language in new ways as they try to find the path between languages. The space between languages can be a creative space, rather than one that is solely concerned with questions of what constitutes a correct translation.

This edition of Coolabah seeks to explore diverse approaches to translating poetry, as well as critical frameworks of thinking about the act of translation. The edition is particularly interested in non-traditional approaches to translation, considering diverse creative methodologies. Some questions that could be further explored include: Is it possible for the translator to remain invisible in the translated poetry? What happens when poetry translation becomes a collaborative process, or is conducted in a group? Is there a place for maintaining a sense of strangeness in translated poems? What is the interplay between intuition and understanding when translating poetry? Is translating poetry a political act? Is it ever possible to make a finished or complete translation of poetry, and what does this concept of a “correct” translation imply? What are the implications when a translator artistically reinterprets a poem? The edition is also interested in the wider concept of translating between cultures, between places, that happens alongside a translation of poetry. What happens in this space of transformation; what is gained and what is lost?

Deadline for full papers: 30 April 2020
Article format: 6,000 to 8,000 words
Any queries about the edition (as well as full papers) can be directed to guest editor Claire Wilson at:

Coolabah is the official journal of the Observatori: Centre d’ Estudis Australians i Transnacionals /The Australian and Transnational Studies Centre at the Universitat de Barcelona. The aim of the journal is to become an international forum for original research in the field of Australian and Transnational Studies and to be totally interdisciplinary in its content.