10/6/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Dr. Jennifer Rathbun, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, has released her most recent book-length poetry translation, titled “Santuarios Desierto Mar/Sanctuaries Desert Sea” by Mexican author Juan Armando Rojas Joo.
Artepoética Press, a bilingual, Hispanic publishing house based in New York City, published the work. It will officially launch the collection at the upcoming conference, "The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2015" on Oct. 14-16.
Dr. Rathbun’s work as a translator forms part of a crucial component of intellectual exchange and development in our globalized world and it reflects her language proficiency, detailed knowledge of historical, sociopolitical and literary contexts and a poetic sense of style in both Spanish and English.
This is Dr. Rathbun’s ninth book and eighth full-length poetry translation. Editorial Ultramarina in Seville, Spain, published two of her translations in 2013: Era hombre, era mito, era bestía/Man Myth Beast by Ivan Vergara and Luz/Light by Juan Armando Rojas Joo.
The Bitter Oleander Press in New York released Dr. Rathbun’s translation of Tras el rayo/ Afterglow by Alberto Blanco in 2011. In 2009, Pecan Grove Press published her translation of Río vertebral/Vertebral River also by Rojas Joo. Ceremonial de viento/ Ceremonial of Wind, by Rojas Joo, was printed by La Cuadrilla de la Langosta in Mexico City in 2006.
Additionally, Rathbun is coeditor of the anthologies of poetry Sangre mía / Blood of Mine: Poetry of Border Violence, Gender and Identity in Ciudad Juárez (2013) and Canto a una ciudad en el desierto (2004). Dr. Rathbun has published 32 of her poetic translations of Mexican authors in prestigious national and international journals.
The book and translation have received high praise from many, including Dr. Charles Tatum, professor of Latin American and U.S. Latino literature and popular culture at the University of Arizona. He noted, “Juan Armando Rojas Joo has created a stunning collection of poems in which he evokes in a panoramic fashion the mysterious and mythic beauty and inherent danger of the astonishing sweep of the great deserts that dominate the landscape of so much of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. While he includes references to the physical topography of the deserts and the flora and fauna that inhabit them, his intent is to chronicle the ancient civilizations such as that Paquimé in the state of Chihuahua that thrived as a vigorous religious, cultural, and commercial crossroads for centuries, and to draw on these civilizations for sustenance in a contemporary world. The reader catches glimpse of those peoples moving inexorably north in search of an illusory promised land all the while struggling to survive the indignities and cruelties of such a trek, but also finding shelter and sustenance in the sanctuaries that the deserts afford them just as they have for the millennia of human migrations. This is in keeping with the title, “Santuarios desierto mar,” that sets a tone for the seeming paradoxes, or at least the jarring contrasts, that form the backdrop for many of the poems. The translations by Jennifer Rathbun that are sensitively rendered succeed in capturing the spirit of the, sometimes opaque, imagery and nuanced language of the original Spanish. She reflects a deep familiarity with poetry in both languages.”
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