REPETITION NINETEEN by Mónica de la Torre
140 x 205mm, 224 pages, black and white printing on two stocks, perfect bound, 2020
At the heart of Repetition Nineteen are twenty-five unreliable translations of a poem in Mónica de la Torre’s first book, written in Spanish. She embarked on this new genre-defying project after realizing she had been living in New York for as long as she had lived in Mexico City, where she was born. The works here focus on translation as displacement, mediation, and a form of code-switching. In the latter half of the book, “Replay,” we get a glimpse of de la Torre’s translation practice in action as she invites passers-by to participate in series of translation experiments during an artist residency in Madison Square Park. Given the nativism of our current climate, both halves of Repetition Nineteen celebrate translation’s possibilities and political relevancy.
Mónica de la Torre works with and between languages. Her latest book, The Happy End/All Welcome, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, which also put out her translation of Defense of the Idol by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres in 2018. Born and raised in Mexico City, she is a contributing editor to BOMB Magazine. Recent writing appears in Artforum, A Public Space, and The Literary Review. A new book of poems and translations, Repetition Nineteen, is forthcoming from Nightboat in 2020. She has taught at Columbia and Brown University and now teaches poetry at Brooklyn College.