Translator’s Note

Olivia Lott

I approach translating Cote Botero’s poetry as bridge-crossing. Work like hers has been doubly underrepresented in translation: first, as a woman, given that they are far less likely to be translated into English than men (and even less frequently by a woman); and, second, as a Colombian, since poetry from the region is the second-least translated into English among all Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, no book-length translation of a Colombian woman poet has ever been published in the United States. In this sense, the choice of who to translate intends to forge links that might otherwise be ignored. Similarly, the question of how to translate this voice is anchored in ideas that have habitually been overlooked in translation studies, only recently beginning to receive the critical consideration they deserve. Among these, most prominently stands the question of gender: How can translators bring female poetic subjectivity into English? With Cote Botero’s work, the most apt metaphor is once again the bridge, the connection, a joining or multiplying of ideas. The translations following this note have a dual intention: to highlight marginalized voices and to complicate notions of how women are expected to write. They focus on understanding the ties between gender and the poetic self and, more importantly, are the result of bridge-like collaboration between poet and translator.


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