Multilingual Poetics

February 6th, 2018: Alexandra Petrova

Alexandra Petrova was born in St. Petersburg when it still was called Leningrad. She studied Russian language and literature at the University of Tartu (where she attende Yuri Lotman's seminar on 19th century literature), writing a thesis on the prose of Leonid Dobychin. In 1993 she immigrated to Jerusalem, where she studied art history at Hebrew University. Since 1998 she has lived in Rome. Petrova is the author of three volumes of poetry: Point of Detachment [Liniia otryva] (1994), Permit to Live [Vid na zhitel'stvo], with an introduction by Alexandr Goldshtejn (1999), and Only the Trees [Tolko derevia], with an introduction by Stephanie Sandler (2008). She has also published Dolly's Shepherds [Pastukhi Dolly] a philosophical operetta in ten acts (2001). In 2016 she published a novel, Appendix. She has written essays on contemporary art and literary criticism, translated from Italian poetry for magazines and the philosopher Paolo Virno's Grammatica della moltitudine. Per una analisi delle forme di vita contemporanee (2003). Her works have appeared in leading Russian literary journals, such as Znamia, Zerkalo, Zvezda, NLO, as well as in many anthologies and took part in many International festivals of literature. She was short-listed for the Andrei Bely Prize for poetry in 1999 and 2008, and in 2016 she won it in the prose category for Appendix (also short-listed for the NOS Prize and included in the long-list for the Bolshaja kniga, Russkaja Premia and Alexandr Piatigorsky Prizes).

January 17, 2017: ALAN BERNHEIMER

Alan Bernheimer's translation of Philippe Soupault's, Lost Profiles: A Memoir of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism, was published in November by City Lights, a retrospective of a crucial period in modernism, written by a co-founder of the Surrealist movement. Opening with a reminiscence of the international Dada movement in the late 1910s and its transformation into the beginnings of Surrealism, Lost Profiles proceeds to usher its readers into encounters with expected figures such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, and with unexpected ones such as Marcel Proust and James Joyce. Bernheimer's most recent poetry collection is The Spoonlight Institute, published by Adventures in Poetry in 2009. He has lived in the Bay Area since the late 1970s, where he was active in Poets Theater and produced a radio program, "In the American Tree," of new writing by poets. He has also translated works by Robert Desnos and Valery Larbaud.


This reading is part of the Writers Without Borders series.

Pierre Joris, while raised in Luxembourg, has moved between Europe, the U.S. & North Africa for half a century now, publishing close to 50 books of poetry, essays, translations and anthologies. Forthcoming in early 2016 is An American Suite (poems) from Inpatient Press. In 2014 he published Barzakh — Poems 2000-2012 (Black Widow Press); Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) which received the 2015 ALTA National Translation Award; A Voice full of Cities: The Collected Essays of Robert Kelly (co-edited with Peter Cockelbergh, Contra Mundum Press); and Bernat Manciet’s Ode to James Dean (co-translated from Occitan with Nicole Peyrafitte; mindmade books). 2013 had brought Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press & The University of California Book of North African Literature (vol. 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour (UCP). 2011 saw the publication of Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, edited by Peter Cockelbergh, with essays on Joris’ work by, among others, Mohamed Bennis, Charles Bernstein, Nicole Brossard, Clayton Eshleman, Allen Fisher, Christine Hume, Robert Kelly, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jennifer Moxley, Jean Portante, Carrie Noland, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff & Nicole Peyrafitte (Litteraria Pragensia, Charles University, Prague, 2011). Other recent books include Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited, introduced & translated by Pierre Joris (Black Widow Press, 2012); The Meridian: Final Version—Drafts—Materials by Paul Celan (Stanford U.P. 2011) which received the 2012 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work; Justifying the Margins: Essays 1990-2006 (Salt Books); Aljibar I & II (Poems, Editions PHI). Further translations include Paul Celan: Selections (UC Press) & Lightduress by Paul Celan which received the 2005 PEN Poetry Translation Award. With Jerome Rothenberg he edited Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 & 2: The University of California Books of Modern & Postmodern Poetry. Pierre Joris lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife, performance artist Nicole Peyrafitte. Check out his website & Nomadics Blog.

Nicole Peyrafitte is a pluridisciplinary artist born and raised in the Gascony part of the French Pyrenees & residing in Brooklyn with poet Pierre Joris with whom she often collaborates, as she does tonight. Her texts, voice-work, paintings, videos, & (on occasion) her cooking are displayed in a range of multi-lingual & multi-faceted performances. Peyrafitte’s work is informed & characterized by a daily practice — a quest for life in art and art in life between two continents & four languages. Her latest projects are: Things Fall Where They Lie a docu-vérité film in pre-production; LandscOpe a collection of texts & photographs— publication 2016. Recent publications include Bi-Valve : Vulvic Space/Vulvic Knowledge, 17 paintings, 17 multilingual texts, 1 recipe & 1 CD (Stockport Flats, 2013). She has performed all over the world, including at The Metropolitan Museum (NYC), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Poets House (NYC), The Poetry Project (NYC), Beyond Baroque (L.A), Bard College (N.Y), Bergen University (Norway), Birbeck College at the University of London (UK), University of Edinburgh (UK), Center for Contemporary Art Glasgow (UK), Festival Occitania & Cave Poésie (Toulouse-France), Estivada de Rodez (France), the Universities of Bordeaux & Angoulème (France); Festival Des Voix Vives de Sète (France), Festival des Voix de la Méditerranée, Lodève (France), Université de Bruxelles (Belgium), and Anthology Film Archives (NYC). In 2012 she wrote & co-directed the documentary film Basil King: MIRAGE with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. For more information:

October 28, 2015: PETER COLE

On October 28th, the Arts Cafe of the Kelly Writers House filled with poets, friends, students, and expats for a reading and conversation with poet/translator Peter Cole, the first in the new program series, Multilingual Poetics. The series coordinator, Ariel Resnikoff, a PhD Student in Penn’s Comparative Literature department and a poet and translator in his own right, introduced Cole and led the post-reading discussion. Ariel struck up a correspondence with Cole after reading his work while studying and writing on a fellowship in Israel, and, as Ariel says, “feeling a kinship” with Cole’s work. They met on a rainy day in Jerusalem shortly afterwards. Cole, whose awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation, writes that Hebrew became for him “what Arabic was for the Jewish poets of Spain: the way out that led, curiously, in.”

Excerpt above taken from DoubleSpeak Magazine, a KWH funded project. To read more about the event, click here.