This essay considers translingualism as a distinct category of multilingualism, “a significant political-aesthetic formation in U.S. literature” (Juliana Spahr). While some multilingual poems attempt to bring together languages and cultures through an assortment of formal and verbal effects, in poems like Lorna Dee Cervantes’s “Poema para los Californios Muertos,” Eduardo C. Corral’s “In Colorado My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes,” Li-Young Lee’s “Persimmons,” Cathy Park Hong’s “All the Aphrodisiacs,” and Mark Nowak’s poetic sequence “The Pain-Dance Begins,” such fusions are not easily attained. These translingual poems insist on the incompatibility of languages and cultures, with non-English elements (Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Polish) marking spaces of conflict rather than contact. Through disruption and dissonance, they illustrate how the experience of language—or more precisely languages—shapes personal and social relationships in the United States.
"Ghosts and Anchors: Translingualism in Contemporary U.S. Poetry,"
Criticism: Vol. 63
, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol63/iss3/3