Based on slippages between languages and irreverent approaches to translation, the poems in Repetition Nineteen riff on creative misunderstanding in response to the prevailing political discourse.
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.
This book is a playful, warm, smart and simplemente pinche genial exploration of language via translation –its rhythms, shortcomings, architectures, and possibilities. Mónica de la Torre’s bilingual brain allows no room for platitude or complacency, and reawakens our curiosity for everything it contemplates.
Repetition Nineteen is an interactive book of opportunity and possibility, a spirited exploration of the cultural differences of the use of language. How much is too much or too little to speak or write, or is this unquantifiable and more dependent on what is said? Which parts of a work should we illuminate or eliminate to convey a certain effect? Language in any form is a versatile gift, and de la Torre presents it to us, wraps and unwraps it, each time with a new balance and resonance.