Rachel Galvin

Rachel Galvin
Associate Professor
  • Department of English
  • Department of Comparative Literature
  • Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
  • Associate Director of the Program in Creative Writing
Walker 511
rachelgalvin@uchicago.edu

I am a scholar, poet, and translator specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century comparative poetics in English, Spanish, and French. My research and teaching interests include comparative modernisms, hemispheric studies, U.S. Latinx literature, wartime literature, multilingual poetics, the Oulipo, and translation theory and practice.

My book News of War: Civilian Poetry 1936-1945 is an account of how civilian poets confront the problem of writing about war. The six poets I discuss—W. H. Auden, Marianne Moore, Raymond Queneau, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and César Vallejo—all wrote memorably about war, but still they felt they did not have authority to write about what they had not experienced firsthand. Consequently, these writers developed a wartime poetics engaging with both classical rhetoric and the daily news in texts that encourage readers to take critical distance from war culture. News of War focuses on civilian literatures of the Spanish Civil War and World War II, with an epilogue on contemporary poetry published in the U.S. about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout News of War, I read noncombatant poetry as war poetry, aiming to contribute to the growing critical tendency to include civilian writing in the canon of twentieth-century war literature. I have published a number of articles related to this project; and co-edited a volume of essays on W.H. Auden, with Bonnie Costello, titled Auden at Work (2015).

In my new book project on U.S. Latinx poetry and hemispheric poetics, I am exploring connections among poets and works throughout the Americas, tracing how dialogues across linguistic and regional boundaries have been crucial for the development of U.S. Latinx poetry. The Latinx poetry I examine ranges from early twentieth-century works through contemporary experimental poetries whose strategies involve performance, digital technologies, code-switching, and code-mixing (or Spanglish).

I maintain an active creative practice that involves publishing, performing, reviewing, and translating poetry, as well as collaborating on creative translation projects. My collections of poetry include Elevated Threat Level (2018), which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Alice James Books’ Kinereth Genseler Award, Pulleys & Locomotion (2009), and a chapbook, Zoetrope (2006). My poems and translations appear in journals such as Bennington Review, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, LARB, McSweeney’s, The Nation, The New Yorker, PN Review, Poetry, and Words without Borders, and are included in Best American Experimental Writing 2020 and The Penguin Book of Oulipo. My poems have been translated into Spanish, French, Romanian, Chinese, and Hebrew, read on WNYC and the BBC, and projected via video at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris and displayed in the 2018 São Paulo Biennial.

My translation of Raymond Queneau’s Hitting the Streets won the 2014 Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation and was named one of the year’s best poetry books by the Boston Globe. Decals: Complete Early Poetry of Oliverio Girondo, which I translated with Harris Feinsod, was a Finalist for the 2018 National Translation Award. My translation of Alejandro Albarrán Polanco’s Cowboy & Other Poems will be published in December 2019. I’m a founding member of the Outranspo, an international creative translation collective.

Before joining the faculty at University of Chicago, I was an NEH/Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at The Newberry Library and an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Humanities Center of The Johns Hopkins University, where I was affiliated with the interdisciplinary “Concepts of Diaspora” research cluster.

I am an Associate Literature Editor for ASAP/Journal, the journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.


Sample of Courses Taught



Graduate: Hemispheric Studies; Poetry of the Americas; Contemporary Latino/a Poetry; From Baroque to Neo-Baroque Poetry (CDI Seminar)

Undergraduate: Poetry of the Americas; Introduction to Poetry; Witnessing War; Poetry and the Human (Core)

Selected Publications

Books

Poetry Collections, Chapbooks, Translations

Selected Articles and Essays

  • “Race,” Wallace Stevens in Context, ed. Glen MacLeod, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, 286-296.
  • “'This Song Is for My Foe': Olive Senior and Terrance Hayes Rewrite Wallace Stevens,” in Poetry and Poetics after Wallace Stevens, ed. Bart Eeckhout and Lisa Goldfarb. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017, 229-243.
  • “Form Has Its Reasons: Translation and Copia,” MLN 131.4 (Sept. 2016) 846-863.
  • “Gertrude Stein, Pétain, and the Politics of Translation.” ELH 83.1 (Spring 2016), 259-292.
  • “Cannibalizing Modern Poetry in the Americas,” Modernism/modernity, March 2016. Web.
  • “Acts de fundación de l’Outranspo,” with co-authors Camille Bloomfield and Pablo Ruiz, MLN, 131.4 (September 2016), 985-992.
  • “Auden’s 1939 Journal: A Wartime Writer at Work,” Auden at Work. Ed. Bonnie Costello and Rachel Galvin. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, 24-48.
  • “The Guilt of the Noncombatant and W.H. Auden’s ‘Journal of an Airman,’” War and Literature. Ed. Laura Ashe and Ian Patterson. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2014, 205-227.
  • “Poetic Innovation and Appropriative Translation in the Americas,” The Blackwell Companion to Translation Studies. Ed. Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, March 2014, 362-374.
  • “Poetry Is Theft,” Comparative Literature Studies, 51.1 (February 2014) 18-54.
  • “Lyric Backlash: Thoughts on the Oulipo and César Vallejo in Response to Calvin Bedient’s Complaint,” Boston Review, February 2014.
  • “Brassage, bilinguisime, stéréoscopie: Les voyages américains de Paul Fournel,” Paul Fournel: Liberté sous contrainte. Ed. Camille Bloomfield, Alain Romestaing, Alain Schaffner. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2014, 135-141.
  • “Stevens, Auden: Whose Age Was It Anyway—and Why Do We Care?” Wallace Stevens Journal 37.2 (Fall 2013) 155-166.
  • “Gertrude Stein Anew: On Stanzas in Meditation,” Jacket 2, November 12, 2013.
  • “‘Less Neatly Measured Common Places’: Stevens’ Wartime Poetics,” Wallace Stevens Journal 37.1 (Spring 2013) 24-48.
  • “La passion encyclopédique: Raymond Queneau,” Le Magazine littéraire 523 (Sept 2012): 64-66.
  • “Queneau, les Exercices et les Accords de Munich,” Queneau de guerre en guerre, special issue of Revue d’études sur Raymond Queneau, no. 62-63, Paris: Editions Calliopées (July 2011): 47-57.
  • “El ‘Gran Silencio’ de Alejandra Pizarnik,” Mujeres que escriben en América Latina, ed. Sara Beatriz Guardia. Lima, Peru: CEMHAL, 2007, 365-371.

Education

PhD, Princeton University, 2010. Teaching at Chicago since 2015.