Simon Everett

University of Essex

Project Title: Drifter in the wilderness: An examination of the migration of meaning and dispersal of trace in revisioning translation

My creative/critical thesis examines original poetic creativity in relation to translation process, theory and literary theory; it is concerned with the migration and interpretation of meaning and form between source texts, original translations and new creative work. Using Jacques Derrida’s concept of trace as a foundation, it argues that there is now a shift from the ‘source author – translator – translation’ paradigm towards that of ‘source author’s vision – translator’s vision – original poetic work’ and that this is now central to our understanding of modern forms of creative translation practice. Poetic works such as Jack Spicer’s After Lorca and Stephen Rodefer’s Villon by Jean Calais imitate, interpret translations of and form dialogue with the poets they are translating; thus, the boundary between original creativity and translation is distorted: where does originality begin and translation end? I propose that established definitions of translation in relation to creative writing are increasingly redundant as the necessity for ‘literal’, ‘accurate’ translation lessens, and that the importance of this for language and the practice of creative writing is dependent upon originality laid over a source author’s vision; variations on an intertextual, base theme; sequences that are derived from the original text’s structure or scaffolding that holds together a new piece of creative work, pertinent to the palimpsestic nature of Derridean trace.

Supervised by Professor Philip Terry.

Research Interests

Simon Everett’s areas of research interest are modernist, postmodern and avant-garde poetry; translation theory, process and experimental forms of poetic translation, such as ‘versioning’ and ‘imitation’. His thesis examines how translation can be used in the genesis of new creative work. As a poet, Simon’s aesthetic has roots in projective verse, the Black Mountain poets and British Poetry Revival movement, lyric poetry and ballad forms; he is also influenced by ancient and imperial Chinese poetry, philosophy and literature. His poetry has been anthologised and his work translating the T’ang Dynasty poet Hanshan (Cold Mountain) has appeared in Stand magazine.

You can find out more about Simon on his University of Essex research profile: