Poet’s Platform: Jacqueline Balderrama

This recurring column highlights the work and lives of our poets beyond their Perugia Press books, whether it be teaching or other creative professional pursuits, visual artistry, community involvements, activism, their reading suggestions, and/or their current writing projects, processes, and proclivities. The fourth installment comes from Jacqueline Balderrama (Now in Color, 2020), who writes about a new project she leads as the Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence at Arizona State University—Thousand Languages—and its upcoming virtual launch celebration on October 25th, which is free and open to the public.

“I’m thrilled to use this platform to help promote the work of writers and translators I’ve been working with the past year and a half and to extend an invitation to our upcoming launch on October 25, 2022 and other involvement opportunities.” – Jacqueline Balderrama

About Thousand Languages

Thousand Languages is a living, ever-developing database featuring translations of work previously published in the MFA student-run literary journal Hayden’s Ferry Review (HFR) transformed from its original English into manifold world languages. 

As far as we know this project is the first of its kind to revitalize a literary journal archive in this way. HFR’s back issues span thirty-plus years, and Thousand Languages allows us to extend our commitment to good writing, HFR’s past and current contributors, and our multilingual audience. Through this project, we work to increase accessibility to literature, promote cultural exchange, and connect people across disciplines, communities, and the world through a living database of translations. 

Thousand Languages began three years ago, a concept originated by Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Ríos, with the aim of presenting the human voice in all its manifestations and exploring the art and scholarship of literary translation at Arizona State University. As the current Virginia G. Piper Center Fellow-in-Residence, I lead the project, coordinating its activities and events and managing the student internships and website. So much of my work this year has been bringing the project into the public eye. The site went live earlier this year and will soon host our second installment of translations by interns I had the pleasure of working with over the spring and summer. With these additions, languages represented on the site will include Chinese, French, Greek, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, and Urdu. We look forward to adding much more!

Celebrate the Thousand Languages Project Virtual Launch

Tuesday Oct. 25, 2022, 5:30-7pm AZ / Location: Online (Zoom Webinar) / Price: Free and open to the public; registration required 

Join us for a night of cross-cultural dialogue and a look into this exciting new project. The event will include readings from returning HFR contributors Jenny Yang Cropp and Erika Eckart and translators Belén Agustina Sánchez, Shahzadi Laibah Burq, Laura Dicochea, Asna Nusrat, and Gina Scarpete Walters. Discussion and Q&A to follow moderated by HFR translation editor Nicole Arocho Hernández. 

Event attendees will be entered into a drawing for Jenny Yang Cropp’s poetry collection String Theory, HFR issues, and more! In the meanwhile, download a free PDF of Erika Eckart’s poetry collection The Tyranny of Heirlooms

This event is part of the HFR Fall Language Series made possible by AZ Humanities. We hope you’ll join us. 

Opportunity to Translate

Lastly, if you are a translator and would like to contribute to Thousand Languages by translating a poem or story from English into a language of your choosing, please visit our website for more details on the work. We would love to get in touch with you.