Readings by: Rebecca Martin
Rebecca Martin is a graduating senior in the Department of English (poetry track) and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program with a minor in Spanish. Originally from Southwest Ohio, she has been studying and producing creative writing since 2008, and has been published in both The Original Magazine and Spill: A Queer Arts Magazine, in addition to taking part in local poetry readings, since starting her undergraduate career at Pitt.
During Martin's residency this term, she had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Rachel Bezanson, in addition to meeting with other artists and advisors participating in the program. In her original proposal, she was concerned with approaching both this creative project and the process of residency itself as an act of listening. The ways in which communication worked, or failed, seemed to be a process of translation, and that act of translation would be where poems materialize. In her talks about the universe, the formation and death of galaxies, and sometimes unanswerable cosmic questions, Martin realized that her approach, while theoretically sufficient, was too clear-cut for the sorts of creative work that emerged as a result of this residency. Communication and the ways in which we translate not only the universe but the ways in which we speak to one another do not simply fail or succeed, and there are no perfect translations.
In this collection, Martin grapples with the language used for the universal and for ourselves, and the ways in which distant galaxies are at once wholly untranslatable and a way that we come to understand ourselves. As in all her writing, she is committed to the idea that the personal is political and, in this case, the universal is inextricably tied up in what it means to be human. In this collection, which has "translation" in the title, Martin hopes less to assert that what she has written is a correct or complete translation and more to ask questions about the language used with one another, and how our understands, and maybe more importantly, misunderstandings, of the universe are informed by the personal, the political, and perhaps something less easily defined.
Massive and Newly Dead: An Act of Translation