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PRS Asia PhD Examination - Joshua Ip (School of Media and Communication - RMIT University)

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Translating Myself - PhD Examination by Joshua Ip

When we think of poetic translation, we think of the act of “carrying across” a poem from one language to another. We often omit that the gap we are carrying across does not just consist of the distance between languages, but also all of the complex elements that make up culture: beliefs, values hierarchies, references, systems of knowledge and more. Coming to terms with the massive gulf that we are carrying poetry across allows one to think about alternate gulfs to attempt: leaping across time instead of across language; carrying across the sound of a poem rather than a fragile idea; or examining how multiple simultaneous carryings-across change the translation of poetry. 

This practice-led PhD takes the form of a critical dissertation (Volume 1) alongside a folio of creative works (Volume 2). In engaging in creative poetic translative practices such as anachronistic translation, form-for-form translation, and repeated/crowd translation, I hope to envision how acts of translation can constitute a poetic practice that speaks to and from the multilingual, multicultural realities of Singapore and the Singapore Chinese identity. I also hope to provide new opportunities for translators and poets by looking at poetry translation through the filter of other parts of my practice, which have evolved in parallel with my PRS journey of the last six years. 

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