Yvette Siegert

Yvette Siegert, BA MFA (Columbia) MA MA (Genève)

I am a second-year D.Phil candidate and Clarendon Scholar in the Sub-Faculty of Spanish, and a David Ure Scholar at Merton College, Oxford. I have a BA in comparative literature from Columbia University, where my studies were funded by a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, with additional support from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) to conduct research at the Freie Universität Berlin. After completing an MFA in poetry, also at Columbia, I worked for several years as an editor and adjunct lecturer in New York. In 2016, I moved to Switzerland and pursued an MA in English literature at the Université de Genève, where my dissertation focused on translation theory and cognition studies in the context of the Venerable Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. This was combined with a second MA, avec spécialisation, in Hispanic Studies, for which I studied pre-war versus post-war representations of San Salvador in the work of Roque Dalton, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and Jacinta Escudos.


My research at Oxford focuses on Latin American literature and geography of the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on the Colombian Caribbean. In my doctoral thesis, I examine post-Independence political, geographical, literary, and visual texts for the ways in which they represent the great colonial port of Cartagena de Indias. Authors considered for this study include Rafael Núñez, Soledad Acosta de Samper, Gabriel García Márquez, Adelayda Fernández Ochoa, Joseph Conrad, and the French anarchist geographer Elisée Reclus. Broader interests include critical geography and political philosophy; city cultures and questions of territory; contemporary poetry of the Americas; multilingualism; and the intersections between translation and cognition. My working languages are Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Latin, ancient Greek, and elementary Arabic. I am also a Ledbury Critic in the UK, as well as a CantoMundo and Macondo Fellow in the US, and have published several volumes of poetry and fiction in translation. 


I am a graduate mentor in Spanish at Merton College and coordinated the graduate mentoring scheme in the faculty. Previous teaching experience includes leading poetry seminars and workshops in creative writing, at the Graduate School of the Arts, Columbia University, as well as “Great Works I-II,” a yearlong introductory seminar in world literatures, at Baruch College, City University of New York. I received a TEFL/TESOL qualification (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, CELTA) from Cambridge English Language Assessment and Teaching House New York, and have taught Spanish and English language and EAP to students of all levels. 

Selected Conference and Seminar Papers

  • ‘Walking in Cartagena de Indias: Ruby Rumié’s Urban Cartographies in Tejiendo calle/Weaving Streets (2017)’, Voice and Vulnerability, Medieval and Modern Languages Graduate Conference, University of Oxford; Oxford, UK, 6 February 2021.
  • ‘Cartagena de Indias and the Rhetoric of the Regeneración’, Latin American Centre, University of Oxford; Oxford, UK, 20 November 2020.
  • ‘Clinical Trials: Translating Chantal Maillard’s Killing Plato’. Translation is/in/as World Literature: The Hermeneutic Model. American Comparative Literature Association, Chicago, IL, USA, 20 March 2020. Canceled.
  • “La ciudad elíptica: San Salvador y la formación de la nación descentralizada.” Re-mapeando la ciudad letrada (chair). Latin American Studies Association, Barcelona, Spain, 25 May 2018.
  • “Gesture and the Poetics of Transformation in Chantal Maillard’s Matar a Platón.” Women Translating Women: Gender and Translation. American Literary Translators Association, Minneapolis, MN, USA, 7 October 2017.
  • “Haunted Texts: Translating Intertextuality in Alejandra Pizarnik’s Bloody Countess.” Sensuality, the Body, and the Quest for Authenticity in Translation. Association of Writers and Publishers, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 30 March 2016.
  • “Alaíde Foppa: Exile, Translation, Activism.” Translation and Exile. Centre for Literature in Translation. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, 10-11 December 2015.
  • “Forgetting Language: Translating Diana’s Tree, by Alejandra Pizarnik.” Oxford Centre for Comparative Criticism & Translation (OCCT), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 26 February 2015. Revised version: https://bit.ly/2RYg1GW
  • “Nearly Extinct: Translating the Myth of Brasília in Two Short Works of Clarice Lispector and Sylvia Plath.” Capitals. American Comparative Literature Association, New York University, New York, NY, USA, 23 March 2014.
  • “Hobbes and Translation.” Seminar. Contemporary Civilization, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, 25 November 2013.
  • “Esta melodía rota: la música y la traducción en la poesía dialogal de Alejandra Pizarnik.” Colloque international Alejandra Pizarnik. Bilans et perspectives. Maison de la Recherche, Université de Paris—Sorbonne (Paris IV), Paris, France, 27-28 November 2012.


Book-Length Literary Translations (selected)
  • Of Circle and Ash: Selected Poems, by Piedad Bonnett. Under review.
  • The Abyss, by Fernando Vallejo. Forthcoming.
  • The Bloody Countess and Other Works, by Alejandra Pizarnik. Forthcoming, New Directions.
  • Sky under Construction: Selected Poems, by Ana Gorría. Forthcoming.
  • Killing Plato, by Chantal Maillard. New York: New Direction, 2020.
  • The Reef, by Juan Villoro. New York: George Braziller, 2017.
  • Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962-1972, by Alejandra Pizarnik. New York: New Directions, 2016. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. 2017 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry.
  • Diana’s Tree, by Alejandra Pizarnik. New York: Ugly Duckling Press, 2014. PEN Heim/New York State Council on the Arts Award.
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