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Does translation distract you from your own work or does it enrich it? The wording of your question presupposes an antagonistic approach to those two facets writer and translator rather than a more complimentary one more yin yang or at least push-pull. But the two are more like heads and tails of the same coin for me, rather than one taking away from the other, and unquestionably the translation I do enriches my writing in both English and Spanish, which are the two languages I create in and the primary languages I translate between and hopefully my experience as a writer adds nuance and texture to the translations I create.
Some writing teachers recommend reading your text aloud as a way of self-editing. Self-translation takes this a step further.
And one of the things I love about translating is how with each project you wind up learning about something new, investigating a new set of vocabulary or ideas. And as my income sources have shifted, where I now earn more money from translating instead of writing, this allows me the freedom to write less commercial things poetry, say than when I was keeping a roof over my head exclusively through my own writing. While some arguments could be made for including both gay and lesbian poets in the same volume, to explore the similarities and differences between those non-heterosexual identities, from the point of view of bringing world gay or lesbian voices to a larger readership, it is probably best to split the project into separate volumes.
While there is often common political cause among LGBT people and in fighting homophobia and transphobia, when it comes to reading tastes, experience has often proven that the market for a separate gay or lesbian book is larger than for a co-gendered project. So that seems to make more sense, both from a publishing standpoint trying to make the project not lose money as well as from the point of view of getting these voices to as broad an English-language readership as possible.
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Why gay and lesbian poetry? What characterizes gay poetry?
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Sexual orientation of the poet or content? Does gay and lesbian poetry mostly equal homoerotic poetry? A lot depends on whether one looks at the question from the point of view of the author or the reader. Hence some of our questions as to how we wish to frame these collections. This is one of the reasons I love anthologies, as a vehicle for bringing together a diversity of voices, issues, point of view, all under a common theme or umbrella, whether this is thematic, geographic, linguistic, etc.
And questions of our identities, sexual and otherwise, affect both how we write and who we are writing for. And who we are writing for will also often affect how we write — especially when it comes to non-mainstream identities.
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Many gay or lesbian writers do censor themselves, in what they choose to write about and how they choose to write it, in order to appease or not offend the heteronormative critical gaze. Or for fear of their very lives and livelihoods in many countries with repressive attitudes toward homosexuals, like present day Russia. Others, in turn, use poetry to rebel openly against heteronormativity — whether using patriarchal forms to express very queer content, or breaking down patriarchal language and forms with new queer poetics.
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Pomosexuals Challenging Assumptions about Gender & Sexuality
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