The Translation Forum


In 2011, the Iowa Review launched up a special online project called “The Translation Forum.” The literary magazine has always been friendly to translation–in large part because it’s based at the University of Iowa,  home to the country’s oldest MFA in literary translation and to the International Writing Program, which brings in thirty or so distinguished authors and poets from around the world to live and write in Iowa City each year.

That forum began with an essay by translator and scholar Lawrence Venuti and grew to include a number of well-argued response essays by Tim Parks, Luise von Flotow, Sidney Wade, and Russell Scott Valentino, as well as additional essays by Paul Vangelisti and Jacob Emery, and a rare interview with the prolific and venerable translator Michael Henry Heim, who died in 2012.

With the help of our contributing editor Russell Scott Valentino, who was editor of the Iowa Review when the forum project began, these important writings on translation and literature have now found a permanent home at M-Dash. We will periodically update this archive with relevant essays on translation and the literary arts. To submit a contribution to the discussion send a note to



“Towards a Translation Culture” by Lawrence Venuti  

“Mysteries of the Meta-Task” by Tim Parks

“Upgrading the Downgraded” by Luise von Flotow

“Translation Art, Translation Theory” by Sidney Wade

“On Three Cultures: Workshop, Review, Translation” by Russell Scott Valentino

“Assassins in Love: Poets as Translators” by Paul Vangelisti

“Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky and Russia’s Belated Modernism” by Jacob Emery

“A Happy Babel,” an interview with Michael Henry Heim, introduction by Russell Scott Valentino, translation by Sean Cotter

Forum Contributors’ Notes