In this article, the author analyzes the life between the text and the world by comparing the evolving translational history of the poems of the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957) in English. She argues that comparing the Nobel laureate Mistral’s “translatability” synchronically and diachronically pluralizes (un) translatability in literary systems in terms of gender, race, genre, translation, and international movements. The essay examines the role of American poets-cum-translators such as Langston Hughes and Ursula Le Guin in creating and subverting Mistral’s poetics in the original and in the translation. She concludes the article by advocating that any discussion of world poetry, whether in English or otherwise, requires readers to be sensitive toward the language of translation as well as the language of the original, thereby opening avenues for a comparative poetics in world poetry.

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