Multilingual negotiations: the place and significance of translation in multilingual poetry


  • Nadia Niaz University of Melbourne



multilingual poetry, code-mixing, markedness


Multilingual poetry, which weaves together multiple languages, necessarily straddles multiple cultural contexts. This raises the question of how poets who write multilingually negotiate and deploy their cultural knowledges, who they write for, and how their audiences receive them. Using Suresh Canagarajah’s Negotiation Model to examine poets’ linguistic choices, including whether and when to provide translations, and Mendieta-Lombardo and Cintron’s adaptation of the Myers-Scotton Markedness Model to consider audience and context, this paper will examine examples of contemporary bilingual and multilingual poetry published in Australia and Canada to identify the many conversations and negotiations that must take place between language-cultures as well as between multilingual poets and audiences for these poems to ‘work’. 

Author Biography

Nadia Niaz, University of Melbourne

Nadia Niaz received her PhD in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne, where she is Head Tutor, Creative Writing. Nadia’s research interests include multilingual creative and poetic expression, the practicalities and politics of translation, and language use among third culture kids and other globally mobile cohorts. In 2018 she founded the Australian Multilingual Writing Project, which provides a space for local multilingual creative writing. Nadia writes and performs poetry that explores all aspects of identity, belonging, and language and her most recent work can be found in The Polyglot, Not Very Quiet, Rabbit, and Peril.