Faculty Profile

American Studies Faculty

Kristin Dykstra, PhD

Distinguished Scholar in Residence

M.A., Ph.D. SUNY at Buffalo
B.A. Amherst College

Areas of Expertise:

Literatures and Cultures of the United States, US Latino/a Literatures, Transnational Exchange in the Americas, Cuban literature, Literary Translation, and American Studies

Courses I Teach:

  • Foundations of US Latino/a Literatures and Cultures
  • Introduction to Cuban Literatures and Cultures
  • Spanish 101
  • First Year Seminar (as Place and Placelessness)
  • Politics and Literature (as Transnational Literatures in the Americas)
On the U.S. front, my projects include articles about literature by Cuban-American and Chilean-American authors. In a more international framework I work with Latin American writers. I'm translating books by Omar Pérez (Cuba), Marcelo Morales (Cuba), and Amanda Berenguer (Uruguay). I've been working with Havana writer Reina María Rodríguez since the 1990's.
  • 2014 Gulf Coast Prize in Translation. More info

  • National Endowment for the Arts: Literary Translation Fellow, 2012. For the translation of Catch and Release, by Reina María Rodríguez.  More info

  • Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada), Self-Directed Literary Arts Residency, Translation. September 2009. 

  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement. Illinois State University, College of Arts and Sciences. 2007-8. 

  • Teaching Initiative Award, College of Arts and Sciences. Illinois State University. 2005-6.

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, published translations of essays by the renowned Chilean author Raúl Zurita in Lana Turner Journal 10, just out for December. Her translation of a book by Cuban writer Marcelo Morales, The World as Presence (U. of Alabama P, 2016), was longlisted for the National Translation Award by ALTA, the American Literary Translators’ Association. In October Dykstra attended ALTA’s national conference and gave a reading with other award finalists, as well as presenting a talk on a panel dedicated to Latin American writing. Her translation of Scaffoldings appeared in fall 2017 as a fine art chapbook edition featuring poems by Rito Ramón Aroche and artwork by Alejandro Sáinz, produced by the University of Alabama Book Arts Program in collaboration with the Taller Experimental de Gráfica in Havana. In magazines, Kristin published translations of short works by Mexican author Manuel Becerra and Cuban authors Omar Pérez and Soleida Ríos. She gave a reading at Kenyon College, and in the fall she spoke with Vermont writer Tina Escaja at the Burlington Book Festival
(posted December 2017)

The Chicago Review published Kristin Dyktra's short essay "In Memoriam Juan Carlos Flores (1962-2016)" in issue 60.03 (2017), as well as posting the piece online: http://chicagoreview.org/commentary/

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, gave a reading at Kenyon College in late April, as well as participating in a bilingual reading with Reina María Rodríguez at Boston College in early April.
(posted June 2017)


Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence at Saint Michael’s, is featured alongside other top international scholars in a recently completed episode about literary translation on a PBS television show in short format called Articulate, which the PBS website describes as an “art magazine series.” Kristin says that in 2015 she gave a reading and did related talks with a prominent Cuban poet, Reina María Rodríguez, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where organizers of the event at UPenn's Kelly Writers House contacted the Articulate crew doing filming for the just-released segment that day in 2015. The other translators featured on the show, Esther Allen and Peter Cole, also are highly respected for the excellence of their work. The show has just been picked up for national syndication, including the translation episode with Kristin. She also did an interview this past winter with BOMB magazine, which focuses on the arts. The interview features Cuban poet Marcelo Morales, who spoke at the College in November 2016. He visited two St. Mike’s classes and spoke with quite a few students. One was Kristin’s introductory course on Cuban culture. In Cuba. Marcelo has long participated in discussions with visual artists, as he explains in this interview, so he also visited one of Brian Collier's art classes to talk with students about their works in progress.
(posted June 2017)

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence in American studies, gave two presentations in October for the University of Chicago’s creative writing series, Poem Present.  In summer and fall 2016, the University of Alabama Press released two more bilingual editions of contemporary Cuban poetry with Dykstra’s scholarly introduction and translations:  Breach of Trust, by Angel Escobar, and The World as Presence, by Marcelo Morales.  In July Dykstra gave a presentation on a different poet, Rito Aroche, for the Americas Society in New York. Links for the books:

Breach of Trust

https://www.amazon.com/Breach-Trust-Abuso-confianza-Escobar/dp/0817358730/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477668909&sr=1-4

The World as Presence

https://www.amazon.com/World-Presence-mundo-como-ser/dp/0817358846/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1477668856&sr=8-1

(posted November 2016)

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence in American Studies, had her translations and scholarly introduction featured in The Counterpunch (and Other Horizontal Poems), by Cuban writer Juan Carlos Flores, published in early 2016 by the University of Alabama Press.  She spoke on panels about literary translation at Havana’s 2016 international book fair and at the Latin American Studies Association’s international congress in New York. Link for the new book:   http://www.amazon.com/Counterpunch-Horizontal-contragolpe-poemas-horizontales/dp/0817358137/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455136551&sr=8-1&keywords=juan+carlos+flores
(posted June 2016)

Kristin Dykstra, Distinguished Scholar in Residence in American Studies, gave invited presentations at the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers-Newark alongside Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez in September 2015, following Rodríguez’s visit to the Saint Michael’s campus.  From summer into fall Dykstra wrote a commentary series, “Intermedium,” for the University of Pennsylvania digital poetics magazine Jacket2 (http://jacket2.org/commentary/kristin-dykstra).  The University of Alabama Press accepted her book-length translation of a new work by Marcelo Morales, The World As Presence / El mundo como ser, with her critical introduction, for publication in 2016.  She finished an article on Chilean-American writer Daniel Borzutzky, addressing transnational aspects of his work, which was solicited for American Poets in the 21st Century: Global Poetics and is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press.
(posted January 2016) 

Kristin Dykstra, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, won the inaugural Gulf Coast Literary Translation prize, announced in early 2015, with excerpts from her new book in progress with Marcelo Morales Cintero (http://gulfcoastmag.org/contests/prize-in-translation/). In December 2014, the University of Alabama Press released Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, her bilingual edition of a book by Reina María Rodríguez.  Kristin’s essay on the challenges of translating Angel Escobar’s abject poetry in the polarized context of contemporary US/Cuba relations appeared in the March 2015 Translation Issue of The Volta’s “Evening Will Come.”  Other translations featuring Omar Pérez, Soleida Ríos, and Escobar appeared in BOMB Daily, Orion’s recent dossier on Cuban culture, and Lana TurnerPrime Matter, her anthology of poetry by Uruguay’s famous Amanda Berenguer co-edited with Kent Johnson, was just accepted by Ugly Duckling Presse. In April she speaks at Brown University and New York University events as both translator and scholar, alongside Rodríguez.
(posted April 2015)

Kristin Dykstra, Distinguished Scholar in Residence (American Studies), translated Other Letters to Milena / Otras cartas a Milena, a mixed genre book by Cuban writer Reina María Rodríguez, which will be released by the University of Alabama Press in December.  Kristin also wrote the critical introduction to the book.  She presented "NO: The Translation of Ángel Escobar" at the American Literary Translators Association conference in November 2014, as well as presenting poetry by Amanda Berenguer of Uruguay in a bilingual readings session.  Selected poems from her manuscripts featuring Berenguer, Juan Carlos Flores [Cuba], Marcelo Morales [Cuba], and Rodríguez appeared this fall in Lana Turner, MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine, West Branch, Golden Handcuffs Review, and Asymptote. www.kdykstra.net
(posted December 2014)


Kristin Dykstra, Distinguished Scholar in Residence (American Studies), presented “Two Ways of Writing Across a Wake,” a talk about poetry and nonfiction by Soleida Ríos, for a Cuban studies panel at the Latin American Studies Association's national congress in Chicago, May 24-26.  Dykstra’s translations of poetry by Uruguayan writer Amanda Berenguer are forthcoming in the next Lana Turner journal, and her translations of work by Marcelo Morales and Reina María Rodríguez (Cuba) will be in the next issues of MAKE:  A Chicago Literary Magazine and West Branch.  Six poems by Juan Carlos Flores, also in Dykstra´s translation, appeared in the latest Golden Handcuffs Review.
(posted August 2014)

Three bilingual editions of Cuban poetry and prose are forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press, starting in 2014: Other Letters to Milena, by Reina María Rodríguez; Breach of Trust, by Ángel Escobar; and The Counterpunch (And Other Horizontal Poems), by Juan Carlos Flores.

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