Kristin Dykstra Distinguished Scholar in Residence

Kristin Dykstra

Ph.D. SUNY at Buffalo
M.A., 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:

  • First Year Seminar (as Place and Placelessness)
  • American Studies 227: Foundations of US Latinx Literatures & Cultures
  • Junior Seminar: Land, Sea, Sky (Chile focus)
  • Junior Seminar: A Nation Inside and Out (Cuba focus)
  • Honors Colloquium


Kristin Dykstra writes about people, places, and culture, with a special interest in motions and intersections amongst the Americas. Much of her research is interdisciplinary. Some publications are scholarly, while others are works of literary translation or creative writing.

Dykstra’s recent scholarly pieces examine contemporary writing from the United States and neighboring nations. She is currently finishing a chapter, “Elemental Mind Salt,” for a book forthcoming in the Under Discussion Series from the U of Michigan Press. Dykstra’s chapter on Cuba’s lyric imaginary, 1959-1989, is forthcoming in the Cambridge History of Cuban Literature (2024). “EXCUSE ME MR. BORZUTZKY / If,” a chapter on Daniel Borzutzky appeared in American Poets in the Twenty-First Century: Poetics of Social Engagement (Wesleyan University Press). Dykstra’s chapter on Soleida Ríos, “Triumphs of Verticality / Horizontal Reactivations: Forces at Work in and Around Soleida Ríos’ Elegy for Angel Escobar,” was published in n La futuridad del naufragio: Orígenes, estelas y derivas (2019).

Dykstra has translated works by numerous authors, often writing critical introductions to pair with the creative material. The Lady of Elche, her translation of a book by Amanda Berenguer (Uruguay), was published by Veliz Books in 2023. In the same year, 13 Moons 13, Dykstra’s translation of a book by Vermont-based writer Tina Escaja, won a Gold Medal for translation from the International Latino Book Awards.

Dykstra is principal translator of a book by Rodríguez, The Winter Garden Photograph (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2019), Winner of the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and Finalist for the 2020 National Translation Award. With Kent Johnson, she co-edited and co-translated the 2019 anthology Materia Prima, featuring Berenguer (also published by Ugly Duckling Presse); Materia Prima was a Finalist for the 2020 Best Translated Book Award. The University of Alabama Press published her bilingual editions of literature by Reina María RodríguezJuan Carlos FloresAngel Escobar, and Marcelo Morales in 2014 and 2016. Her rendition of Cubanology, a multilingual book of days by Omar Pérez, appeared with Station Hill in 2018. Escaja (Spain/US) is pictured in this photo essay that Dykstra created for “Intermedium” — a series of 29 short, alphabetical commentaries for the University of Pennsylvania poetics journal Jacket2.

Dykstra’s own recent poems have appeared in numerous magazines. Her essay, “Ensenada,” appeared in Rialta, co-translated to the Spanish.

While teaching in the Department of English at Illinois State University (2002-2014), where she entered as an Assistant Professor and left as Full Professor, Dykstra won the 2007-8 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement and a 2005-6 College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Initiative Award.

Awards + Recognition

  • 2023 Gold Medal, Best Nonfiction Book Translation (Spanish to English), International Latino Book Awards. For the translation of 13 Moons 13 / 13 lunas 13, by Tina Escaja
  • Winner, 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation.
  • 2014 Gulf Coast Prize in Translation.
  • Finalist, 2020 National Translation Award, American Literary Translators’ Association
  • National Endowment for the Arts: Literary Translation Fellow, 2012. For the translation of Catch and Release, by Reina María Rodríguez.
  • 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.
  • Longlist, 2017 National Translation Award, American Literary Translators’ Association

Recent News

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, participated in the August 2022 Almost Island Dialogues, an international literary gathering in New Delhi, India, where she gave a reading and spoke in panel discussions. In November she published “Cinquains for Survival: On Urayoán Noel’s Transversal (2021),” an article for Chicago Review online: Kristin published her original poems in Lana Turner 15 and Distropika. Her literary translations appeared in the same issue of Lana Turner, as well as in Astra 2 and Washington Square Review, featuring three different living Cuban authors.
(posted February 2023)

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, spoke on the panel “Translation Rights and Permissions” for the 45th conference of the American Literary Translators’ Association in June 2022. She presented new poetry and translations for “Us & Them,” a series at Molasses Books, Brooklyn, in May. She reviewed “Ova completa,” by Susana Thenón, for The Rumpus. Her literary translations appeared in Astra (poems by Marcelo Morales) and Asymptote’s Translation Tuesdays (a piece by Soleida Ríos).
(posted July 2022)

Kristin Dykstra, distinguished scholar in residence, was a featured panelist for the five-year celebration of the award-winning magazine, Latin American Literature Today, in December 2021. Poems from her current Vermont-based manuscript appeared in Almost Island, Clade Song, Acrobata (tr. to Portuguese by Floriano Martins), and El Nieuwe Acá (tr. to Spanish by Tina Escaja). Dykstra’s literary translations appeared in Asymptote’s Translation Tuesdays (poems by Jesús Cos Causse), Almost Island (poems and prose by Reina María Rodríguez), and El Nieuwe Acá (where she and Escaja flipped the roles of poet/translator). Dykstra also published reviews of new books of Latin American poetry in translation, in literary publications: That Salt on the Tongue to Say Mangrove for Your Impossible Voice, and The Miracle Unfolds for Reading in Translation. Her extended review of quanundrum [i will be your many-angled thing], an original 2021 collection by U.S. poet Edwin Torres, appeared in Big Other.
(posted February 2022)

Kristin Dykstra, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, introduced and organized a May 2021 feature at Latin American Literature Today dedicated to author Reina María Rodríguez, as well as contributing translations of eight poems in support of the dossier. Dykstra’s own poems appeared in Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Criticism 13, and she read them for the magazine’s June 12 event on Zoom. Dykstra gave two invited lectures on translation, one for Emory University on March 29 and the other for Rutgers University on February 11. She appeared alongside Rodríguez for two additional April events at Emory, an advanced discussion of poetics and a bilingual reading open to the public. In April she also read for the Chicago poetry series, Poetry and BYOBiscuits. More of Dykstra’s translations of poetry by Rodríguez appeared at The Common (April 2021), and her translated excerpts from a work by Marcelo Morales appeared in Two Lines (Center for the Art of Translation, May 2021).
(posted July 2021)