Poet, translator to discuss methods

Writer Curtis Bauer utilizes observation, absence in his works

MORGAN LESTER, Evergreen reporter

For the final visiting writer of the year, Curtis Bauer, a poet, director of creative writing and professor of comparative literature at Texas Tech University, will come to campus.

Bauer said poetry helps him make sense of the world around him.

“When I don’t understand something or I find that I’m thinking about a subject or an idea or something that happened and I don’t know to process it, I write about it.”

A published writer, Bauer has put together several collections of his work, the most recent of which is “The Real Cause for Your Absence,” in which he goes through the theme of absence and works through how it appears and works through our daily lives.

Absence is something Bauer often works with in his writing.

“In just the title — absence, what’s present and not present,” Bauer said, “how do we go about representing something that doesn’t exist or that we can’t see?”

He said he ties the theme into his larger pastime of observing the world around him, and writing down what he sees, hear and thinks as he goes through his day.

“Just being in the world, listening to people, watching people, listening to what’s around me,” Bauer said. “I’m in Pullman for the first time of my life, and I’m fascinated.”

Beyond observing and teaching, Bauer also works as a Spanish translator, a skill that came out of his time spent in Spain.

“I learned Spanish because of a love interest, and I moved to Spain because of that,” Bauer said. “I started translating because I was reading a lot of work — not just poetry, but essays and novels — that I knew my friends back in the U.S. didn’t have access to, so I started translating that way.”

This would later become a profession for him, as he has interpreted several selections from various Spanish authors and works for the Waxwing Literary Journal as its translations editor. For Bauer, however, it is not as much of a separate profession as it is another side to his poetry.

“[Translating] is something that I do that is very closely aligned with my own writing,” Bauer said. “I’m always translating something as I’m writing poems … There is a close relationship between those two acts.”