Tom Boll
  • 1.28 Arts and Humanities Building

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Personal profile


My autumn semester office hours are Tues 12:30-1:30 (in person, Arts 2.38A) and Thurs 12-1 (on Teams).

Tom studied for his PhD on Octavio Paz and T.S. Eliot in the departments of English and Spanish and Latin American Studies at University College London. As Assistant and then Managing Director of the Poetry Translation Centre, he was involved in bringing poets to the UK from numerous countries, including Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Tajikistan and Cape Verde. Before taking up his post at UEA, Tom taught for six years in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King’s College London.


Key Research Interests

Tom’s research interests include the theory and practice of translation; the Latin American, European and Anglo-American avant-garde; twentieth-century Spanish American fiction; contemporary poetry in Spanish and English; Mexican history and culture; archives.

Tom has published numerous articles on Spanish American literature and translation. His monograph Octavio Paz and T. S. Eliot: Modern Poetry and the Translation of Influence (Legenda, 2012) examines encounters between Anglo-American modernism, French symbolisme, the Spanish American vanguardia and the political debates of post-revolutionary Mexico. His recent work focuses on the social interactions of the translation process, drawing on material in the archives of Penguin Books and Farrar, Straus and Giroux from the 1950s and 60s. He continues to work on the international transmission of modernism with articles on the Cuban poet, José Lezama Lima and the collaborations between Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson.


Tom’s translations of Spanish American poets have appeared in Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. His co-translations of Coral Bracho with the English poet, Katherine Pierpoint were published by Enitharmon in 2008 and included in the anthology My Voice: A Decade of Poems from the Poetry Translation Centre (Bloodaxe, 2014). His translation of volume 2 of Jorge Luis Borges and Osvaldo Ferrari’s Conversations was published by Seagull Books in 2015.


Research Group or Lab Membership

Tom is a member of the Translation Research Group at UEA.


External Activities

Membership of external bodies:

Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Advisory Board, Cantalao

Member, Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Public engagement and impact:

As Assistant Director of the Poetry Translation Centre (PTC), involved in the World Poets’ Tours of 2005 and 2008, bringing poets from Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Tajikistan and Cape Verde to the UK (funded by Arts Council England)

Participated in Respond in Practice, a year-long scheme sponsored by Arts Council England to foster wider public engagement in the arts

‘Poetry and Pugilism: Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda’, talk followed by round table discussion with Dominic Moran (University of Oxford) and Adam Feinstein (biographer of Pablo Neruda), Festival of Ibero-American Literature, Foyle’s Bookshop, 11 November 2009

Brought Coral Bracho and David Huerta to participate, alongside Víctor Terán, in the PTC’s Mexican Poets’ Tour (April 2010; funded by Arts Council England and the Mexican Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores). Presented readings at Chetham’s Library Manchester, University of Leeds and the Scottish Poetry Library

‘The Challenges of Translating Poetry’, round table discussion with Tony Ward (Arc Publications), David Constantine (Modern Poetry in Translation), Sarah Maguire (Poetry Translation Centre) and David Huerta, London Book Fair, 19 April 2010

Appeared on BBC Radio 3 Night Waves with David Huerta (April 2010)

‘Storytelling and Retelling: Jorge Luis Borges and Translation’, public lecture and workshop, Arts and Humanities Festival, King’s College London, 28 October 2011

Submitted impact case study to REF 2014 on the PTC Mexican Poets’ Tour

‘Octavio Paz’, talk as part of Spanish and Latin American Nobel Prize Winners Series, Instituto Cervantes, London, 10 June 2014

‘Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson: Literary Friendship and Translation’, invited talk at public seminar Octavio Paz and the United Kingdom, organized by the Mexican Embassy in London, British Library, 13 April 2015


Administrative Posts


Head of Literature

Academic Curator of the Literary Translation Archive, BACW