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Thu, Oct 20



The Visible Unseen | A Dialogue with Andrea Chapela, Kelsi Vanada, and Robin Myers

Join us to celebrate Andrea Chapela’s debut essay collection!

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The Visible Unseen | A Dialogue with Andrea Chapela, Kelsi Vanada, and Robin Myers
The Visible Unseen | A Dialogue with Andrea Chapela, Kelsi Vanada, and Robin Myers

Time & Location

Oct 20, 2022, 7:00 PM


About the Event

Buy the book here!

About the Book  In powerful, formally inventive essays, The Visible Unseen disrupts the purported cultural divide between arts and science. As both a chemist and an award-winning author, Chapela zeros in on the literary metaphors buried in the facts and figures of her scientific observations. Through questioning scientific conundrums that lie beyond the limits of human perception, she winds up putting herself under the microscope as well.

 While considering the technical definition of glass as a liquid or a solid, Chapela stumbles upon a framework for understanding the in-between-ness of her own life. Turning her focus toward mirrors, she finds metaphors for our cultural obsessions with self-image in the physics and chemistry of reflection. And as she compiles a history of the scientific study of light, she comes to her final conclusion: that the purpose of description--be it scientific or literary--can never be to define reality, only to confirm our perception of it. Lyrical, introspective, and methodical, The Visible Unseen constructs a startling new perspective from which to examine ourselves and the ways we create meaning.

About the Author

Andrea Chapela has a degree in Chemistry from the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) and an MFA in Spanish Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2019 José Luis Martínez National Prize for Grados de miopía. The full English translation of the book is forthcoming as The Visible Unseen with Restless Books in October 2022. Her stories have been published in the journals Tierra Adentro and Este País, as well as in various anthologies. In English translation, her publications include poems in The Brooklyn Rail InTranslation and an essay in Tupelo Quarterly. She was named one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists in 2021 and lives in Mexico City.

About the Translator

Kelsi Vanada is the author of the poetry chapbook Rare Earth, and her book-length translations include The Visible Unseen by Andrea Chapela and Damascus, Atlantis: Selected Poems by Marie Silkeberg, which was longlisted for the 2022 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Kelsi holds MFAs in Poetry (Iowa Writers’ Workshop, 2016) and Literary Translation (The University of Iowa, 2017) and works as the Program Manager of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) in Tucson, Arizona. She teaches occasional classes on literary translation and is an active reviewer of poetry in translation. Find her work at

About the Conversation Partner

Robin Myers is a poet and Spanish-to-English translator. Her latest translations include Salt Crystals by Cristina Bendek (Charco Press), The Forgery by Ave Barrera (Charco Press, co-translated with Ellen Jones), Copy by Dolores Dorantes (Wave Books), The Dream of Every Cell by Maricela Guerrero (Cardboard House Press), Tonight: The Great Earthquake by Leonardo Teja (PANK Books), and The Book of Explanations by Tedi López Mills (Deep Vellum Publishing). She was double-longlisted for the 2022 National Translation Award in poetry. She lives in Mexico City.

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