Back in September, I had the joy of interviewing author and translator Roy Kesey as part of our Annual Translation Symposium. We discussed Dark Constellations, translation, travel, the Norman Invasion of England, colonialism, poetry, Dr, Seuss, and our shared hatred of Ayn Rand’s books. Here you will find a (lightly) abridged transcript of our talk that I hope you will find as enlightening as I did.Continue reading
On September 16 and 17, Miami University’s Creative Writing Program hosted a two-day Translation Symposium. Martin Corless-Smith, an English poet and translator, was one of the Symposium guests, alongside two other creative writers and translators, Poupeh Missaghi and Roy Kesey. Corless-Smith’s most recent book, Odious Horizons: Some Versions of Horace, was published by Miami University Press earlier this year and is a translation of Horace, a Roman poet.Continue reading
Translation, as mentioned by Kinsey Cantrell in the previous post, is generally seen as a service instead of an art, where the translator is simply rendering a poem into a different language. The assumption is that translation is as much an art as transcribing the words of someone else. However, as English Ambassador Abigail Mechley notes in her great article for the English Department, the practice of bringing a piece of writing from one language to another “insists on stretching language to its limit”.
The Miami University Symposium on Literary Translation brought two distinguished speakers to campus for a two-part event – a Panel on Literary Translation, followed by a reading from their translated works. They, too, echoed the importance of translation. “I realized that there was a world that I understood through Spanish language that wasn’t being expressed in English, a way of thinking and a way of being in the world, and I wanted to capture this in English,” said Alcalá. Moure agreed, noting that translation is an ethical responsibility that allows readers to see their language and the world differently. A huge thank-you to our guest speakers, and to everyone who attended the symposium!
To read more about the 2016 Miami University Translation Symposium, click here
As a Creative Writing major, I’ve written poems, plays, prose. As an Italian minor, I’ve studied language extensively, including literature in other languages. Despite that, before studying it in my poetry workshop, I’d never given translation much thought. I never considered translation a form of creative writing; if the original was the creative writing piece, the translator seemed to be merely the messenger. Continue reading
“Isn’t English good enough for you?” Charles Bernstein asked in a 2010 interview with translator Erin Mouré. It’s a question that leads me to reflect on the emotional investment of the translator. What can she offer as a poet to a work that she is translating? How can she retain the original connection the author had with the words of his native tongue in this new language? Why are translated works so crucial to the literary world? Continue reading