Overenthusiastic Translation

Overenthusiastic Translation

Break down and build up again: look at the work of non-English poets from the past and uncover the clues they can offer your own practice.

*  To ensure the safety of our tutors and students, this course will take place on video-conferencing platform, ZOOM *

The translator, as the cliché has it, is a traitor. But a traitor is someone who has his feet in two countries, and must, at least on some level, know how to love them both. This is a workshop that embraces this ambiguous, treacherous identity, and which tries to find in the figure of the translator something transgressive, disrespectful, maybe a little perverse. We will look at the work of several European poets from the nineteenth century and earlier – crucially, writers who can be seen as both apart from and germane to the contemporary British tradition – and take them to pieces, translating them as unfaithfully and ‘overenthusiastically’ as possible, allowing their ideas and structures to lead us in our own directions. The exercises will combine translation and translation-inspired writing, and will try to return to the original, reading it through the prism of our own work. Please note, no knowledge of foreign languages is required.

Saturdays 8 & 22 May, 10:30am – 1pm. The course will take place using the video conferencing platform Zoom.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

Image Credit: Suzanne D. Williams

About Richard Scott and James Womack View Profile

Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His publications include Soho (Faber & Faber, 2018). Recent works include ‘Woman Peeling Turnips; A Portrait of my Father’, an eighteen-part poem written in response to his residency at Southwark Park Galleries and broadcast on Resonance FM; and ‘Glasgow Green Redux’, commissioned by The National Poetry Library and The Edwin Morgan Trust to celebrate Edwin Morgan’s centenary. Richard’s poetry has been translated into German and French. He teaches poetry at The Faber Academy.

James Womack was born in Cambridge in 1979. He studied Russian and English at university, and then moved to Spain to live. After a decade in Madrid, he returned to Cambridge, where he now teaches Spanish and Russian translation. He has published several translations from Russian and Spanish poetry, including Vladimir Mayakovsky’s ‘Vladimir Mayakovsky’ And Other Poems (2016, Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation), Aleksandr Tvardovsky’s Vasili Tyorkin (2020, shortlisted for the International Read Russia Prize 2020) and Manuel Vilas’s Heaven (2020). He has also published three collections of his own poetry, most recently Homunculus (2020), and is currently working on versions of the Spanish ‘accursed poet’ Leopoldo María Panero.

'The Poetry School supported me to grow as a poet and find confidence in my voice. Specifically during the pandemic, the courses created a space to meet other poets (worldwide) and be part of a creative community.'

– Autumn 2020 survey response

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