‘The most intimate act of reading’: Translating Poetry & the Politics of the Personal (Transreading, Summer 2021)

‘The most intimate act of reading’: Translating Poetry & the Politics of the Personal (Transreading, Summer 2021)

Develop your poetry translation practice with exciting poet and translator Sophie Collins.

For many of us readers and writers of poetry, ‘translation’ suggests something pertaining to one of two categories: a ‘literal translation’ – that is, a supposedly ‘direct’ or ‘accurate’ rendering of a text in another language; or else a ‘version’, a text whose relationship to the ‘original’ is somewhat more tangential. But there is so much more to translation than this!

Translation is a way of writing. It is a performance of interpretation. Translation is listening and speaking, assent and argument. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, translator of (among others) Jacques Derrida, has described translation as ‘the most intimate act of reading’, and it’s this description that we’ll take forward as our motto throughout this exciting and challenging course.

Exploring the grey area between the ‘literal’ and the ‘version’, this course will allow you to begin and/or develop your poetry translation practice. We’ll think, write and translate through ideas such as the translator’s visibility, feminist approaches to translation, and metaphors for translation (e.g. the ‘faithful’ versus the ‘intimate’ translation).

We will use texts from a number of different source languages, with a slight lean towards Dutch, given that this is my second language. Prior knowledge of languages is not a necessity here – all you need is an interest in translation and a desire to engage with languages outside of English.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image Credit: João Silas

About Sophie Collins View Profile

Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Glasgow. She is the author of Who Is Mary Sue? (Faber, 2018) and small white monkeys (Book Works, 2017). She is editor of Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), an anthology of contemporary poetry translations; a sequel, Intimacy, is forthcoming. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a lecturer in Creative Writing (Creative Non-Fiction) at the University of Glasgow.

‘During a difficult period of lockdown and uncertainty, I enjoyed having the regular structure of assignments and feedback, and to feel that I was regularly giving my attention to something important and sustaining. I very much enjoyed Sophie Collins’s assignments and comments on the poems, and was only sorry that my busy schedule meant that I missed one or two!’

– Autumn 2020 survey response

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