Transreading Italy

Transreading Italy

Write fresh versions from some of the titans of Italian poetry: Dante, Petrarch, Cavalcanti, Leopardi and Pascoli

In this course we will be celebrating some of the greatest highlights of Italian poetry through English versions. We will explore the amazing ways Italian verse has influenced and stimulated English poetry, not just through traditional translation but also through all kinds of creative experimentation. Students do not need any language other than English to follow the course. It has long been the case that most classic literature is read in translation rather than in the original by the vast majority of people around the world. Italian poetry has had a particularly significant influence on English writers from Chaucer onwards. On this course we will be writing poems in response to great Italian texts by Petrarch, Cavalcanti and Dante; by Leopardi and Pascoli; then moving on to the early twentieth-century Modernists. Finally we will be looking at a selection of contemporary writers. By the end of the course students will have produced a creative portfolio of poetry inspired by the best in Italian literature. And I hope that the course will inspire a fascination for, and love of Italian poetry that will extend into the future, both as an interest in its own right, and also as an enduring and open-ended stimulus to write new work.

Transreading courses – co-curated with Elzbieta Wójcik-Leese – invite us to read poems brought to English by translation, English-language poems inhabiting other cultures, and multilingual poems whose English hosts other tongues. We translate texts and/or compose new poems in response to our readings; in this process of trans-reading and trans-writing we open our poetries to the multi-literate world.

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

A 10% discount is available to residents local to the Poetry School (anyone currently living in Rotherhithe, Riverside, Surrey Docks, South Bermondsey, Grange or Livesey).
Please contact for further information.
Image credit: seriykotik1970

About Peter Hughes View Profile

Peter Hughes is a poet and the founding editor of Oystercatcher Press. He’s based in Cambridge where he was recently the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry. His many books include a Selected Poems (Shearsman) , innovative versions of all Petrarch’s sonnets (Quite Frankly, Reality Street Editions, 2015), Cavalcanty (Carcanet, 2017) and via Leopardi 21 (Equipage, 2018).

‘It has made me much more ambitious in terms of what I write, and it has made me feel part of a community, which is very important to me.’

– Spring 2019 survey response

Related Courses