WHAT GETS FOUND IN TRANSLATION
with Michael Schmidt
C.H. Sisson called translation “fishing in other men’s waters”. He translated from languages he knew. Contemporary poets often work from languages they hardly know, drawn by what they imagine a poem has to offer, the doors it might open. How do we get into poetry we cannot access on a primary level? What authority can such translations have? Michael Schmidt has translated ‘from the Aztec’ with only basic intuitions of Nahuatl; he wrote a tome on classical Greek poetry with hardly even rudimentary Greek, and is currently writing about the Gilgamesh Epic, most translated of ancient poems, translated by writers without knowledge of the original. What benefit do poets get from such oblique imaginings? We’ll work on creating our own oblique translations, taking the ‘original’ for a ride to see where we end up.
Michael Schmidt OBE FRSL is the founder and editorial and managing director of Carcanet Press Limited and the general editor of PN Review.
WHO GOES THERE?
with Vahni Capildeo
The idea of ‘voice’ in poetry raises vexed and exciting questions. Today, poets may be watchful about
Vahni Capildo won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2016 for her book Measures of Expatriation.
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