Poetry: Form and Technique
Term: Spring 2022 - Full Term (01/25/2022 - 05/09/2022)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|Start Date||End Date||Days||Time||Location|
|1/25/2022||5/9/2022||T||2:10pm - 5:00pm||HS 250C|
English 809--Translated Worlds
Although this version of the Poetry Form & Technique class will survey translations from the planet’s many poetic traditions, we will do so with an eye toward what makes for a good poem in English. The translator’s task, wrote Walter Benjamin, should be with “that element in a translation which goes beyond transmittal of subject matter . . . the element that does not lend itself to translation.” In that spirit, I’m most interested in “versions” such as Christopher Logue’s Homer in War Music or Stephen Berg’s Rimbaud in Still Unilluminated I, as well as in how certain poets like Catullus, Sappho, Tu Fu, and Apollinaire continue to be updated by successive generations. We’ll also examine the enduring influence of translated works on American poetry in the last 100+ years. Besides the poets mentioned above, we will look at work by Wyslawa Szymborska, Tomas Transtromer, Patrizia Cavalli, Adelia Prado, Anna Ahkmatova, Rilke, Basho, Issa, Buson, Ikkyu, Miyazawa Kenji, Yannis Ritsos, and Cesar Vallejo, among others. Student responsibilities will include a class presentation and directed discussion of one of our prime translation targets. We’ll do weekly imitations of the poets we discuss. (Students also have the option of doing an actual translation from the original, rather than an imitation.) N.B. This is a class that requires a great deal of weekly reading, both poetry and essays, in addition to the writing we’ll do. Over a dozen books are on the required reading list.