Bucknell University to Host Bilingual Spanish Poetry

Spanish poetry can be especially difficult to translate because of the idioms, figurative language, and cultural context that is often used. However, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania will be taking on the challenge at its upcoming bilingual poetry reading. Bucknell is the country’s largest private liberal arts university, and the reading is set to honor the poetry of Chilean Tomas Harris. A translator will be present to read aloud an English translation after Harris himself reads his Spanish poetry in its original language.

Harris’ Translator is Familiar with the Poet’s Work

For the event, Bucknell did not just choose any Spanish translator. Instead, the man who translated Harris’ recent book, Cipango, will be reading aloud the English translation of the work. Daniel Shapiro is Harris’ trusted translator, and as a poet himself, he understands language on a deeper level than most technical or business translators.

Spanish poetry translations are more exciting to listen to when read aloud because the audience can gain a true understanding of how the language differs in its rhythm and construction.

The Reading will Let the Audience Truly Explore the Translation

The bilingual reading at Bucknell University will be open to the public, and there will be a pen discussion before the bilingual reading. Harris and his translator Shapiro will be available to answer questions, allowing the audience to explore how the translation was made and what Harris thought of it.

Since poets are often fully dedicated to each word on the page, translations might sometimes fall flat and seem inferior to their original works. The Spanish translation won’t be the only piece being read at the event, French poet Yves Bonnefoy’s poetry will also be read and translated into English by professor Emily Grosholz. Bonnefoy’s Spanish poetry will be read in honor of his latest publication, Debut et Fin de la Neige.

The Spanish translation of Harris’ work is essential for the English-speaking world to access his award-winning work. Harris has published seven full books of Spanish poetry and was awarded the Casa de las Americas Prize for one of them. The bilingual translation event will be a good way for people unfamiliar with his work to hear it read in its original form and meaning in their native language so they can grasp the true meaning without putting it through a simple computerized translator. 

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