Poetry & Translation

BookPoetry & Translation

Poetry & Translation

The Art of the Impossible

Poetry &..., 3


February 2nd, 2021



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In Poetry & Translation the acclaimed poet and translator Peter Robinson examines the activity of translation practised by poets and others, and the way in which the various practices of translating have continued in parallel with the writing of original poetry. While some attention is paid to classic statements of the translator’s cultural role, readers should not expect to find formalized theoretical debate along the lines already developed in translation studies courses and their teaching handbooks. Instead, Poetry & Translation seeks to raise issues and matters for discussion - not to close them down. The aim of the book is to increase knowledge of, and thought about, the interactive processes of reading and writing poetry composed in mother tongues and in translations. Poetry & Translation will be of value to all devoted readers and students of poetry or translation, to students involved in classical and modern languages, and to those taking part in creative writing courses, whether as students or as teachers.

'Informative as well as argued, polemical as well as seeking out common ground, and written in a no-nonsense, clear style, Poetry & Translation shows quite simple things to be complex and more nuanced than thought, but has also a refreshing directness about dealing with things that have often been made to seem too complex to deal with. It is also written from the triple perspective of poet, translator and critic. A fine book.' 
Professor Patrick McGuinness, University of Oxford

'Scholars and practitioners of poetry translation will welcome this intelligent and insightful new book.'
Gregary J. Racz, Metamorphoses, Vol. 20, No. 1

'Robinson’s monograph is a splendid achievement, and should occupy a very desirable place on the shelves of Translation Studies sections in libraries everywhere – even though its argument lays waste to so many of its neighbours.'
Adam Piette, Translation and Literature, Vol. 21, No. 2

'In this erudite and well-written work, Peter Robinson builds a very strong and highly commendable case for the feasibility of what he terms ‘‘the art of the impossible’’, namely translating poetry.'
Peter Flynn, Translation Studies

'Vigorously and wittily argued, Robinson’s book is an excellent and provocative contribution to a complex debate.'
Justin Quinn, Times Literary Supplement


Author Information

Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953, and grew up mainly in Liverpool. He holds degrees from the universities of York and Cambridge. Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading and poetry editor for Two Rivers Press, he is the author of many books, especially of poetry and translation, for some of which he has been awarded the Cheltenham Prize, the John Florio Prize, and two Poetry Book Society Recommendations.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. On First Looking
2. What Is Lost?
3. Thou Art Translated
4. The Art of the Impossible
5. Nostalgia for World Culture
6. Translating the ‘Foreign’
7. The Quick and the Dead