Translations

This morning’s Wall Street Journal featured an article by Stephen Mitchell detailing the process he went through translating Homer’s Iliad. In addition to offering a fascinating glimpse into the art of translating, Mitchell provides a great tip for all writers: read your work aloud and listen.

Persians, Seven against Thebes, and Suppliants, Aeschylus, translated by Aaron PoochigianThe music of the spoken word was clear on Thursday night, when Lara and I had the pleasure of attending a reading by translator/poet Aaron Poochigian.

Poochigian reminded me of an Armenian Keith Moon minus the booze, the barbiturates and the exploding drums. What’s left, you ask? Manic passion punctuated by arching eyebrows and a mischievous grin. I’d never heard of Poochigian but I exited the reading a fan. His translations of Sappho and Aeschylus were sublime. His poetry was solid, too.

It’s also worth noting that the host of the reading, Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center here in the District, was first class. The students, alumni and profs in attendance were smart, engaging folks and the facility itself is a gem. I look forward to attending their next poetry event.

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