This course explores writing through the highly mediated process of poetry translation, a process that has been frequently called “impossible.” The point of departure is an assumption that there is no such thing as a “perfect” translation and that translation is an ongoing process. Through a combination of theory (reading and discussing essays on translation, analyzing poems in translation, and critiquing each other’s work) and practice (completing weekly translation exercises, researching a poet whose work you’d like to dedicate yourself to this semester, and submitting a portfolio of translations accompanied by a translator’s critical introduction), students will attempt to answer the question of what can be learned from engaging with this process. In other words: why should we bother with translating at all and how does translation change the way we write and think about writing?
Students will also engage in non-literary translation modes in several multimedia projects that incorporate work with image, sound, and remix. During screenings, students will watch the films that discuss the concepts of imitation, adaptation, and authorship and gain practice using technical tools in order to complete their translation mini-projects. To further demystify the process of translation and make the complex process of revision and choice-making transparent, students will compose in a wiki environment, sharing their work in all stages of the writing process with each other. Finally, students will be encouraged to continue thinking about how the very act of composing in the new media environment of a wiki affects their writing.