What’s All the Fuss about Russian Poetry? A Translators Perspective
Slavic Translator, Lydia Razran Stone, will present: “What’s All the Fuss about Russian Poetry? A Translators Perspective” on Thursday, December 11, 2014, at the Camden Public Library, 7:00-8:30 pm. This event is free and open to all.
The speaker will discuss the unique importance of poetry in Russian culture, with major poets attaining virtual “Rock Star” status throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. Although other causes of this phenomenon will be discussed the most pervasive cause is a nearly unbroken 200+ year period of political repression and state censorship, in which poetry was used to express love of freedom and, obliquely using what Russians call Aesopian language, dissatisfaction with the political status quo. Other factors are the special situation of the educated class of Russians after the reforms introduced by Peter I and Catherine II and the deep feelings of loss and cohesiveness that sprung from the great suffering and heroism of the Russian people during World War II. The speaker will also discuss the exceptionally high quality of 20th century Russian children’s poetry and Russian poetry in emigration.
All points in the discussion will be illustrated by the speakers own translations of relevant poems, rendered in English with the meter and rhyme schemes of the original—the only form of poetic translation acceptable to most native Russian speakers. She will discuss her own ideas about the nature of poetic translations—“a series of compromises punctuated by miracles”–and the particular challenges in going from Russian into English, as well as what types of poems she chooses to translate, and those she tries to avoid.
About the speaker: Lydia Razran Stone started studying Russian in her mid-teens, and had fallen in love with Russian literature before that. She has worked as a cognitive psychologist, and more recently, a technical translator, most notably for NASA. In retirement she has focused on translating poetry, publishing four bilingual poetry books and contributing to numerous literary journals. For nearly 20 years she has edited SlavFile, a quarterly publication for Slavic translators and interpreters.
This presentation is hosted by the Camden Public Library and offered as a free community event in in anticipation of the 28th Annual Camden Conference: Russia Resurgent, February 20-22, 2015.