Poetry in Translation OpenCourseWare: MIT's Free Bachelor Level Poetry Class

Published Jan 29, 2009

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Ever wonder how a centuries-old poem written by a non-English speaker ends up translated into modern English? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology explores the process with 'Poetry in Translation,' a free bachelor's-level course originally offered as an interdisciplinary special program. The online OpenCourseWare version of this course introduces students to the challenges faced by translators of poetry and may complement studies in Creative Writing, literature or foreign languages.

Poetry in Translation: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
No Yes No

Poetry in Translation: Course Description

'Poetry in Translation' is designed to highlight the difficulties of translating poetry across culture, language and time. Students engaged in this course study poems written in Greek, Russian, Japanese, Middle English and Afrikaans, among other languages. Although poems are presented in their original languages, the course emphasizes the translated versions. OpenCourseWare students may access a reading list that includes multiple translations of each poem for analysis and comparison. Through the readings, which also include biographies of the poets, students may gain insight into the linguistic riches of other cultures and eras; this insight may be particularly useful for students studying Creative Writing, literature--as written in English or another language--or foreign languages. 'Poetry in Translation' was taught by Alevtina Asarina and David Custer.

Many materials from the reading list for 'Poetry in Translation' are available online. If you are interested in taking this course, visit the poetry translation course page.

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