Marina Warner Workshops: Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops – May-June 2017

Arabic Poetry and Stories Translation Workshops

‘It was and it was not…’: Translation in Action

(from Arabic into English)

May 11, May 25, June 6, June 27** 2017

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Professor Marina Warner (Birkbeck)

Professor Wen-chin Ouyang (SOAS)

In conjunction with the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, Birkbeck. Directed by Steve Willey.

Booking: http://www.chase.ac.uk/arabic-poetry-translation

chase

Workshop Topics and Dates

Workshop 1: May 11 The writer Hanan al- Shaykh will discuss her work with translator Catherine Cobham.

Topic: The Wiles of Women. Poetry and Stories from The 1001 Nights (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, B104)

Public reading. 6.30-8.00 pm (SOAS B104)

Workshop 2: May 25 The writer Hoda Barakat will discuss her work; with translator Marilyn Booth, Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Professor in the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, Oxford.

Topic: Mad Love. Nizami, The Seven Pavilions: The Tale of Leila and Majnun.   (2:30 to 5:30 pm, SOAS, SWLT)

Public reading, 6.30-8.00pm (SOAS SWLT)

Workshop 3: June 6 Writers tbc,  with Julia Bray, Laudian Professor, Oxford, and editor of Ibn Sai, The Consorts of the Caliphs.

Topic: Singing Girls. Poetry, stories, satire and elegy in the songs of the Abbasid qiyan (Birkbeck , Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

Workshop 4: June 27  The poets Tamim al=Barghouti and Yousif al-Qasmiyeh will read their work and discuss it.

Topic: Islamic Sicily or Siculo-Arab Literature: poems of Ibn Hamdis and others, and fables from Ibn Zafer, Solwan or the Waters of Comfort (Birkbeck, Room 102, 30 Russell Square)

**Please note the workshop on the 27th June will now take place in 

Room S118 , Paul Webley Wing (Senate House North Block) SOAS.

Final workshop in September/October will showcase the work completed over the summer.

Participants

16 places for CHASE PhD students; 10 places reserved for independent translators and scholars, for a total of 20 for each workshop.

Objectives

A: The workshops proposed will adapt methods used for bringing Greek tragedy to an Anglophone reader and apply them to Arabic literature.

With the help of scholars of Arabic literature, who are interested in the wider transmission and enjoyment of their subject, students will work alongside poets, dramatists, translation theorists, and writers of fiction, in order to revision (‘awaken’) Arabic literary texts for contemporary readers/audiences.

It has become customary, for example, for a poet with no Greek or Anglo-Saxon to re-inhabit a myth or a legend and bring it to vigorous new life– famous examples include Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, Simon Armitage’s King Arthur, and the inspired contemporary revoicings of Ovid by Timberlake Wertenbaker and Kate Tempest. By contrast, the riches of classical and traditional literature in Arabic have in some sense been kept from those who cannot read or understand the language. The complexities of Arabic prosody and the vast range of genres and expressions of the Arabic and Persian narrative and poetic corpus seem to preclude access to all but scholars. Workshop participants will explore means and ways to make this literature accessible beyond the specialist circle.

The joint workshops themselves will examine how stories, motifs, characters, images travel across borders and migrate into new host cultures, moving into different languages, different genres, and on to different registers.

B: The workshops also set out to investigate collaborative exploration and discussion for translation/literary recreation in itself. Can the workshop model be a stimulus to the making of fresh, vigorous reawakened material from unfamiliar contexts and languages the writer-translator does not always know? The group sessions will provide the scope to be innovative about participation and collaboration for literary creativity.

Translators of the writers taking part will be present to discuss their task. However the project differs from strict translation, as applies to the work of contemporary Arabic novelists. The workshops are focusing on canonical/ancient/medieval/traditional material and its varying expressions because in this era of hostility to cultures associated with Islam, it is more important than ever to explore the riches of their vast literature and to understand the mutual entanglement of literary traditions.

These workshops will continue the project Stories in Transit, which undertakes nourishing storytelling and creativity in refugee communities. The project began in Oxford in May 2016 and Palermo in September 2016 and May 2017, and is a collaboration between Birkbeck, the University of Palermo, and the NGO Bibliothèques sans Frontières.

The material will include songs and squibs by medieval women poets, romances from Persia, the lyric poetry in Tales of the 1001 Nights, animal and other fables from Solwan, or The Waters of Comfort by Ibn Zafer from Sicily, written in the l2th century, or materials participants themselves propose.

Participants will attend all four workshops at which the visiting speaker and translator will address a text or group of texts; a general discussion about them will follow, leading to a choice of subject to develop work on over the summer and a reunion in the autumn to review the fruits of the workshop.  These will not aim to give faithful versions of the originals, but transpose them, sometimes even into a different form – eg poem to drama, story to song – the reawaken them and communicate them to readers and audiences today.

Booking: http://www.chase.ac.uk/arabic-poetry-translation

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Contemporary Poetics Research Centre: Poetry Reading, 30 November

Please join us on Wednesday, 30th November, 7:30-9pm, in the Keynes Library (43 Gordon Square) for a poetry reading featuring Allen Fisher, Fran Lock and Vicky Sparrow.

This reading is hosted by the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre, including some of Birkbeck’s PhD students working on contemporary poetry, Fran, Vicky and Bronac Ferran.

Biographies

Allen Fisher is a poet, artist and publisher, and the editor of Spanner magazine. He lives in Hereford, and is Emeritus Professor of Poetry and Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Altogether Fisher has over 150 publications in his name consisting of art documentation, poetry and theory. In 2015 his book of essays Imperfect Fit: Aesthetic Function, Facture and Reception , a companion to his work with essays by contemporaries and an Allen Fisher Reader were all published.

Fran Lock is writing her practice based Ph.D. on the relationship between the epistolary form in contemporary poetry and the use of letters in therapeutic contexts. She is the author of two poetry collections Flatrock (Little Episodes, 2011) and The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt, 2014). A third collect, Dogtooth, will be published by Out-Spoken Press in in February 2017.

Vicky Sparrow is writing her PhD on the poet-activist Anna Mendelssohn at the CPRC. Vicky’s poems can be found in datableed, Litmus, Kakania and Intercapillary Space and she’s currently finalising a chapbook to be published by Zarf Editions this Winter.

Bronaċ Ferran is first year PhD/MPhil at Birkbeck researching the work of poet, publisher and typographer Hansjörg Mayer. She’s writing a book about Mayer’s work in concrete poetry and other fields which will be published early next year by Walther König books. She also presents radio programmes on Resonance fm.

All are very welcome to attend.

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Event: Veer Books launch 13 January 2016

Veer Header Logo

On 13 January 2016, Veer Books in collaboration with the CPRC, Birkbeck, University of London, are hosting the launch of four new books by Adrian Clarke, Doug Jones, Nat Raha and William Rowe.

When: Wednesday 13 January 7.30-9 pm

Where: Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck University of London

More Information:

Adrian Clarke, Excess Measures 
http://www.veerbooks.com/filter/veer-books/Adrian-Clarke-Excess-Measures

Doug Jones, London and Norfolk Poems (out from Veer in a few days)

Nat Raha, Of Sirens – Body and Faultlines
http://www.veerbooks.com/filter/burner-veer/Nat-Raha-Of-Sirens-Body-and-Faultlines

William Rowe, Nation
http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/…/Nation%20Web%20Sample.pdf

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