To Be a Poet: An Evening of International Poetry

Classics 110, 1010 E. 59th St.

What does it mean to be a poet? What is the significance of poetry in today’s world? Can poetry transcend borders and connect with readers across different cultures? What is it like to experience your own poetry in a foreign language? What challenges and rewards come with translating and publishing foreign poetry? These questions and more will be explored by three distinguished poets from around the globe: Francesca Bell from California, Rob A. Mackenzie from Edinburgh, and Czech poet Petr Hruška.

Despite their diverse backgrounds, they all share a deep commitment to poetry, considering it an integral part of their lives. Rob A. Mackenzie is a pastor and a prominent figure in the Scottish poetry scene; Petr Hruška is a literary historian and leading authority on 20th-century Czech poetry; and Francesca Bell is quite unique for having eschewed the more well-trodden path of first studying creative writing at university before becoming a poet.

What unites them all is also their passion for translation. Rob A. Mackenzie established Blue Diode Press, which specializes in publishing both British poetry and poetry in translation. Francesca Bell focuses on translating German poetry, particularly the works of Max Sessner. Petr Hruška has seen his poetry translated into Italian, French, and English in recent years.

Sponsored by CEERES, the Czech Literary Centre, the Program in Creative Writing, and the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, with the generous support of the Otto V. Capek, Jr. Fund.