Stu­dents meet lit­er­ary ex­pert ahead of poetry com­pe­ti­tion

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS -

A LIT­ER­ARY ex­pert was in­vited into King’s School to in­spire its young word­smiths.

To pre­pare their stu­dents to en­ter the pres­ti­gious Stephen Spen­der Prize for poetry in trans­la­tion, King’s School staff in­vited one of the North’s lead­ing lit­er­ary ex­perts, Barry Wood, to visit school and meet the stu­dents.

To en­ter the national com­pe­ti­tion, A-level stu­dents can choose any of the lan­guages taught at King’s – such as French, Ger­man, Span­ish and Ja­panese – or any other lan­guage, get­ting ex­pert help to trans­late a poem from the orig­i­nal lan­guage into English from the King’s teach­ing team.

Pro­fes­sor Barry Wood, who writes, re­views and teaches modern poetry for the Cen­tre for Con­tin­u­ing Education at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester and is an hon­orary fel­low in the Writ­ing School at Manch­ester Met­ro­pol­i­tan Univer­sity, was pre­vi­ously prin­ci­pal lec­turer in English and cre­ative writ­ing at the Univer­sity of Bolton.

He spoke to stu­dents about how tal­ented trans­la­tors give mean­ing to works of lit­er­a­ture that make it clear for read­ers.

He said: “The Amer­i­can poet Robert Frost once wrote ‘Poetry is what gets lost in trans­la­tion’. But there are many, my­self in­cluded, who look on this as a neg­a­tive view­point and be­lieve that trans­la­tion is the very lifeblood of lit­er­ary devel­op­ment and achieve­ment.

“As read­ers, most of us de­pend on trans­la­tions for our knowl­edge of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the great 19th cen­tury Rus­sian nov­el­ists, the plays of Ib­sen and Brecht, and the ex­tra­or­di­nary 20th cen­tury po­ets of East­ern Europe. And for writ­ers it is of­ten a way of learn­ing and ex­tend­ing skills and of un­der­stand­ing the orig­i­nal­ity and dif­fer­ence of for­eign texts.

“Trans­la­tion, as an­other writer puts it, ‘is the most in­ti­mate act of read­ing’ and al­lows us an in­sight into all forms of lit­er­a­ture.”

Sally Jones, King’s School’s head of Span­ish, said: “This ini­tia­tive is de­signed to in­spire both our lan­guages and lit­er­a­ture stu­dents and re­veal how the dif­fer­ent lev­els of mean­ing and truth­ful­ness to the poet’s in­tent can be achieved by the skilled sen­si­tive trans­la­tor.

“It is a way of en­abling our most tal­ented stu­dents to un­cover in all their com­plex­ity the thoughts and feel­ings of some of the world’s great­est writ­ers.”

Among the stu­dents to meet Barry were King’s former Cheshire cham­pion for poetry recital Lau­ren Hay­ward, 17, and Robert Devon, 17.

Lau­ren, who is study­ing Span­ish, English lit­er­a­ture and psy­chol­ogy said: “Lis­ten­ing to Pro­fes­sor Wood gave us all a pre­view of univer­sity life and the com­plex chal­lenges we will face if we want to succeed.”

King’s School stu­dents Lau­ren Hay­ward and Robert Devon meet lit­er­ary ex­pert Barry Wood

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