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Exploring Persian Classics
Location: Rose O’Neill Literary House
CHESTERTOWN, MD—One of the world’s foremost experts on medieval Persian literature kicks off the Rose O’Neill Literary House spring lecture series, “What’s Found in Translation,” on Tuesday, February 3. Poet and translator Richard Davis will discuss his work beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Lit House, 407 Washington Avenue. His talk is free and open to the public.
Davis, whom the Times Literary Supplement called “our finest translator from Persian,” taught Persian at University of California, and at Ohio State University, where he also served as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures for almost a decade. Mage Publishers, who has published eight of Davis’s books, including his own creative works such as At Home and Far From Home: Poems on Iran and Persian Culture (Mage, 2009), credits Davis with “exacting technical expertise and wide cultural sympathy—an ability to enter into distant cultural milieus both intellectually and emotionally.”
Davis has also received multiple awards for his translation work, including being one of the Washington Post’s “top ten books of 2006” for his translation of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh: the Persian Book of Kings. Davis has also received awards and distinctions such as a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Ingram Merrill and Heinemann awards for poetry.
“Dick Davis is both an accomplished poet in his own right and a highly regarded translator as well,” says Jehanne Dubrow, director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. “His translations of epic Persian poetry are particularly impressive — incredibly ambitious undertakings, formally rigorous, and displaying a deep understanding of Persian culture and history.”
In addition to Davis, the Spring 2015 lecture series “What’s Found in Translation” will feature verse translator and classicist Diane Arnson Svarlien (February 24), and Benjamin Paloff, author of the poetry book The Politics (March 17) and a translator of Slavic works.
Dubrow says the series on translations is part of the Lit House’s interdisciplinary mission. “It allows us to build connections with departments such as Modern Languages and to showcase the role that international literature plays in American arts and letters,” she says. “The visiting translators work in languages that include Persian, Italian, Polish, Russian, and Ancient Greek. Our students will be exposed to not only a range of approaches to translation but also the different career paths that translators can take.”
For more information about the “What’s Found in Translation” lecture series and other Rose O’Neill Literary House events and programs, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse, call (410) 778-7899, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.