Excavating the poetic in non-literary classical texts
Dr Josephine Balmer - Excavating the poetic in non-literary classical texts
Poet and classical translator Josephine Balmer reads and discusses some of her latest work inspired by non-literary classical texts from Roman Britain.
|A Centre for Translating Cultures seminar|
|Speaker(s)||Dr Josephine Balmer|
|Date||20 January 2021|
|Time||15:30 to 17:00|
|Organizer||Prof Fiona Cox|
Poet and classical translator Josephine Balmer reads and discusses some of her latest work inspired by non-literary classical texts from Roman Britain. These include inscriptions, engraved household objects, as well as medical implements, even a protective ‘spell’, and a cache of Roman writing tablets recently discovered in the City of London. In these works she uncovers the voices of ordinary Roman Londoners – all those whose stories are usually overlooked in the translation of ‘high’ literary texts - underscoring the diverse culture in which they lived, exploring poetry from the ground up. She will consider the issues raised by working with such unusual source material and describe the strategies she employed to transform everyday Roman writing into contemporary verse.
Josephine Balmer’s previous collection, The Paths of Survival, was short-listed for the 2017 London Hellenic Prize and was a Poetry Book of the Year in The Times. Other collections include The Word for Sorrow (2009), Chasing Catullus: Poems, Translations and Transgressions (2004) and the chapbook Letting Go: mourning sonnets (2017). She has also published the translations Catullus: Poems of Love and Hate and Classical Women Poets (2004 & 1996). Her acclaimed volume, Sappho: Poems and Fragments, was short-listed in 1989 for the inaugural US Lambda Literary Award for Poetry and has recently been reissued in an expanded edition to include newly-discovered fragments (2018). Her study Piecing Together the Fragments: Translating Classical Verse, Creating Contemporary Poetry, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.