Mediating Modern Poetry helps celebrate 50 years of MPT

Karen Leeder and Ulrike Almut Sandig were among those who helped the magazine MPT (Modern Poetry in Translation) founded by Ted Hughes fifty years ago to celebrate with dedicated readings and workshops.

Queen's College hosted the Oxford event on Saturday 14 May 2016 with workshops, readings, talks and a presentation of the first MPT. A host of poets translators and guests took part.

Workshops offered hands-on opportunities to work with wrtiers and transaltors: The Permissions of Translation: How Fake Translations Can Be Real Poems with Patrick McGuinness; Translating from the Italian with Jamie McKendrick; Translating from the German with Karen Leeder and Ulrike Almut Sandig; Old Norse Poetry Translation Workshop with Carolyne Larrington and Debbie Potts; Translating from the French with Stephen Romer; Translating from the Hebrew with Adriana Jacobs

As part of MPT's 50th anniversary celebrations, Bloodaxe Books in partnership with MPT has published a ground-breaking anthology, Centres of Cataclysm, which features the best poems, letters and essays from the magazine's unparalleled 50 year archive. Some of the acclaimed poets and translators whose work features in the anthology read their work and discussed the ways in which translation affects poetics and helps to transform the English-language poetic landscape. Featuring David Constantine, Karen Leeder, Nikola Madzirov, Pascale Petit, and Ulrike Almut Sandig. Introduced by Sasha Dugdale, Editor of MPT.

A special session introduced former MPT co-editor and poet David Constantine who has pioneered the translation of Bertolt Brecht’s poetry into English and is working, together with Tom Kuhn, Brecht scholar, translator and leader of the Writing Brecht project, on a major new English edition of Brecht’s poems. In this session David and Tom reflected on translating the great poet into many media, together with theatre director Di Trevis who has staged Brecht many times at the National Theatre and has a long history of working with both Brechtian drama and poetry. They are joined by composer Dominic Muldowney who has set many of Brecht’s poems and songs to music.

A finale looked back at MPT Issue No.1
In 1965, Ted Hughes and Danny Weissbort launched MPT No.1, a broadsheet-style publication printed on thin airmail paper. It featured English language translations of poems by great Eastern European poets such as Czesław Miłosz, Vasko Popa, Zbigniew Herbert, and Miroslav Holub, as well as work by the Israeli poet Yehudi Amichai. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of this remarkable publication, a brand new microsite dedicated to the first issue has been developed, featuring all of the original content, as well as a series of responses and reflections by outstanding contemporary poets and translators. In this event, we'll be launching and exploring the new site, and considering the legacy and impact of MPT No.1. With contributions and reflections from David Constantine, Ed Cottrell, Karen Leeder, Nikola Madzirov, Ulrike Sandig and Pavel Theiner. Chaired by Sasha Dugdale, Editor of MPT.

Read Josephine Corcoran's blog about the day

and one  from The Stone and the Star by Clarissa Ackroyd.

As part of the day Ulrike Almut Sandig and I discussed the poem 'Hinemoana' and watched a film made by Sandig of the poem with New Zeland poet Hinemoana Baker. Read and hear the German here. This is the film from Sandig's website.  Read two of the translations from the workshop here by Amy Rose O'Hanlon and Thomas Marshall

See links to Ulrike Almut Sandig's work with MMP and her tour of the UK in 2015