Translation event celebrates diversity

For one hour on Cornell College’s Orange Carpet, everyone is invited to help translate a short poem by William Carlos Williams into as many languages as possible.

shutterstock_12270436The event, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, is part of Mural Speaks!, a project of poet and author Ben Miller ’86.

The special event hosted by members of the Classical and Modern Languages department will begin with a 10-minute introduction to Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow” by Glenn Freeman, professor of English and creative writing. Freeman will help participants understand the poem and begin to think about the poetic themes, imagery, sound effects, rhythm, and graphic design as they attempt a literary translation of the poem. Following is time for groups to collaborate and translate (30-40 minutes), and a short sharing of each group’s translation (5-10 minutes).  

The translations will be shared with Cornell alumnus Ben Miller, the organizer of Mural Speaks!, who is collecting translations of “The Red Wheelbarrow” in more than 140 languages. Miller received Cornell’s Leadership and Service Award in 2016. His awards include creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Translating “The Red Wheelbarrow” is a community event to celebrate diversity, connect with an international project expressing love for poetry and cultural awareness, and kick off Student Symposium weekend.

“The Red Wheelbarrow”
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white