The British Centre for Literary Translation
In association with the British Library
The Sebald Lecture 2017
Releasing the Lyric: Translating Latin and Greek Poetry
Michael Longley CBE
Monday 20 February 2017
7pm, The British Library Conference Centre
London NW1 2DB
Tickets £12 (£10 over 60s, £8 con)
On sale from the British Library Box Office
Since studying Classics at Trinity College Dublin, Irish poet Michael Longley has frequently drawn on classical models in his poetry and established allusive parallels between ancient and modern concerns. Over the course of his career he has also translated a wide variety of fellow poets, from classical authors to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, prompting Justin Quinn to write that ‘for Longley, translation becomes a way of thinking about the world’. In this lecture he will be reading, and commenting on, his translations from Latin and Greek. He will begin with his youthful versions from Sextus Propertius and progress to later poems derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, taking in Sappho and Tibullus on the way.
One of Britain’s finest poets, Michael Longley has received many awards for his lyrical poems about love, death, memory, history and nature, published over more than fifty years. His collection Gorse Fires (1991) won the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and The Weather in Japan (2000) won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. His most recent book The Stairwell won the 2015 Griffin International Prize. His next collection Angel Hill will be published in June 2017. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2001, and was appointed a CBE in 2003. He was Professor of Poetry for Ireland from 2007 to 2010.
The Sebald Lecture is given annually on an aspect of literature in translation and is named after W.G. Sebald who set up BCLT in 1989. ‘Max’ was a German writer who opted to live in the UK and continue writing in German. His novels and essays include The Rings of Saturn, Austerlitz and On the Natural History of Destruction, and they established him as a leading writer of the 20th century.