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Event Details

Thu, November 02, 2023

14:00 – 15:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50130 Firenze, Italy

With Elisa Biagini and Eugene Ostashevsky. Moderated by Rob Fitterman.

Where would we be without translation? Many of our course materials and many of the books we read for pleasure started their lives in languages other than English. Is this something we need to think about? Is translation something as simple as taking content from one language and putting into another? Or does translation change the content of the text? Can there be translation that changes the content intentionally, as a creative practice? Is such creative translation ethical?
And does it matter whom we translate and whom we don’t? And from which languages we translate and from which we don’t? Should students studying foreign languages consider taking coursework in translation? Should they even consider a translation minor? Elisa Biagini, a translator of American feminist poetry and a noted Italian poet who has been translated into English, will speak with Eugene Ostashevsky, professor of Liberal Studies at NYU-NYC, writer, translator, and faculty affiliate of NYU’s new Translation Minor, co-sponsored by Liberal Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature.

Featured Biographies

Elisa Biagini


Elisa Biagini is an Italian poet. Her poetry collections include L’Ospite (Einaudi, 2004), Fiato. parole per musica (D’If, 2006), Nel Bosco (Einaudi, 2007), The Guest in the Wood (Chelsea editions, 2013; Best Translated Book Award), Da una crepa (Einaudi, 2014), The Plant of Dreaming (Xenos books, 2017), Depuis une fissure (Cadastre8zero, 2018; Prix Nunc 2018), Filamenti (Einaudi, 2020), Filaments (Le Taillis Pré, 2022) and TRÅDAR (Bökforlaget Edda 2023).  Her poems have been translated into fifteen languages. She has translated several contemporary American poets for reviews, anthologies and complete collections (Nuovi Poeti Americani, Einaudi, 2006). She teaches Writing at NYU Florence.

Eugene Ostashevsky


Eugene Ostashevsky is a poet and translator whose writing is described as “translingual” because of its focus on linguistic multiplicity and interference. His Feeling Sonnets (Carcanet, NYRB Poets, 2022) examine the effects of speaking a non-native language on emotions and identity. An earlier book, The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi (NYRB Poets, 2017), discusses communication difficulties between pirates and parrots and was the pretext of a mini-opera at the 2019 Venice Biennale. As a translator, Ostashevsky is best known for his editions of the literature of the Russian avant-garde but he has also helped translate Elisa Biagini from the Italian (The Guest in the Wood, 2013; The Plant of Dreaming, 2017). He is the recipient of major awards for both poetry and translation and a professor in the Liberal Studies program at NYU-NYC.