A Good Translation is Like a Happy Marriage



Poet Vera Pavlova and her translator Steven Seymour, who also happens to be her husband, read a selection of poetry in Russian and English translation in the Biblio Café on Valentine’s Day 2013.

Seniors Alex North, Caitlin Moriarty, and Maria Smirnova also read translations of Pavlova’s newest, unpublished poems. They had prepared these translations together with Pavlova and Seymour earlier in the week as part of their senior seminar in translation.

Mackenzie Stricklin ’16, a second-semester Russian student, attended the reading: “It was great to hear the poems in their original form and I loved how they sounded, even if I couldn’t understand every word. Vera Pavlova was so animated while she was reciting her poems. She moved her arms around, made eye contact, and used interesting intonation, which made the poems fun to listen to. Plus the poetry was beautifully written and translated.”

Barrett Ziegler, a first-year Russian student and a poet himself, thought that “hearing her recite was beautiful. Even being unable to grasp everything she said, the rhythm was something that crossed all linguistic boundaries.”

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