Translating Place in Poetry: A Virtual Workshop Series

April 15th, 22nd, 29th, and May 6th

11 am - 1 pm


Translating Place in Poetry: A Virtual Workshop Series
Led by Layla Benitez-James and Ian Farnes
Pay what you can ($25-$75) | Register here

  • Workshop dates: April 15th, 22nd, 29th, and May 6th

Every city and every landscape has its textures, languages, peoples, hidden corners, and secrets, but how can we “translate” all these elements into our poetry? Translating Place in Poetry is a four-week, virtual workshop series which uses translation theory as a compass to navigate translating a place into poetry. Through guided close reading of text in English and Spanish, we’ll build strategies for translating our environment into compelling words on a page.

Through research, travel (both physical and virtual), and borrowing from the art of cartography and mapping the seasons, this series empowers participants to explore their surroundings to enliven their writing.

Multilingual writing is encouraged, though workshop leaders will only be able to read texts in English and Spanish.

“Glasgow is a magnificent city,” said McAlpin. “Why do we hardly ever notice that?”

“Because nobody imagines living here…think of Florence, Paris, London, New York. Nobody visiting them for the first time is a stranger because he’s already visited them in paintings, novels, history books and films. But if a city hasn’t been used by an artist, not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively."

-Alasdair Gray, Lanark

About your facilitators
Layla Benitez-James is a 2022 NEA fellow in translation, a 2022/23 National Book Critics Circle Fellow, and the author of God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode but He Had to Make Sure, selected by Major Jackson for Cave Canem’s 2017 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. As Director of Literary Outreach for the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid, she edited its poetry festival anthology, Desperate Literature. Poems and essays are published in Modern Poetry in Translation, Black Femme Collective, Virginia Quarterly Review, Latino Book Review, Poetry London, and forthcoming in Poetry Magazine. Layla received an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston and has published reviews with Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Books.

Ian Farnes is a writer of prose and poetry from Fife, Scotland who lives in Alicante Spain. He also works as a literary translator (Spanish to English).He has had prose published in literary journals and magazines such as thi wurd and Razur Cuts, The Selkie and The Common Breath and appeared in the latter's anthology The Middle of a Sentence. His poetry has appeared in Gutter Mag, Spelt, Broken Sleep and Lighthouse.