Today is Burns Day, when Scots (here in Scotland and just about everywhere else in the world) celebrate the life and work of Robert (Rabbie) Burns. The celebrations often take the form of a Burns Supper at which the haggis takes pride of place, along with poetry and, of course, whisky. Here’s a wee round-up […]

Did you know that we translators have our own poet laureate – who’s also a pretty mean rapper? Here’s a sample: The deadline Ten thousand words for Friday OK that should be fine Two thousand words a day A good steady pace I must say Day one and all is going fine It’s telly tonight with […]

Alexander Anichkin’s blog post, When the Poet Died, was written a few months ago (June 2011) but makes timely reading today, Remembrance Sunday. Alexander’s post starts from his translation of Gilbert Bécaud’s song “Quand il est mort, le poète” (lyrics by Louis Amade). So it gives us an insight to the challenges faced by translators in translating songs (or […]

Words

24Aug10

This lovely video, produced by Everynone for Radiolab, has been doing the rounds on Twitter, so you may already have seen it. It bears repeat viewing, I think. It’s about words and also about our common humanity. I find it moving. Serendipity is a lovely word and a lovely concept. Shortly after watching the Words […]

I wrote the other day about scent, as one of my favourite words (serendipity’s another). Scent isn’t a word you’d normally associate with the war in Afghanistan. But it cropped up in a Radio Scotland programme, Black Watch, 3 Scots: A War in Their Own Words, recounting life in the Afghan war zones. The account takes […]

My last post was about Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Today’s is about American poet Marianne Moore and her relationship with the US car industry. Marianne was a winner of the Helen Haire Levinson Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize. In 1995, she was approached by David Wallace and Bob Young from Ford’s […]

My first post on this blog, on 1 May, celebrated Carol Ann Duffy’s appointment as Poet Laureate. Her first poem since then has been published in today’s Guardian. How it makes of your face a stone that aches to weep, of your heart a fist, clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue an iron latch […]

A good day to start a new blog about words and language. Carol Ann Duffy, born into a “left-wing, Catholic, working class” family in Glasgow’s Gorbals neighbourhood, has just been made Poet Laureate. Amazingly, the first woman ever to hold the position here in Britain. It’s heartening to read, courtesy of her BBC profile, that […]