Institute for Creative Writing Welcomes Australian Poet Kevin Brophy

Prof. Carlos Dews and Kevin Brophy

Prof. Carlos Dews and Kevin Brophy

On Tuesday, May 26 the John Cabot Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation hosted the first event of the sixth-annual Summer Institute that will be held through the month of June at the University. Professor Carlos Dews, Chair of the English Language and Literature department as well as Director of the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation, introduced Australian poet, critic and novelist Kevin Brophy – author of thirteen books of poetry, fiction and essays. In addition to writing, Kevin Brophy teaches poetry and short fiction at the Creative Writing program of the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Professor Dews also introduced Brophy’s latest book Walking; New and Selected Poems, published in 2003 by John Leonardo Press.

After the introduction, Brophy greeted the audience by giving a brief speech in Italian; with simple words he expressed deep thanks to the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation and Professor Dews for hosting him. In addition, he thanked the Australia Council for allowing him to come to Rome, and Professor Marina Morbiducci from Sapienza University of Rome. Marina Morbiducci and two of her students – Marzia Imperato and Alessia Paolillo – collaborated with Brophy in translating some of his poems into Italian. In the first part of the event, Brophy read a selection of poems from Walking; New and Selected Poems and briefly commented upon each of them. “Painting Session” – the first poem – is dedicated to his two year-old daughter Sofia and symbolizes his experience, feelings, and worries as a father. Sapienza University student Alessia Paolillo read her translation of the poem.

Brophy then presented a nature poem – “Tulips” – and explained how he considers nature as an escape from the urban environment in which he lives. An Italian translation was given by Marzia Imperato. After his reading from his latest book, Brophy shared other poems inspired by the city of Rome and written during his residency in the city, Professor Morbiducci presented some pieces written by the Italian poet Valerio Magrelli and Brophy interpreted them in English. Lastly, the poet thanked the audience and his hosts and welcomed some questions. Asked about his experience in Rome, Brophy revealed that he tends to deal with the “actual,” – the moment to moment experiences – explaining that he makes the most out of these experiences by working in the mornings which allows him to explore Rome and the surrounding areas in the afternoons to get the right inspiration, “Here I indulge, it is both pleasurable and dreadful.”

Brophy concluded his reading by explaining that a literal translation of poetry cannot be made; poetry has a spirit that must be presently felt by the reader, and maintained by the translation, if not, the truth of the poem is lost.