The ‘Your Language My Ear’ poetry symposium arrives at Princeton University


The poetry symposium called ‘Your Language My Ear’ usually takes place at the University of Pennsylvania.

But not this year. Another Ivy league school will serve as the host in 2019.

The symposium will take place for the first time at Princeton University. The poetry readings will be in English and Russian and open to the public. The event is on March 16 at 4 p.m. in Room 010 in the East Pyne Building of Princeton University.

“This is the first time we are doing this at Princeton,” said Professor Michael Wachtel, the chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University. “The same symposium is still done at Penn for a couple of days. We decided to join forces this time. For me it was important to emphasize the fact that Russian is now an international language of poetry.”

According to the University of Penn, the ‘Your Language My Ear’ is a translation symposium that brings together Russian and American poets, along with American scholars, translators and students of Russian poetry, for intensive translation of contemporary poetry from Russian to English.

There are six Russian language poets who will be featured at the event. They are Polina Barskova, Keti Chukhrov, Dmitry Kuzmin, Elena Mikhailik, Galina Rymbu and Leonid Schwab.

“What we have done is translated a lot of the six Russian language poets work that will be read this weekend. We have gotten together with the poets to make the translations better. They are sometimes some obscure things when translating that they can help us with,” he said.

Each poet had five scholars to be able to refine the translations and some of the poetry will be published after the symposium.

“This is a completely bilingual reading. We read the poems first in translation and then the original,” Wachtel said. “The translator will read the poem in translation and the poet will read the poem in the original. This will not be limited to people who know Russian.”

The event will be able to hold about 100 attendees and there will be an informal questions and answer section of the hour event.

In the last week most of the work for the translations had taken place in preparation for this weekend’s event.

“Approximately between 50-100 poems have been translated. Some of them are short about 12-14 lines. There is a broad spectrum of poetry too,” he said.

Some of the poems will be social commentaries, or straightly political, and lyrical.

“I am excited for this event this symposium has always been great in the past and I see it not being any different this time,” Wachtel said.

There will also be an event on March 15 about a film called ‘Communion’. It is a film between a play and poem and will be screened in Room 010 in the East Pyne Building at Princeton University prior to the event on March 16.

For more information about the symposium and film visit