Discussion Translating Brecht, a poet for our times

The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht Book Cover © Cover image of The Collected Poems of Bertot Brecht published 2018 by Liveright Publishing

Tue, 01.10.2019

Goethe-Institut London Library

50 Princes Gate
Exhibition Road
SW7 2PH London

To celebrate International Translation Day 2019 we are delighted to present a discussion of Brecht's poetry in translation. This event is part of an international project called Der gläserne Übersetzer (The Transparant Translator) initiated by the Weltlesebühne in cooperation with Goethe-Institutes worldwide.

Tonight's discussion features the award-winning translators and Brecht experts, David Constantine and Tom Kuhn who recently published 'The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht' which gave English-language readers access to many previously untranslated Brecht poems:

Translating Brecht – around 1200 of his poems – we knew him to be a poet as vitally important in our times as he was in his own. In any number of voices, moods and poetic forms he asks the critical question:  how do we live? And the further questions that come of it: how should we, how might we, live? We shall present both the problems and pleasures of translating him, some of the ways of going about it, something of what we learned. (David Constantine)

The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht © Liveright David Constantine was for thirty years a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published a dozen volumes of poetry; two novels; and five  collections of short stories. He is an editor and translator of Hölderlin, Goethe, Kleist and Brecht. For his stories he won the BBC National and the Frank O’ Connor International Awards (2010, 2013). With Helen Constantine he edited 'Modern Poetry in Translation', 2003-12. In 2018 Bloodaxe published his new and greatly enlarged 'Selected Poetry of Hölderlin' and Norton published 'The Collected Poems of  Bertolt Brecht' translated by Tom Kuhn and him.

Tom Kuhn teaches German language and literature at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of St Hugh’s College. With David Constantine he is the editor and translator of 'The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht' (Norton 2018). He is also the series editor of the principal English-language edition of Brecht’s plays and other writings, with Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, and has numerous publications on Brecht and twentieth-century drama and exile literature.

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