Burchiello Redressed: Translating Poetry with Images and Words

Humanities Week 2015 at the University of Arizona

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 6:30pm
UA Poetry Center - Dorothy Rubel Room
Helen S. Schaefer Building, 1508 E. Helen St. Tucson, AZ
Free and open to the public

In 15th century Italy, Florentine poet-barber Domenico di Giovanni, nicknamed il Burchiello (1404-1449), was praised as one of Italy’s greatest poets, rivaling Dante and Petrarch.

While Burchiello’s poetry set a new standard for comic poetry, inspiring generations of imitative “burchiellisti” poets, it presents readers and translators alike with a difficult interpretive problem: it is deliberately crafted nonsense. Professors Alfie and Feng discuss their forthcoming edition of Burchiello’s poetry, the first English translation of his work, while professor Christiana presents his etchings and designs based on select translations. Together, they will investigate two creative modes of inquiry—linguistic translation and visual counterpoint in literature—in order to both make Burchiello’s nonsense poetry accessible to a larger audience and to show the symbiotic relationship between text and image.