Translating Like a Poet: A Workshop with David Brunson

Join us on Sunday, May 14, 2:00pm Central for a generative introductory workshop on the art of translation with featured translator and poet David Brunson.

Translating Like a Poet: A Poet’s Approach to Literary Translation

Translation has taken on increased visibility in recent years as magazines expand their reach to include translated literature, translators themselves gain greater recognition, and readers seek out new voices that have been underrepresented in English-language literature. Using this growing relevance as a starting point, this workshop will look at the translation process from beginning to end, paying particular attention to the ways that one’s own reading and writing practices intersect with translation as a mutually informing process.

We’ll discuss the technical aspects of literary translation for first-time translators, compare different translations of the same poem, explore digital tools to assist in the translation process, and learn about identifying translation projects. You’ll even translate a poem during the workshop! Attendees are welcome to bring in a source poem that they wish to translate. Otherwise, poems in several different languages will be provided.

Fluency in a non-English language is not required—all you need is enthusiasm for world literature and a love of poetry. 

SUPPORT OUR WORK: Suggested donation of $5 or more. 

Every donation to Open Mouth Literary Center supports our programming, ASL interpreters, featured poets, and increasing accessibility. The only way we can keep doing this is with our community’s support!

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ACCESS NOTES: The reading will take place virtually via Zoom with Zoom and auto captions. An ASL interpreter will be present. Access copies of poems will be made available via Google Docs. Our Access Statement will be read before we begin.

Recommended for attendees 16 years and above.


David M. Brunson is the editor and translator of A Scar Where Goodbyes Are Written: An Anthology of Venezuelan Poets in Chile (LSU Press 2023). His poems and translations have appeared in Copper Nickel, Mānoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, ANMLY, DIAGRAM, Washington Square Review, The Journal of Italian Translation, and elsewhere. He is the cofounder and editor of Copihue Poetry.


A photo of the featured poet is outlined with a black line and displayed over a light blue background. Beneath the photo are the words “Open Mouth Presents: David Brunson.” Availability of sign language interpretation is indicated by the presence of an icon showing two hands signing in the bottom left corner.

Photo description: Medium close-up portrait of the translator. David, a white man with a beard, stands in front of the gray ocean. The horizon and overcast sky are also visible. There is a large rock in the water, which can be seen over his left shoulder. David wears a knit wool beanie and a knit wool sweater with brown zigzag patterns. It’s a selfie.

SPONSORS: Support for Open Mouth Literary Center is provided, in part, by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from our supporters on Patreon.