Tradurre è un bacio – The Kiss of Translation

The English/Italian bilingual edition of the 25 Best New Zealand Poems was launched on 11 April 2017 at Victoria University of Wellington’s Wai-te-ata Press. The evening featured a panel discussion with special guest Nicola Gardini, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, University of Oxford.

Gardini in conversation with Perris and Luciano.
Professor Nicola Gardini (centre) in conversation with Senior Lecturer Simon Perris (left) and Professor Bernadette Luciano on poetry in translation. Photo: Robert Cross

In conversation with Professor Bernadette Luciano, University of Auckland, and Senior Lecturer Simon Perris, Victoria, Professor Gardini summed up the importance of translation when he said that it “is always gain, never loss. It is an exploration.” He responded passionately to questions about Latin as the ghost that haunts Italy, the physicality of the ‘kiss’ of translation and the creativity required for the process.

Associate Professor Sally Hill, Head of the School of Languages and Cultures, welcomed the guests on behalf of Victoria and acknowledged the hard work that went into to the books' production. Poets Dinah Hawken, John Dennison and Frances Samuel popped-up from the audience to read a sampling of their poems in English, interspersed with Victoria students reading the Italian translations. His Excellency Fabrizio Marcelli, Italian Ambassador to NZ, and Professor Luciano formally launched the book.

Best New Zealand Poems 2015: Florilègio di poesia neozelandese contemporanea, was translated into Italian by Francesca Benocci, PhD candidate in Literary Translation Studies at Victoria, with a foreword by Professor Marinella Rocca Longo, Università degli Studi Roma Tre. It follows the success of the first bilingual (English/Chinese) edition of 25 Best New Zealand Poems 2014 released last year; both part of The NZCLT Collection.

The book is a collaboration between Wai-te-ata Press, the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, the School of Languages and Cultures and the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria. It was made possible by the generous support of the Embassy of Italy in New Zealand, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Sydney, Australia, and Creative New Zealand.

Copies are available for purchase in a limited edition of 400 from Wai-te-ata Press.

Contact: Dr Sydney Shep


Phone: 04 463 5784