Course Dates: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from September 4th – October 16th
Note: this is an online course suitable for students in any time zone.
Price: $500 (for 7 weeks) | Limited to 12 students |
SOLD OUT: Click here to get on the waiting list.
Found in Translation is a hands-on workshop for writers in all genres who want to gain greater freedom and discipline (sometimes called control), as well as depth of expression in their writing. Since freedom and discipline have a longstanding relationship in writing and all the arts, Peter Levitt designed this course specifically to help writers expand these crucial attributes in a way that will help to maximize authenticity, expression and depth in your work.
WHAT STUDENTS ARE SAYING
The class was indeed amazing. Personally, I would LOVE to continue the work that we started in this class. My brain was like a popcorn machine taking in what everyone wrote… Peter is a gem. ~ Sabrina Ali
I am coming away with so many things to think about, lots of inspiration and most exciting, a sense of a “way in” to work that is unfinished and had locked me out. Peter is an amazing teacher. ~ Rami Schandall
Levitt’s course was a delight. It produced a major shift in a. how I work and b. how I conduct myself in daily life. ~ Laure Baudot
I wanted to write and let you know what an enriching and uplifting experience I had throughout the class. Online classes, especially ones where the purpose is more than the transfer of facts and data, can be dull. Peter’s teaching knowledge and obvious commitment to the class created an atmosphere of open dialogue and exchange that led me… to many moments of awareness and deep learning about the creative process. All of this accomplished through the bizarre task of “translating” into English poems written in languages I don’t speak or read. I will cherish those poems for the rest of my life. Thank you so much for bringing Peter Levitt and his gifts as a teacher to your website community. I hope he will teach here again. His class is a remarkable not-to-be-missed opportunity for writers. ~ Angela Kenyon
It was a great class. A very deep process. It has, indeed, changed how I look at revision; meeting other writers at their “bones” and then meeting myself at my own bones! This has helped me take my ego out of revising. This is how it feels right now: Like a divot of sod has been dug out of me, out of the place where words come from. And somehow there is more space for me. ~ Christina Cha
A NOTE FROM PETER
One thing I’d like you to know at the outset – very important – is that no familiarity with the original languages you will translate is needed. I created the process you will use in this course after decades as a working poet, fiction writer, essayist and translator because I realized how thoroughly this unusual approach strengthened every aspect of my writing.
Here’s a bit more about the course:
It might be said that all writing, possibly all acts of language, are translation. A bold statement to be sure—maybe true—one worth exploring.
For example, on a walk through autumn woods with leaves floating all around, you discover that the wind, with all of autumn’s colouration, is alive inside you. You may not be certain how it got there, but there is no question that it is. Somehow, your body has grown lighter, seems to lose its boundary, and you find yourself almost lifting from the ground like the final phrase of a piano sonata floating off. How can you write the ineffable quality of the light or air exactly as you experience it in such a moment; how do you express the way these make you feel so that a reader can also have a primary experience of autumn and feel as you do?
And what about love, or any part of your personal invisible world? How can these be translated through language so that a reader has the greatest chance of knowing them in the way that you mean? How does any writer get so far down into what things really are that they can transform the invisible world of their own private thoughts and feelings into ink, and then turn that ink back into feeling and thought in the lives of readers as well?
These examples point to part of the challenge every writer faces: how to get said what must be said, and how to make it real? To help you engage this challenge, Found In Translation offers an approach to translation and writing that will help you engage many of the issues you already face as writers. It will help you to clarify and resolve your own writing issues and struggles and maximize your skills so that your writing becomes deeper and more authentically expressive no matter the genre in which you write. All this and fun, too? Yes.
Each week participants will be given what I like to call the bones of a poem from another language, culture and time. To that end, I’ll provide you with word-to-word, or, in the case of Asian languages, character-to word translations that I have made from the original work. Then the fun begins. By the end of the workshop, during which you translate and write, post your work, and discuss what you’ve written and discovered with other members of this course, you will have translated poems from among Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Polish, French, Russian, or even ancient Chinese. You will have come heart to heart and eye to eye with some of the world’s greatest writers, including Pablo Neruda, Wang Wei, Cesar Pavese, Teruyama Shuji, Ranier Maria Rilke, or others, and you will have learned how to apply the techniques you’ve been using to your own poems, prose, themes, characters, images, and writing needs.
Most importantly, as I wrote above, no familiarity with the original languages is needed. All you need to make the most of this course and strengthen your writing, and your connection to the source of that writing within you, is a willingness to explore, enjoy, be challenged and surprised in a way that enlivens you and your writing. Simply put, it is the willingness to be engaged.
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can. Sarah can also answer questions about this course, since she was one of my students a few years ago and based on her experience, invited me to offer this course as part of her phenomenal program.
Thanks everyone. I hope to work with you soon.
ABOUT PETER LEVITT
Peter Levitt was born in New York City in 1946. His ten poetry books include Within Within, One Hundred Butterflies and Bright Root, Dark Root. He has published Fingerpainting on the Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path to Freedom, and, with Kazuaki Tanahashi, he cotranslated A Flock of Fools: Ancient Buddhist Tales of Wisdom and Laughter. In addition, he has published fiction and literary translations from Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. Legendary poet, Robert Creeley, wrote that Peter Levitt’s poetry “sounds the honor of our common dance,” and, in 1989 Peter received the prestigious Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry. A longtime student of Zen, he edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic, The Heart of Understanding, and recently he served as Associate Editor of The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye – Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Shambhala Publications, 2010). He lives with his family on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.
MORE PRAISE FOR PETER’S TEACHING
Levitt’s class was the best gift a writer could have – a glimpse of the pathway we’re on as writers, and a better understanding of why we’re here, what we’re trying to do. The writing process is mysterious, and accessing the creative place within us is so often elusive. Peter taught me how to bring awareness to the craft of writing, and in doing so also helped me bring patience, joy and a greater sense of freedom to the process. His teachings will always have an influence on my work. ~ Lucie
I was so struck and changed and liberated by Peter’s class. In it, we learned to be attentive – to language, process, one another, the world – by practicing compassion on the one hand, and total precision on the other. He’s an amazing teacher, and I’m a truer writer for having worked with him.
Peter Levitt’s course in translation awakened my mind to the process of literary creation. His emphasis on going back to “the place before words,” to the scene, senses or emotions that inspired the original poet, has proven invaluable in all my writing — poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
I recommend Peter’s course in Translation because it provides the opportunity to work with a teacher who leads you to see things in a new way – and then in another new way. Peter offers a joy-filled approach to writing that lets you focus on quality rather than quantity.
If there is a wiser, more gentle and experienced teacher of writing, I would be amazed. Peter’s openness, creative listening and responses, and his vast knowledge (how did he ever have the time to learn so much and figure out how to apply it to the process of writing and creativity?) made me a more authentic, powerful writer in every way imaginable. If you have a chance to work with him don’t hesitate.
Almost twenty years ago I read these poems and loved them. Now they are back in print and I love them even more. What is better than a short piece, a slice, a moment of words that stops you dead like a black exploding sun? There is real happiness here in this book. Come to it no matter how grieved or unhappy you may be.
– Natalie Goldberg, Author of Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind and other books
The quiet virtuosity of this book shimmers, finding its vocation in the linguistic and emotional centres of the human heart. Peter Levitt creates an intimate evocative world here, one of illuminating depth and lyrical meditation, both ample in their fluency. There’s an inventive elegance to these poems that takes the reader to another order of awareness. Within Within is a beautiful and necessary book.
– Don Domanski,
Governor General’s Award winning poet, 2008