Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


The central question that most studies of poetry translation ask, implicitly or explicitly, is whether poetry can be translated. It may seem obvious that it can, since poetry has always been translated. One way of overcoming it is demonstrated by Burnshaw, who translates poetry into a non-poetic text with detailed commentary. This approach can, as this case illustrates, provide highly sensitive prose translations that allow the reader great insight into the original poems. Descriptive theory can enhance the poetry translator’s knowledge of what is possible, and thus be a valuable tool. Three main types of theory are likely to be of particular relevance to theorizing the translation of poetry: theories of poetry, theories of the mind and theories of translation. Much of the information about poetry translation that serves as the basis for theorizing is provided by practising translators in prefaces, notes, introductions and descriptive essays, as well as on various online platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies
EditorsMona Baker, Gabriela Saldanha
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781315678627
ISBN (Print)978113893330
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • translation
  • poetry
  • poetry translation

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