Contemporary poetry, poetry criticism and the notion of poetics are in a state of rapid development and diversification driven by: 1) interaction with other art forms (hybrid visual-poetic and musical-poetic forms); 2) trans-national, exchanges and collaborations; 3) the development of transcultural and translingual approaches to literature and culture; 4) the potential of digital technology (electronic poetry).

The centre for Poetic Innovation addresses poetry and poetics creatively, critically and historically, promoting and studying poetic innovation in a broad sense of both terms, from poetry as traditionally understood to  poetic aspects of visual and material art forms (such as artists’ books), of prose writing (such as the New Nature Writing) as well as interactions with music, dance and digital / electronic poetry.

The key aims of the Centre are :

  • Hosting speakers, workshops and conferences
  • Support and development of doctoral and post-doctoral research
  • Public engagement and impact activities
  • Joint Research Grant applications and research projects



We are delighetd to anounce that Farshad Sonboldel has won the Ahmad Shamlou Poetry Award 2020 for his work entitled The Long Poem of Circumstances.

The Ahmad Shamlou Award is the most prestigious award in Persian poetry. The Long Poem of Circumstances is an episodic poem unfolding a dialogue between alternative Persian poets of the early modern and modern Iran about the political practice of poetry. Prior to its publication, this long poem had been selected as the best poem in the Bushehr Poetry Award in 2018.






Thursday 4th November 2021, 4-6pm, online via Teams

“Multilingual Creative Writing as Hospitable Practice”

 a Round Table withProf. Sara Greave, Aix-Marseille Université

Lou Sarabadzi, Writer and Translator

Dr Luc Dall’Armellina, CY Cergy Paris Université

Dr Elise Huguney-Léger, University of St Andrews

© Paul Stringer (www.paulstringer.co.uk)


Writing in a foreign language, a language which is not one’s so-called ‘native’ language, has become a widely disseminated practice. Through processes of mobility and migration, many authors have contributed to crafting and expressing what Steven G. Kellman coins the ‘translingual imagination’. How might multilingual creative writing operate as a hospitable space within which to explore plural identities? What role can writing workshops play in welcoming multilingual experience? This round table will bring together four creative writing scholars and practitioners with experience and expertise in plurilingual writing practices. They will reflect on multilingual writing as a way to generate innovative creative practices – whether it be through self-translation, collaborative writing, digital bilingual tools or plurilingual performances – and to create hospitable spaces, which acknowledge plurality – and therefore singularity.

To register for this event, please contact Dr Elodie Laügt (el40@st-andrews.ac.uk)


Thursday 6th May 2021, 6-7.30pm, online via Teams

Dr Karen A. Brown

Assessing the Translator’s Commitment to Polysemy: Five English-language Versions of Sonetos del amor oscuro

Whether Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) engaged in sonnet-writing for catharsis or to offer his own contribution to stylistic approaches that had suddenly become fashionable again during the early to mid-1930s, he was neither reluctant nor overly committed to the ethos of self-revelation or to structural rigidity. The poet’s nonconformist urges are simultaneously articulated and silenced, and the silencing takes place within the text itself. Indeed, like some of his contemporaries, Lorca’s classical sonnets structurally contain his reflections on sexual marginality. But while the likes of Emilio Prados (1899-1962) and Juan Gil-Albert (1904-1994) were more explicitly revelatory in their approaches, Lorca opted for maximal disguise. Sonetos therefore functions equally as a work about generalised forbidden love, as well as textual evidence of Lorca’s personal preoccupation with unorthodox sexuality. Silences pervade the source text, as he strategized concealment via polysemy and ambiguity.

Arguing that the translator’s responsibility extends to preserving Lorca’s dual purpose, I look for what Kristine L. Muñoz describes as “instances of language use, especially that which involves silence and the unsaid,” which “make the properties polysemyambiguity, and strategy clear and memorable tools for analysis” (2016: 43).[1] This paper discusses the extent to which such devices, employed by Lorca, are evident in the translated text.  Extracts from five different English translations of Sonetos will be analysed:  Willis Barnstone’s version in Masters of the Spanish Sonnet (1993), renderings by Angela Jaffray included in the Christopher Maurer compendium (2002), Jane Duran and Gloria Garcia Lorca’s collaborative effort (2016), Sarah Arvio’s version in Poet in Spain  (2017), and Mar Escribano’s Sonnets of Dark Love  (2018).

[1] Transcribing Silence: Culture, Relationships, and Communication (New York: Routledge, 2016).


Dr Karen A. Brown recently completed her PhD in Spanish at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on the poetry of Federico García Lorca, specifically theories surrounding Retranslation and their relevance to the Spaniard’s prolificacy in the English language. Dr Brown is currently based in Oxford, where she works as a freelance translator and tutor.

email: kab25@st-andrews.ac.uk

twitter:  @writerKABrown

To register for this event, please contact Elodie Laügt (el40)



18th Feb. 2021, 4-5.30pm.

On the Outside of the Language Forest: Reading, Writing, and Translating Poetry

Research Seminar

Dr Gianluca Rizzo (Colby College, Northward)

A literary critic, translator and poet, Gianluca Rizzo teaches at Colby College (Waterville, ME), where he is the Paul D and Marilyn Paganucci Associate Professor of Italian Language and Literature. His research focuses on modern and contemporary macaronic writing, contemporary poetry, theater, and aesthetics.

He published numerous articles, essays, poems and translations, both from English to Italian and vice versa (on OR, Journal of Italian Translation, Chicago Review, Italica, Forum Italicum, il Verri, Autografo, Studi Novecenteschi, etc). Among the volumes he edited are: Elio Pagliarani, Tutto il teatro (Marsilio, 2013); Carlo Goldoni, Five Comedies (with Michael Hackett, University of Toronto Press, 2016); On the Fringe of the Neoavantgarde. Ai confine della neoavanguardia. Palermo 1963. Los Angeles 2013 (Agincourt Press, 2017); Mariano Bàino, Yellow Fax and Other Poems(Agincourt Press, 2019). With Luigi Ballerini and Paul Vangelisti he also edited Nuova Poesia Americana. Chicago e le praterie(Aragno, 2019).

His latest monograph is titled Poetry on Stage: The Theatre of the Italian Neo-Avant-Garde (University of Toronto Press, 2020) and his most recent book of verse is Il lavoro meccanico. Un’apocalisse in quattro tempi (Oèdipus, 2016). 

Ticket information: To register please contact Dr Elodie Laügt on el40@st-andrews.ac.uk.




4th February 2021, 5.30-7pm

European and American Poetries and the Creation of a Modern Chinese Lyric Discourse

Lecture by

Professor Gregory Lee (University of St Andrews)

When general readers think of Chinese poetry, they imagine perhaps bearded sages writing poetry in misty mountain retreats. But today’s Chinese poetry is an altogether different matter. But where did it come from and what is it?  Gregory Lee will explain how modern poetry differs from that was written in the space now is called China in a language that was as different from today’s Chinese as Ovid’s Latin is from Rimbaud’s French. He will discuss the relationship of poetry in the modern national language to modern American and European poetries.

Gregory Lee is the Founding Professorship of Chinese Studies at the University of St-Andrews, a writer and a broadcaster who has lived and worked in the UK, the USA, China, Hong Kong, and France. Between 1990 and 2020, he taught at the University of Lyon in France where hewas Professor of Chinese and Transcultural Studies, and Director of the Institute of Transtextual and Transcultural Studies.  His most recent book is China Imagined: From European Fantasy to Spectacular Power (London, Hurst 2018).