Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


VIRTUAL EVENT: Crossing Languages

18 November 2020, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

Carmen bugan

A lecture by Carmen Bugan (poet & George Orwell Prize Fellow) chaired by Galin Tihanov, George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jennifer Rushworth

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This lecture probes the poet's relationship with an adopted language, acknowledging losses and gains, and offers a glimpse into the experience of writing in-between languages, hovering at the borders between them. As one re-settles in a new language, the native and the adopted languages play more complex and subtle parts in the perception of self and of freedom, as the poet no longer defines one language in terms of another, one experience in terms of another, but seeks a language that brings feelings and experiences from both in a continuously evolving lyric.

Carmen Bugan, a George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of four poetry collections (Crossing the Carpathians, The House of Straw, Releasing the Porcelain Birds and Sulla Soglia Della Dimenticanza/On the Side of Forgetting) and most recently Lilies from America, which won a Poetry Society Special Commendation. Her memoir, Burying the Typewriter, called by The Sunday Times ‘a modern classic,’ won the Bread Loaf Nonfiction Prize and was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. Her poems have been anthologised in the Penguin’s Poems for Life and Joining Music with Reason among others, and her work has been translated into several languages. She has written a monograph on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile and reviews regularly for Harvard Review Online. Bugan was the 2018 Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan and teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in Manhattan. She appears on current affairs programmes and documentaries on the BBC, NPR and ABC, and some of her talks are available as podcasts. She has a DPhil in English Literature from Balliol College, Oxford University.

With thanks to the European Voices project.

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