Translation Seminar Alumni

Here are some alumni of the BU Literary Translation Seminar.
Alumni: to add your profile here, please contact Anna Elliott at [].

Sassan Tabatabai

Sassan Tabatabai is a poet, translator, and scholar of Medieval Persian literature. He is Master Lecturer in World Languages and Literatures and the Core Curriculum, and Coordinator of the Persian Language Program at Boston University. His translations of Persian poetry have appeared in Harvard Review Online, Leviathan Quarterly, Literary Imagination, Pusteblume: Journal of Translation, Rattapallax, The Republic of Letters, and Seneca Review. He is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and his Poetry (Leiden University Press), Sufi Haiku (Nemi Books), and Uzunburun: Poems (Pen and Anvil), and translator of the novel Blind Owl by Sadeq Hedayat (Penguin Classics). His forthcoming books of translation include an English translation of the poetry of Mohammad-Reza Shafi’i-Kadkani (ILEX), and a Persian translation of the poetry of David Ferry (Boustan Press).

Rachel DeWoskin

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Rachel DeWoskin is the author of Big Girl Small (FSG 2011), Repeat After Me (Overlook Press, 2009), and a memoir about starring in a hugely successful Chinese nighttime soap opera, Foreign Babes in Beijing (WW Norton, 2005). Rachel has written essays and articles for Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine of London, Teachers and Writers, and Conde Nast Traveler, and has published poems in journals including Ploughshares, Seneca Review, New Delta Review, Nerve Magazine and The New Orleans Review. She teaches memoir and fiction at the University of Chicago.

About the Seminar: “As a graduate student in the Creative Writing department at Boston University, I had the joy of taking Professor Warren’s translation seminar, a course in which I learned more about language than in any other course I’ve ever taken. At each class meeting, Professor Warren provided meticulously selected readings, context for each, and then her own brand of translations: literal, theoretical and meaningful. She taught us Greek quantitative meter, Sapphics, and stanza shapes; she made the double-beats of Beowulf pound off the pages and Baudelaire’s vowels float up. She made form and formal verse fun. When we read English out loud, Rosanna Warren echoed in languages we did not speak, so we could hear rhythm and rhyme in translation. She brought to the seminar not only her own multi-lingual talents and experiences as a translator, but also Howard Norman, David Ferry, Alice Sedgwick Wohl, Jay Rubin, Jonathan Galassi and Galway Kinnel. And through them and others, she taught us to read and translate languages we knew and did not know: Latin, Greek, Inuit, Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese and German. She used Steiner, Benjamin and Hollander to teach us theory. She found native speakers and scholars to mentor each of her students in individual translation projects. We labored over the details of our own translations, after reading dozens of examples Professor Warren provided. The pages of translated poetry and prose we turned in often came back with more of her work on them than ours. Her comments were invariably specific enough to be of practical use and general enough to be applicable to our work as poets and writers, rather than simply to individual lines or pages.  Her comments were like her teaching — deeply thoughtful and rendered in beautiful, inimitable language.”

Zayd Dohrn


Zayd Dohrn is a successful playwright whose works include Outside People (Samuel French, 2013), Want (Steppenwolf, 2011),Sick (Samuel French, 2012),and Reborning (Samuel French, 2009). He has written screenplays for The American Film Company, Bedlam Productions, and Vox3 Films, and developed a drama series at HBO. He currently teaches in the MFA program in Writing for the Stage and Screen at Northwestern University.

About the Seminar: “Rosanna Warren’s translation seminar changed the way I think about writing, reading, and language. As a playwright, I wrote poetry; as an English-speaker, I translated Sappho and Catullus and Baudelaire. The seminar made my reading more analytical and my writing stranger. It’s the rare academic experience that shapes both intellect and imagination.”

Eleanor Goodman

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Eleanor Goodman is the translator of Something Crosses My Mind: Selected Poems by Wang Xiaoni (Zephyr Press, 2014), an international finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and winner of the Lucien Stryk American Literary Translators Association Prize for excellence in translation. In 2013, Goodman was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for research in China, and has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center and the American Academy in Rome, and a research associate at Harvard Fairbank’s Center for Chinese Studies. Her book of original poetry, Nine Dragon Island (Zephyr Press, 2016) was a finalist for the Drunken Boat poetry award.

About the seminar: “Rosanna Warren’s Translation Seminar was a seminal experience that helped to launch me on my career as a translator and poet. Combining rigorous theoretical readings by literary and philosophical giants with the direct insights of active translators, the course offered a window onto what it means to live the writing life. The seminar felt less like a class and more like the kind of tutelage and practice that becoming a writer requires.”

Heather Green

Heather Green’s translation of Tristan Tzara’s Noontimes Won was published in 2018 by Octopus Books, and her translation of Tzara’s Guide to the Heart Rail was released in 2017 in a handmade art-edition by Goodmorning Menagerie. Her translations of Tzara’s work have appeared in Asymptote, Open Letters Monthly, Poetry International, and several anthologies, including the recent In the Shape of a Human Body I am Visiting the Earth, from McSweeneys Press. Her original poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. 

Saskya Jain

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Saskya Jain’s writing has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Economist and The Caravan. During her time at Boston University, she received the Florence Engel Randall Award and the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. Her first novel, Fire Under Ashwas released by Random House India in 2014, and shortlisted for the 2015 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize.

About the Seminar:“Through its rigorous, multi-faceted framework of fusing theory and practice guided by the leading lights in translation today, participants of the Translation Seminar at Boston University are encouraged to probe the very fabric of language in a way that even the most careful reading of a text cannot hope to replicate. To first break open language through experimentation and examination before putting it back together in a new but familiar form through the act of translation proved to be one of the most profound and useful exercises for me as a writer at the beginning of her career.”

Kirun Kapur

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Kirun Kapur’s work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Massachusetts Review, The Christian Science Monitor and many other journals and news outlets. She has taught creative writing at Boston University. Kirun is the Poetry Editor for The Drum Literary Magazineand her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist was released by Elixir Press in 2015.

Marcia Karp


Marcia Karp’s poems have been published in Partisan Review, The Republic of Letters, Literary Imagination, The Guardian, Seneca Review, Agenda, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, The Warwick Review and the Times Literary Supplement. Her work been anthologized in Penguin Books’ Catullus in English and Petrarch in English, and most recently in Joining Music with Reason: 34 Poets, British and American (Waywiser Press, 2010).

Aviya Kushner

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Aviya Kushner’s writing has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Partisan Review, Poets & Writers, A Public Space and The Wilson Quarterly. Her first book, The Grammar of God: A Journey Into the Words and Worlds of the Bible, was published by Spiegel & Grau in 2015. She currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago, where she directs the graduate program in nonfiction, and is a contributing editor at A Public Space.

Jhumpa Lahiri

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Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year. Her novel The Namesake (2003) was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and adapted into a popular film of the same name in 2006. The Lowland (2013) was a nominee for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. Lahiri has written two books in Italian, In Other Words (2015) and The Clothing of Books (2016), and translates both her work and the work of others from Italian to English. Her translation of Domenico Starnone’s novel Ties (2017) was named a New York Times Notable Book and Best Foreign Novel by the Times of London in 2017.  Following her appointment by U.S. President Barack Obama, Lahiri was a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities until 2017. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

About the Seminar: Read Jhumpa Lahiri’s reminisces about the Translation Seminar here

Victoria Livingstone


Victoria Livingstone is a visiting assistant professor of Spanish at Moravian College and an assistant editor at Asymptote. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Literature from B.U. and began her first book translation, Pablo García’s Song from the Underworld (2014), while a student in the Translation Seminar.

About the Seminar: “I was a student in the Translation Seminar in 2010, then run by Rosanna Warren. I worked as Professor Warren’s assistant for the course the following year, helping organize the lecture series. The seminar balanced the practice and theory of translation in fascinating ways and gave me the great fortune of being able to meet influential translators such as Michael Henry Heim. A project I began in the course, a translation of contemporary Maya poetry, recently became my first book translation. Achiote Press published my translation of Pablo García’s Song from the Underworld in a tri-lingual (Maya K’iche’/Spanish/English) edition in 2014.”

Anand Mahadevan


Anand Mahadevan is the author of The Strike, which was published by in Canada in 2005 and India in 2009. Mahadevan has also contributed to City of Words: Toronto Through her Writer’s Eyes (Cormorant Press, 2009) and iLit Remix: A Revolution of Text Forms (McGraw-Hill, 2011). He was awarded an Honour of Distinction from the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers in 2013, and subsequently served on the jury for the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize.

Jill McDonough


Jill McDonough’s books of poems include Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), Oh, James! (Seven Kitchens, 2012), Where You Live (Salt, 2012), and Reaper (Alice James Books, 2017). McDonough has also edited Forgotten Eyes: Poetry from Prison (2001) and An Invitation to Poetry: A Classroom Guide for Instructors (2006) with Maggie Dietz and Robert Pinsky. Her work appears in SlateThe Nation, The Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry 2011. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Lannan Foundation, and Stanford’s Wallace Stegner program, she taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education program for 13 years. She currently teaches poetry at UMass-Boston and directs 24PearlStreet, the online writing program at the Fine Arts Work Center.

Kelly Morse


Kelly Morse is a poet, translator, and nonfiction writer. Her writing has appeared in Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary NonfictionAlimentum: The Literature of Foodapt and elsewhere. Morse’s translations of censored Vietnamese poet Lý Đợi have been published in Asymptote, and received Lunch Ticket’s Gabo Prize for Translation and Multi-Lingual Texts. She has been selected as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow, and awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, PLAYA, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.

About the Seminar:“It was in this class that I learned of the rich and diverse approaches to translation, and what can be at stake within a translation. If it wasn’t for the translation seminar, I never would have tried my hand at translating because the task seemed too daunting to start by myself. And translation IS long, difficult, tentative work. However, having guided instruction, exercises to practice different aspects of translation, and the different perspectives of the guest speakers pushed me to do my best to ‘bring over’ the voice of a censored Vietnamese poet into English. The translations started in that class have been published in Asymptote Journal and have won a prize. But more importantly, through the translations I worked on in that seminar I hope to complicate western ideas of Vietnamese life and literature.”

Amanda Powell

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Amanda Powell teaches Latin American and Spanish Literature and literary translation at the University of Oregon. She is the translator of The Answer / La Respuesta, poems of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, among other works. Her research and teaching interests include Spanish and Colonial Latin American women writers of the 16th and 17th century; spiritual autobiography; lyrical texts; 17th century women’s sapphic verse, queer theory and literary translation.

Therese Sellers

Therese Sellers is the author of Alpha is for Anthropos (2013), a collection of nursery rhymes she composed in Ancient Greek for teaching children. She holds a BA in Classics from Harvard College and a PhD in Modern Greek literature from the University Professors Program at BU. Her translations of two stories by Alexandros Papadiamantis appear in The Boundless Garden, Volume II (2019), and her translation of Aioliki Yi by Ilias Venezis, begun as a project in the Translation Seminar, was published by Denise Harvey in 2020 with the title Land of Aeolia.

About the seminar: “I took the Translation Seminar in 1991 with Rosanna Warren during my first semester of graduate school. The discovery of literary translation as an academic pursuit was a revelation to me. I loved literature, especially Greek literature, but was always drawn more to the performance of texts than to scholarly analysis. For me, translation is a way of performing a text in a different language.

Don Share

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Don Share is a poet and the former editor of Poetry Magazine. His books of poetry are Wishbone (2012), Squandermania (2007), and Union (2013, 2002). He is the co-editor of The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (2012), and editor of Bunting’s Persia (2012) and a critical edition of Basil Bunting’s poems (Faber and Faber). He is the translator of Field Guide: Poems by Dario Jaramillo Agudelo (2012), Miguel Hernández (2013), and I Have Lots of Heart: Selected Poems by Miguel Hernández (1998), winner of the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize and the Premio Valle Inclán for Spanish Translation.

Tom Yuill


Tom Yuill’s first book of poetry, Medicine Show, was published in 2010 by the University of Chicago Press. Yuill was educated in Virginia and Boston, where he attended the Creative Writing Program for Poetry at Boston University. There he studied with Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Rosanna Warren, and David Ferry, and took Warren’s Translation Seminar. Before graduate study, Yuill lived in Britain, Europe and Austin, Texas, traveling and writing on no fixed schedule. He is associate professor of literature and creative writing at New England Institute of Art, and lecturer in poetry at Boston University. He is currently at work on his second book of poetry, American Bull Terrier, and is translating the poetry of François Villon.

Meg Tyler


Meg Tyler is an associate professor of humanities in the College of General Studies at Boston University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College and went on to receive a Ph.D from Boston University in Twentieth-Century British, Irish and American Poetry. Her teaching and research interests include lyric poetry, creative writing, poetry in translation and the intersection of art and literature.  She is the author of A Singing Contest: Conventions of Sound in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney and Poor Earth, a chapbook of poems in the New Women’s Voices’ Series.