Message from School of Chinese
2013/2014 Staff Seminar
TRANSLATING THE SANSKRIT BHAGAVAD GITA AS A MODERN POEM
Co-organised by the School of Chinese and the Centre of Buddhist Studies
A talk and reading by Mani Rao about the process and challenges when translating the canonical spiritual text of the Gita.
Date and Time: July 14, 2014 (Monday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
“Rao’s version of the Bhagavad Gita unpacks the original Sanskrit with a range of avant garde techniques—in prosody, diction, mise-en-page and lineation—rendering a new translation of the well-known philosophical text unlike any before it.” – The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, 2013.
“The great virtue of The Bhagavad Gita is courage, and in her luminous new translation, Rao is courageous indeed. Her lines venture to keep pace with the original, stride for stride, revelation for revelation. As Wittgenstein wrote, ‘courage is always original.’ I can avow that Rao’s is the first truly original version of this sacred text to appear in decades.” – Donald Revell
“Mani Rao has transformed the most famous spiritual poem in India to a multi-layered poem … a poem to be perceived directly, intuitively, cutting through reason and linearity to arrive at the underlying undying poetry and grace of this epic work.” – Frederick Smith
Mani Rao is the author of eight poetry books and two books of translation. Her poems and essays are in numerous journals and anthologies including Asia Literary Review, Cha, Indian Literature, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Fulcrum, Iowa Review, Colorado Review W.W.Norton Language for a New Century, and The BloodAxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. Mani worked at Star TV Hong Kong for a decade before turning to writing and scholarly pursuits full-time. She has an MFA in creative writing, and is currently doing a PhD in Religious Studies in the USA. http://www.manirao.com has links to her books and writing.