An incredible and in-depth conversation with Classical scholar, Stephanie McCarter about Ovid, Horace, greco Roman poetry, the tradition of translation, retelling of myth, and the movements of poetry across the ages. Ovid’s Metamorphoses continues to speak to our fundamental issues, but how, and why? What can this new translation tell us about not only Ovid’s reworking of traditional ideas into nuanced angles, but what previous translations overlooked?
Ovid shows us that theirs is an enormous opportunity to fold into our projects, not just our personal mythologies, but the shared myths, the wider story in which we find ourselves in; adding and subtracting, emboldening and reexamining as we see uniquely from our gaze. What I’ve learned in my new interest in reading translation and reading the respective commentary from the translators, is that change happens within text itself, that great poetry is part of a living consciousness on its own, that evolves and speaks through its readers—which is intricately entwined with its translations and adaptations throughout the ages. How we can think about this as poets and people in the world—not just as readers, but as writers and creative minds, is that its not about forcing change
Stephanie McCarter has taught at Sewanee since 2008. She received a BA (2000) in Classics and English from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an MA (2002) and PhD (2007) in Classics from the University of Virginia. At Sewanee she teaches Greek and Latin courses at all levels as well as courses in translation, and she is active in Sewanee’s interdisciplinary Humanities program.
Outside of the classroom, her current major interest is in literary translation. She has published verse translations of Horace’s Epodes and Odes (University of Oklahoma Press, 2020) and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Penguin, 2022), and she is currently at work on a new translation of Catullus. Her academic research centers on the Latin poetry of the late Republic and early Roman Empire.
Professor McCarter additionally finds great value and enjoyment in writing for non-academic audiences and has had essays appear on Classical topics in venues such as Eidolon, Literary Hub, Electric Literature, and The Washington Post.
For a full list of Professor McCarter’s publications, please visit her personal website: stephaniemccarter.com
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