Aaron Poochigian is a poet and translator based in New York City. After receiving his PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota in 2006 (with a dissertation on “The Staging of Aeschylus’ Persians, Seven Against Thebes, and Suppliants”), Aaron pursued a career translating Ancient Greek poetry and composing his own. His poetry has been featured in Best American Poetry 2018 (eds. Lehman and Gioia), Poetry, and Poems Out Loud. His collection, Manhattanite, won the Able Muse Book Award for Poetry (2017) and features such wonderful verses as these, about a blizzard:
Doomed, though, like ice is doomed, this wicked bright
Seagull Behemoth soon must furl his gusts
This month in her ‘art of translation’ column, Adrienne K.H. Rose interviews A.E. Stallings while in Pylos and then in Virginia. The two discuss the word choices made by translators, the surprising relevance of Archaic poetry in the tumultuous present era, and the effects of living life in a foreign language.
Q: How did you decide to study Classics?
Gradually, then suddenly—I didn't start taking Latin until college [at the University of Georgia], where I was initially an English and Music major, but I started with Latin 1, and just kept taking more and more Latin and Classics courses until finally the department (in particular Rick LaFleur, then Dept. head), gently suggested I change majors.
Q: Could you say a bit about the significance of learning Latin and Greek and translating Classics and its impact on you?