PLATTSBURGH - Dr. Alexis Levitin has been recognized as the latest distinguished professor for the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
Levitin was honored with the SUNY system distinction during a portrait unveiling ceremony at Plattsburgh's State's Feinberg Library Dec. 6. The professor was recognized for his dedication and accomplishments in translating Portuguese poetry into English.
Dr. Patricia Higgins, a professor of anthropology and interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, credited Levitin for being passionate about poetry and accumulating "an impressive body of work" in his field.
"As an anthropologist, I can appreciate some of the aspects of sort of cultural features," said Higgins. "I can recognize you can't really understand a language and translate a language without having a lot of understanding of the culture that's behind that language ... I can really appreciate the depth of understanding that I know that Alexis has in the cultures from which he has translated poetry."
"I think poetry, of all forms of oral expression, is even more difficult to understand in another language," Higgins added. "Then, to take that understanding and to shape it into English in a way that the meaning ‚ not necessarily just the words - carry over, I think it truly an astounding thing to be able to do."
Communications professor Dr. Jin Kim applauded Levitin for his career, particularly for his work in translating the works of Portuguese poet Eugenio de Andrade, "embodying the beauty, sensuality and mastery" of de Andrade's works.
"[Levitin's] scholarly skills have been an invaluable service, helping English language readers discover literary beauty in Portuguese poetry, thus expanding the standard of literary appreciation across cultural boundaries," said Kim. "There is hardly any translator in the U.S. who is not familiar with Alexis Levitin's outstanding contribution to the field of literary and translational studies."