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Kate Brueningsen '11: International Poetry Explorer

Kate Brueningsen '11 (left) and friend Petra Gregorova, an exchange student.

Kate Brueningsen '11 loves languages, poetry, and travel. When the double English-French major decided to participate in a study abroad opportunity during her sophomore year at Moravian, she realized she would not stop with French. "Meeting foreign students in Spain and Switzerland made me want to learn Spanish, German, and other languages, too," she said. "Translation from one language to another can be very interesting."

For Brueningsen, those translation skills also find form in the metaphoric language of poetry, expressed in English as well as French, German, Spanish, and Arabic and published in Babel, the literary journal of Moravian's Department of Foreign Languages, over the last three years. "I find poetry to be a good medium for translating emotions into words," she noted. "And Babel is a great incentive for students to explore languages and writing. It gives a voice to some students who might not otherwise have that chance to express themselves."

In 2008, Brueningsen and Jessica Andersen '10 created and organized Moravian's first International Poetry Night, an opportunity for students to read poetry they've written in a foreign language."It's a different experience to hear something than it is to read it in the native language," noted Brueningsen, who plans to major in English or Medieval studies in graduate school. At the 2010 International Poetry Night, held November 13, several students read their poems from the newest Babel, "A World of Languages," published in November. Behind the readers, two screens displayed the poems in written form—one in English, the other in its foreign language form—allowing the audience to see the nuances of translation.

The fourth volume of Babel is now available. It includes the work of current students, faculty members, alumni, and friends in five languages; for a copy, or for information about contributing to the next volume, contact Claudia Mesa, assistant professor of Spanish. Babel is co-edited by Professors Nilsa Lasso-von Lang (Spanish), Claudia Mesa (Spanish), Axel Hildebrandt (German), and Joanne McKeown (French).