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Professor of Spanish translates new book of poetry

Dr. Gordon McNeer recently translated the book "I Love You, Too" by poet Sara Buho from Spanish to English. The University of North Georgia professor of Spanish completed it in two weeks.

At a very young age, Dr. Gordon McNeer learned to speak Spanish for one simple reason.

"I loved my grandmother and she spoke Spanish," the professor of Spanish at the University of North Georgia (UNG) said. "So that is why I learned Spanish."

McNeer continued his language education,  earning a doctoral degree in romance languages from Princeton University.

Little did McNeer know that this single skill would allow him to travel abroad, meet famous Spanish poets and translate poetry. At 75 years old, McNeer has translated about 10 books of poetry from Spanish to English.

His first was a manuscript of "Cuaderno de Nueva York" ("New York Notebook") by Jose Hierro, who won the Cervantes Prize, Spain’s highest literary honor. McNeer eventually met Hierro, which led to him meeting young, up-and-coming poets including Sara Buho.

"She is a diva," McNeer said, explaining she is a spokeswoman for the company, Samsung, in Spain. "And she has 198,000 followers on Instagram."

Based on McNeer's previous works and reputation, Buho asked him to translate her recent book "I Love You, Too." The UNG professor obliged, completing it in two weeks.

"I did it as a favor and for fun," McNeer said, adding that two other writers from Spain, Raquel Lanseros and Elvira Sastre have translated his own poetry books from English into Spanish.

The books are available from Valparaíso Editions US website.

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