Over at the Poetry Foundation, the names of the six poetry finalists for this year’s Best Translated Book Awards have been revealed.
Before reproducing the list below, I just want to take a second to thank all six judges for this year’s competition: Brandon Holmquest, poet, translator, editor of CALQUE; Jennifer Kronovet, poet and translator; John Marshall, owner, Open Books: A Poem Emporium; Erica Mena-Landry, poet and translator; Idra Novey, poet, translator; Kevin Prufer, poet, academic, essayist, and co-editor of New European Poets; and Russell Valentino, academic, translator, director of Autumn Hill Books and The Iowa Review.
All six did a fantastic job and have a tough decision ahead of them. You can watch some of the logic of their discussion play itself out starting next week with their write ups about why each individual title deserves to win . . .
For now, here’s the shortlist.
2013 Best Translated Book Award: Poetry Finalists
Transfer Fat by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press; Sweden)
pH Neutral History by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press; Macedonia)
The Invention of Glass by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books; France)
Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books; Romania)
Notes on the Mosquito by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions; China)
Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck; Austria)
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .