PEN just announced the shortlists for a ton of their annual awards, including the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and the PEN Translation Prize, which, for obvious reasons, are the ones that I’m most interested in.
First off, here’s the poetry shortlist, which is the one featuring an Open Letter title:
Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse), Rosa Alcalá
Diadem by Marosa di Giorgio (BOA Editions), Adam Giannelli
Tales of a Severed Head by Rachida Madani (Yale University Press), Marilyn Hacker
The Smoke of Distant Fires by Eduardo Chirinos (Open Letter Books), G. J. Racz
Almost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda (Burning Deck), Rosmarie Waldrop
The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books), Molly Weigel
Don Mee Choi is the judge for this award, and to digress for a second, I want to recommend her translation of Kim Hyesoon’s book of poetry, All the Garbage of the World, Unite! As I mentioned on here before (and in our podcast), I recently judged a South Korean literature contest and this was one of the absolute best books that was included. She’s a fantastic translator and All the Garbage of the World, Unite! is a really interesting, strange collection. (And has a fun title.)
Moving onto the PEN Translation Prize, here are the finalists:
A Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu (City Lights Books), Aron Aji and Fred Stark
Near to the Wild Heart by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), Alison Entrekin
Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Rosalind Harvey
The Cardboard House by Martín Adán (New Directions), Katherine Silver
The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen (Galileo Publishers), Donald O. White
Really solid list, although Maidenhair deserves to be on there . . . and no Satantango? Anyway . . . Judging this award are Margaret Carson, Bill Johnston, and Alex Zucker.
Congrats to all the authors, translators, and publishers. The winners will be announced in August, and we’ll post about them here when they are . . .
Paul Klee’s Boat, Anzhelina Polonskaya’s newest bilingual collection of poems available in English, is an emotional journey through the bleakest seasons of the human soul, translated with great nuance by Andrew Wachtel. A former professional ice dancer(!), Polonskaya left the. . .
In Seiobo There Below, Lázló Krasznahorkai is able to succeed at a task at which many writers fail: to dedicate an entire novel to a single message, to express an idea over and over again without falling into repetition or. . .
There are curious similarities in three Italian mystery series, written by Maurizio de Giovanni, Andrea Camilleri, and Donna Leon.1
They’re all police procedurals, and all set in Italy: Naples, Sicily, Venice.
The three protagonists are Commissarios: Luigi Ricciardi, Salvo. . .
Poetry always has the feel of mysticism and mystery, or maybe this feeling is a stereotype left over from high school literature class. It is generally the result of confusion, lack of time committed to consuming the poetry, and the. . .
Our Lady of the Flowers, Echoic is not only a translation, but a transformation. It is a translation of Jean Genet’s novel Notre Dame des Fleurs, transmuted from prose to poetry. Originally written in prison as a masturbatory aid (Sartre. . .
Equal parts stoner pulp thriller and psycho-physiological horror story, a pervasive sense of dread mixes with a cloud of weed smoke to seep into every line of the disturbing, complex Under This Terrible Sun. Originally published by illustrious Spanish publishers. . .
From the start, Daniel Canty’s Wigrum, published by Canadian press Talonbooks, is obviously a novel of form. Known also as a graphic designer in Quebec, Canty takes those skills and puts them towards this “novel of inventory” and creates a. . .
Throughout his career—in fact from his very first book, Where the Jackals Howl (1965)—the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz has set much of his fiction on the kibbutz, collective communities he portrays as bastions of social cohesion and stultifying conformity. . .
Antoon gives us a remarkable novel that in 184 pages captures the experience of an Iraqi everyman who has lived through the war with Iran in the first half of the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War over the Kuwaiti invasion,. . .
Every fictional work set in L.A. begins with a slow crawl through its streets in the early hours of the morning right after sunrise. Maybe it’s always done this way to emphasize the vast sprawl of the city and highlight. . .