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 . . .
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .