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 . . .
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. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .