20 August 08 | Chad W. Post

This morning the NEA announced the new round of Translation Fellowships, awarding these gifted translators $10-$20,000 for their projects. Complete descriptions of all the projects, along with translator bios, are available on the NEA site. Congratulations to everyone who received a fellowship—this is one of my favorite NEA projects, and a great way to see what people are working on. Hopefully all of these titles will find a publisher—there are a few that sound perfect for Open Letter . . .

  • Jeffrey Angles

To support the translation from Japanese of the memoir Twelve Perspectives by Mutsuo Takahashi. Published in the author’s native language in 1970, Twelve Perspectives explores the effects of imperialism, war, and their aftermath on a Japanese family before, during, and after World War II.

  • Michele Aynesworth

To support the translation from French of In So Corrupt an Age, the journal of Charles Rist. A successful economist living in Paris, Rist (1874-1955) began keeping a personal journal in 1939, the day after Germany’s invasion of Poland. The daily entries record his reflections on the war and occupation.

  • Michael Berry

To support the translation from Chinese of the novel Remains of Life by Wu He. The novel, written in 1999, describes a bloody episode in Japanese colonial history, the “Musha Incident.” In 1930, an aboriginal tribe called the Atayal started an uprising in rural Taiwan that was swiftly suppressed by the Japanese militia. The novel is written in an experimental style which includes stream-of-consciousness writing and very few sentence breaks or paragraph divisions.

  • Robin Davidson

To support the translation from Polish of selected poetry from The New Century: 1999 & Other Poems by Ewa Lipska. Ewa Lipska was born in Kraków, Poland, in 1945. Since 1967, she has published 19 volumes of poetry, much of which reflects her training as a visual artist and her engagement with social philosophy.

  • Stephen Gingerich

To support the translation from Spanish of An Open Grave and Other Stories, a collection of five novellas by Juan Benet. [. . .] In addition to the title novella about a boy possessed by the spirit of his grandfather, the collection will include “Baalbec, a smudge,” about a man’s return to his childhood home; “Mourning,” about a Spaniard who has returned wealthy from years in the Americas with a lack of scruples; “Sub rosa,” about a mysterious crime aboard a Spanish schooner; and “Numa, a Legend,” about a guard of an isolated mountain property. Of these five works, only two have previously been published in an English translation.

  • Katherine Hedeen

To support the translation from Spanish of the collection The Poems of Sidney West by the Argentine poet Juan Gelman. The author of the collection is an imaginary poet, Sidney West, who writes his work in English and who was supposedly translated into Spanish by Juan Gelman in 1969.

  • Josef Horacek

To support the translation from Czech of Is No Beginning: Selected Poems by Vladimir Holan. A life-long resident of Prague, Holan is often compared with Rainer Maria Rilke as a major figure in 20th-century European poetry. His poems embody the existential questions posed by cultural and political life in Czechoslovakia before, during, and after WWII.

  • Idra Novey

To support the translation from Portuguese of In the Time of Jaguars, a collection of poetry by Brazilian poet Manoel de Barros. A beloved poet in Brazil, Barros has published twenty works of poetry, though his work is not yet available in English. His sensual poems gained much attention in the 1980s with numerous publications in Brazil and in 1989 with the release of O Caramujo Flor, a film by Joel Pizzini examining his work.

  • Joanne Pottlitzer

To support the translation from Spanish of the play Common Words by Cuban dramatist José Triana. Common Words, the seventh of Triana’s thirteen plays, is an exploration of one woman’s life in Cuba in the years between the Spanish-American War and the First World War.

  • James Reidel

To support the translation from German of Franz Werfel’s 1941 novel A Pale Blue Lady’s Handwriting. Born in Prague, Werfel (1890-1945) was a member of the city’s young, Jewish intelligentsia, which included Max Brod and Franz Kafka. [. . .] . Set in Vienna in 1936, the novel revolves around a married, Austrian civil servant who receives a letter from a Jewish woman who was once his lover. Though a “sanitized” and condensed version of the novel was published in 1944, this is the first translation of the complete work.

  • Mira Rosenthal

To support the translation from Polish of Colonies, a collection of poetry by Tomasz Rózycki. Rózycki was born in 1970 in Upper Silesia, an historic region on the western border of Poland marked by a continual shift of the country’s borders and thus a topic that permeates his poetry. Published in 2006, Colonies is Rózycki’s sixth and most recent book of poems.

  • A. E. Stallings

To support the translation from medieval Cretan Greek of the Erotokritos by Vintzentzos Kornaros. The 10,000-line long poem is written in a 15 syllable folk meter and dates from the 17th century. It is the only known work of the author; until recently, sections of the poem were commonly recited by illiterate peasants. It is still performed by Greek singers, and is widely considered the work that made the vernacular popular and possible in contemporary Greek literature.

  • Carolyn Tipton

To support the translation from Spanish of Rafael Alberti’s three-part volume of poems, Returnings. Born in southern Spain in 1902, Alberti won the National Prize for Literature at age 23 and soon joined a circle of poets called the Generation of ’27, which included Federico García Lorca. During the Spanish Civil War, Alberti served as secretary of the Alliance of Antifascist Intellectuals, and fled first to Paris, then Buenos Aires after the war. In Returnings, Alberti includes poems in which thoughts of the poet’s youth return to him alongside more recent memories.


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