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 . . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
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Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
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Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .