2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

Winner

Molly WeigelThe Shock of the Lenders & Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books)

The PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English published in the previous calendar year and is judged by a single translator of poetry appointed by the PEN Translation Committee.

2013 Judge

Don Mee Choi

From the Judges' Citation

Molly Weigel’s translations of Perednik’s poems are stunning and demanding. The Shock of the Lenders & Other Poems confronts as well as displaces the violence and logic of military and financial dictatorship with its own daring logic and radically coded language. Weigel magnificently contextualizes and reenacts the complex affects of terror, Perednik’s survival, and experimentation during Argentina’s Dirty War. Perednik and Weigel have translation on its back, belly-side up, exposing its most vulnerable task: “Translation seems a natural mode of writing when a language or society, differs from itself, contains the alien, or the barbaric, within.” Translation points to the foreign already within. The translator and her press, Action Books, both deserve much attention for generating this astonishing book. The Shock of the Lenders & Other Poems is urgently relevant to our own context and time—to the ever-expanding, explosive worlds of English.

Runners-Up

Rosa Alcalá, Spit Temple by Cecilia Vicuña

Rosmarie WaldropAlmost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda

 

From the Judges' Citation for Spit Temple

Cecilia Vicuña says, “The true performance is that of our species on Earth: the way we cause suffering to others, the way we warm the atmosphere or cause other species to disappear. I cover myself with clouds to feel like the Earth feels.” Spit Temple, woven by the brilliant hands of Rosa Alcalá, is an enormous cloud, the enormity of which is unspeakably moving and beautiful. The two shaman artists, Vicuña and Alcalá, offer us the rarest of rare salve for all of Earth’s memories.

From the Judges' Citation for Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life

The language of Almost 1 Book/Almost 1 Life sustains a hyper-playful state of alertness, paranoia and obsessive compulsion, zeroing in on nothing and everything, mocking and tainting a carefully sanitized history and disciplined society and its cultural elitism. Obviously, Czurda is not afraid. Czurda and Waldrop make a dynamic pair, a poetic disarray against Power.

Shortlist

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

Previous Winners

Guy Davenport, Edward Snow, Eamon Grennan, Richard Zenith, James Brasfield, Chana Bloch, Chana Kronfeld, Anne Twitty, Peter Cole, Pierre Joris, Wilson Baldridge, David Hinton, Rosmarie Waldrop, Marilyn Hacker, Anne Carson, Khaled Mattawa, and Jen Hofer