2014 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

Winner

Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley, Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago)

The $3,000 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.

2014 Judge

Kimiko Hahn

From the Judge's Citation

Yannis Ritsos’ Diaries of Exile spans an era in Greece that was politically dangerous, especially for a radical who would not compromise his art. The three diaries include a peculiar lyric in the form of "a censored postcard”—ten lines or less—that was imposed by prison guards. Ritsos used the compressed form to his advantage. These ten-lined poems, as well as the other "diary entries," are brilliant stops in time. The individual titles are dates and add social context to his world, as in "January 10": "You have to tie your own hands. / You tie them. / Night cuts the cords." Stellar translators Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley take these poems from their limited context and bring out a universal predicament, that is, writing from an existence of harshness and hope. I feel privileged to hold these.

Shortlist

Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer
Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley
Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin
Paul Klee’s Boat by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel
Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs (Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe

Longlist

Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed Editions), Martha Collins and Ngo Tu Lap
Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus (Archipelago), David Colmer
Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago), Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley
fungus skull eye wing by Alfonso D’Aquino (Copper Canyon Press), Forrest Gander
Impromptus by Gottfried Benn (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Michael Hofmann
Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Yosa Buson (Copper Canyon Press), Takako Lento & W.S. Merwin
Colonies by Tomasz Różycki (Zephyr Press), Mira Rosenthal
I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust by Yu Xiang (Zephyr Press), Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Paul Klee’s Boat by Anzhelina Polonskaya (Zephyr Press), Andrew Wachtel
Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs (Johns Hopkins University Press), Michael Wolfe

Past winners

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

 

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award.