2015 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

Winner

Eliza Griswold, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, translated from the Pashto (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

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.

Click here to read an interview with Eliza Griswold about her work translating I Am the Beggar of the World

From the Judges' Citation

Darwish wrote that “Every beautiful poem is an act of resistance.” In I Am the Beggar of the World, poet and translator Eliza Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy collect records of many such courageous acts by Afghani girls and women. Their landays – couplets passed on anonymously by ancient tradition, now shared through covert phone calls and social media – serve as testimony, snapshots of otherwise hidden subjectivities, and politically vivid, feminist texts:

My darling, you are just like America!

You are guilty; I apologize.

Their funny, moving, acerbic critique of a society that would deny their existence – and the agency of women writers – is matched in complexity by their commentary on the US presence in Afghanistan. Rahila Muska and other women who risk and give their lives for the chance to utter two lines of poetic truth have much to teach the men whose policies and drones deprive them of educations, livelihoods, loves. They deserve our highest praise, and their translators our thanks."

Shortlist

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon (Action Books), translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
I Am the Beggar of the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz (W. W. Norton & Company), translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), translated from the German by Pierre Joris
Guantanamo by Frank Smith (Les Figues Press), translated from the French by Vanessa Place

Longlist

Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon (Action Books), translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi
Love Poems by Bertolt Brecht (Liveright), translated from the German by David Constantine and Tom Kuhn
I Am the Beggar of the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), translated from the Pashto by Eliza Griswold
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by Juana Inés de la Cruz (W. W. Norton & Company), translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman
Where Are the Trees Going? by Venus Khoury-Ghata (Northwestern University Press), translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
Breathturn into Timestead by Paul Celan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), translated from the German by Pierre Joris
Guantanamo by Frank Smith (Les Figues Press), translated from the French by Vanessa Place
Skin by Tone Škrjanec (Tavern Books), translated from the Slovenian by Matthew Rohrer and Ana Pepelnik
Diana's Tree by Alejandra Pizarnik (Ugly Duckling Presse), translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
Autoepitaph by Reinaldo Arenas (University Press of Florida), translated from the Spanish by Kelly Washbourne

2015 Judge

Ana Božičević is the author of Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2010) and Rise in the Fall (Birds, LLC), a 2013 Lambda Literary Award Winner. Her translation of It Was Easy to Set the Snow on Fire by Zvonko Karanović will be published this spring by Phoneme Media. With Željko Mitić, Ana co-edited The Day Lady Gaga Died: an Anthology of NYC Poetry of the 21st Century (in Serbian, Peti talas/The Fifth Wave, 2011). She edited Diane di Prima’s lectures for Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she studies poetics. With Sophia Le Fraga, she teaches poetry at BHQFU in New York. Currently Ana is working on her third book, The Joy of Missing Out.

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, Molly Weigel, Karen Emmerich and Edmund Keeley.

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

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