PEN America Literary Awards Poetry in Translation

Founded in 1996, the $3,000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English published during the current calendar year.

All winners and finalists for this award are eligible to receive PEN America’s official winner or finalist seal. If you are a publisher of a shortlisted or winning book for this award and are interested in obtaining PEN’s award seal, please write to [email protected].

Current Cycle: 2020

Honoring books published in 2019.

Submissions for the 2021 cycle open June 1, 2020.

JUDGES: Michael Eskin, Forrest Gander, Pierre Joris

2020 Finalists

Final Matters: Selected Poems, 2004-2010, Szilárd Borbély (Princeton University Press)
Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
Hudson | IndieBound

Room in Rome, Jorge Eduardo Eielson (Cardboard House Press)
Translated from the Spanish by David Shook
Hudson | IndieBound

Daybook 1918: Early Fragments, J.V. Foix (Northwestern University Press)
Translated from the Catalan by Lawrence Venuti
Hudson | IndieBound

Killing Plato, Chantal Maillard (New Directions Publishing)
Translated from the Spanish by Yvette Siegert
Hudson | IndieBound

2020 PEN Award For Poetry In Translation Finalists

Featured Winner: Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen

The Winter Garden Photograph, Reina María Rodríguez (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Translated from the Spanish by Kristin Dykstra and Nancy Gates Madsen
Hudson | IndieBound

From the judges’ citation: “In jagged, fresh-cut, emotive rhythms, and in a lexicon sourced from science, domestic relations, and literature, Reina María Rodríguez creates a poetry of attentiveness so immediate that no sooner does it express itself, than it is subject to revision and qualification. Through the sensuality of her diction and the abruptive but musical pulse of her syntax, Rodríguez takes up the Wittgensteinian directive to look and see a world that, as the poet puts it, ‘fits into the eyes of the cat.’ The Winter Garden Photograph is as much discursive meditation on memory as it is a riveting embodiment of insight and intuition, and a declaration of love for the great surprising variety of the world. Almost impossibly, the translators negotiate the definitive peculiarities of Rodríguez’s unique phrasing with inspired English versions that neither normalize, dumb-down, nor exoticize the magic of the originals.”

Reina María Rodríguez, The Winter Garden Photograph


Previous Winners

2019 Richard Sieburth for his translation from the French of A Certain Plume by Henri Michaux (NYRB)

2017 Simon Armitage for his translation from Middle English of Pearl: A New Verse Translation (Liveright/W.W Norton & Company)

2016 Sawako Nakayasu, for her translation from the Japanese of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books)

2015 Eliza Griswold, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan by Anonymous (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

2014 Karen Emmerich & Edmund Keeley, Diaries of Exile by Yannis Ritsos (Archipelago)

2013 Molly Weigel, The Shock of the Lenders and Other Poems by Jorge Santiago Perednik (Action Books)

2012 Jen Hofer, Negro Marfil/ Ivory Black by Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press)

2011 Khaled Mattawa, Adonis: Selected Poems by Adonis and Khaled Mattawa (Yale University Press)

2010 Anne Carson, An Orestia by Auschylus, Sophocles, Euripides (Faber & Faber)

2009 Marilyn Hacker, King of a Hundred Horsemen by Marie Étienne (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

2008 Rosmarie Waldrop, Lingos I-IX by Ulf Stolterfoht (Burning Deck)

2007 David Hinton, The Selected Poems of Wang Wei by Wang Wei (New Directions)

2006 Wilson Baldridge, Recumbents by Michel Deguy (Wesleyan Poetry Series)

2005 Pierre Joris, Lightduress by Paul Celan (Green Integer)

2004 Peter Cole, J’Accuse by Aharon Shabtal (New Directions)

2003 Khaled Mattawa, Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems of Saadi Youssef (Graywolf)

2002 Anne Twitty, Islandia by Maria Negroni (Station Hill)

2001 Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld, Open Closed Open by Yehuda Amicha (Harcourt)

2000 James Brasfield and Oleh Lysheha, The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute)

1999 Richard Zenith, Fernando Pessoa & Co (Grove)

1998 Eamon Grennan, Selected Poems by Giacomo Leopardi (Princeton)

1997 Edward Snow, Uncollected Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

1996 Guy Davenport, editor and translator, 7 Greeks (New Directions)

Eligibility and Submission Guidelines

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