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Great news for readers of poetry in translation! Two translated poetry titles have made the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize International Shortlist! One is a recent PBS 2018 Spring Translation Choice: Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space (Bloodaxe Books), translated from Albanian by Ani Gjika, and the other is Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death (New Directions), translated from Korean by Don Mee Choi.

These titles also made the 2019 Best Translated Book Award Longlist. Congratulations to these award-winning poets and translators!

Lleshanaku’s first UK selection Haywire: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011) was shortlisted for the Popescu Prize (the former European Poetry Translation Prize) in 2013, the biannual Poetry Society award for poetry from a European language translated into English.

Kim Hyesoon will be reading from her shortlisted book in the UK later this month and in May, with her translator, at the Newcastle Poetry Festival on 3rd May 2019, where they are joined by Brazilian poet Adelaide Ivánova and poet and translator Rachel Long (in partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre). You can find more information on the event and book your tickets here

There will be a lot of other great events in Newcastle from Wednesday 1st to Saturday 4th May! Find out more here. Fans of poetry in translation should check out the evening event Brecht Then & Now on 2nd May: poet David Constantine and translator Tom Kuhn present the life and times of Bertold Brecht in an electric performance fusing poems, narration, songs, music and photographs. More information here.


As today’s theme is prizes for poetry in translation, here’s a round up of a few of our favourites from recent prize shortlists.

First, from the 2019 Best Translated Book Award Longlist for poetry, we’d like to mention two other books which have already crossed the PBS website:

#1 Moss & Silver by Jure Detela, translated by Raymond Miller and Tatjana Jamnik from Slovenian (Ugly Duckling Press, 2018, bilingual edition). Originally written in the 1980s, Detela anticipates the environmental and animal rights activism of the 21st century and engages in poetic dialogue with various poets, from William Wordsworth to Kobayashi Issa.

#2 Architecture of a Dispersed Life by Pable de Rokha, translated from Spanish by Uravoán Noel (Shearsman Books, 2018). De Rokha was a great Chilean modernist, though presumably less well-known for his poetry than for his feud with famous colleagues Pablo Neruda and Vincente Huidobro.

Even less well-know is the poetry of his wife Winétt de Rokha, with whom Pablo also collaborated. Unhappy verses about love and politics by Winétt de Rokha, as a response to one of her husband’s affairs, are published later this year by Smokestack Books as Oneiromancy (November 2019, translated by Jessica Sequeira), which mixes myths, dreams, folk-tales, communism and surrealism.


Another title from the list of recent winners of the Popescu Prize that we’d like to recommend is:

#3 Raptors by Toon Tellegen, translated by Judith Wilkinson from Dutch (Carcanet, 2011): the depiction of the dynamics of a family held hostage by the mood-swings and histrionics of a both comic and terrifying, grotesque and pathetic father, which evokes European archetypes and brings psychological insight into the world of relations.

You can read more about the judges’ choice on the prize’s website.


Use the promotional code TRANSLATIONTHURSDAY and get 30% discount on all the award-winning books above!

If you’re interested in finding out more about poetry in translation why not become a Poetry Book Society translation member? Every quarter our expert poet selector George Szirtes chooses his favourite new poetry in translation book to deliver to our members alongside a full commentary in our Bulletin. It’s the perfect way to keep up to date with all the latest poetry in translation books, including dual language editions from a wide range of languages worldwide.

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