Announcing the BTBA Poetry Finalists!
John Felstiner said translation is like a window. It lets some fresh air in and allows some stale air to drift out. Here are six books of poetry from around the world that offer some of the freshest air possible into American poetry. The Best Translated Book Awards was started by Chad Post, editor of Open Letter and founder of the blog Three Percent. This was my fifth year serving on the committee of judges for this award and every year I have been astounded by the lyricism and innovative approaches to translation and poetry we've found in the books nominated for the prize. If you are looking for a book of poetry to take the top of your head off, you couldn't go wrong with one of the finalists on this list. A discussion of these astounding books will appear on Three Percent next week and the winner of this year's award will be announced at the PEN World Voices Festival in May:
2013 Best Translated Book Award: Poetry Finalists
Transfer Fat by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press; Sweden).
pH Neutral History by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press; Macedonia).
The Invention of Glass by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books; France).
Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago Books; Romania).
Notes on the Mosquito by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions; China).
Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck; Austria).
The other judges for this year's award were Brandon Holmquest, poet, translator, editor of CALQUE; Jennifer Kronovet, poet and translator; John Marshall, owner, Open Books: A Poem Emporium; Erica Mena-Landry, poet and translator; Kevin Prufer, poet, academic, essayist, and co-editor of New European Poets; and Russell Valentino, translator, director of Autumn Hill Books and The Iowa Review.
Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian, a 2011 National Poetry Series Selection and a Best Book of 2012 by Cold Front Magazine and The Volta. She is also the author of The Next Country (2008) and the translator of several books of Brazilian poetry and a novel by...