FY 2012 Grant Awards: Literature Fellowships for Translation Projects
Some details of the projects listed below are subject to change, contingent upon prior Endowment approval.
The amount of the awards is pending Congressional approval of the NEA's FY 2012 budget.
To support the translation of Running Through Zhongguancun by the contemporary Chinese novelist Xu Zechen. This novel's style is sparse and direct, representing a divergence from traditional Chinese literature. The novel tells the story of a poor boy trying to make it in Beijing by selling pirated DVDs and fake IDs.
Eric Abrahamsen is a freelance writer and translator and is founder of Paper Republic, a website about Chinese literature in translation. His translations have appeared in HEAT, Asia Literary Review, and Chinese Literature Today. In 2009, he was awarded a PEN Translation Grant to translate My Spiritual Homeland by Chinese author Wang Xiaobo (1952-97).
To support the translation of the German novel The Frequencies by Clemens J. Setz. This 716-page novel was shortlisted for the 2009 German Book Prize and won the 2010 Bremen Literature Prize. Itexamines the crisscrossing paths of a group of characters and explores how seemingly small collisions of everyday lives can have rippling consequences. Setz draws from his experience, not only as a writer, but as a jazz pianist, overtone singer, mathematician, and magician.
Ross Benjamin is a freelance writer and translator. His translations include Friedrich Hölderlin's Hyperion (Archipelago Books), Kevin Vennemann's Close to Jedenew (Melville House), Thomas Pletzinger's Funeral for a Dog (W.W. Norton & Co.), and Joseph Roth's Job (Archipelago). He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his translation of Michael Maar's Speak Nabokov (Verso). He is a graduate of Vassar College and was a 2003–2004 Fulbright Scholar in Berlin.
Lisa Rose Bradford
To support the translation of the Argentine poet Juan Gelman's Oxen Rage. Gelman is arguably Argentina's foremost contemporary poet. His Oxen Rage has never been translated in its entirety into English. In this innovative book, the author shifts his own style from traditional free verse and direct social commentary to wordplay, unorthodox grammar, and rhythmic amalgamations. Gelman published more than 20 books of poetry from 1956-2009. He has received numerous awards including the most prestigious Spanish-language literary award, the Cervantes Prize (2007).
Lisa Rose Bradford was born in Ohio and earned her PhD in comparative literature from the University of California-Berkeley. She lives in Argentina and is a professor of comparative literature at the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata. Her poems and translations have appeared in Poetry Now, Faultline, and eXchanges. Bradford has also translated and edited two anthologies of U.S. poetry into Spanish.
To support the translation of the selected poems of Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli. Pascoli (1855-1912) produced a major body of work that influenced modern Italian poetry. His poetry has been revered, studied, and enjoyed in Italy, but has been neglected in English translation. At Pascoli's best, the applicant asserts that he has a "quiet, plain-spoken style" that is a refreshing change from the "grandiosity" of his contemporaries.
Geoffrey Brock holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida and a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania. He was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry (2002-04) from Stanford University and won an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry in 2003. His prose and poetry translations of Italian authors have been published by Copper Canyon Press, Harcourt, Knopf, and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
To support the translation from Russian of stories and vignettes from Anton Chekhov's early period (1880-85). Much of Chekhov's early work still remains largely unavailable to an English-language readership. This project focuses on the prolific body of work produced by the time Chekhov reached his mid-twenties that led to him receiving the prestigious Pushkin Prize in 1887. The pieces are all comical, ranging from traditional narratives to innovative forms, such as classified ads, telegrams, and lawyers' depositions.
Peter Constantine is an established translator of Arvanitika, French, German, Greek, and Russian literature. He was awarded the 1998 PEN Translation Prize for Thomas Mann: Six Early Stories (Green Integer, 2003). In 2004, the NEA awarded Constantine a fellowship to support the translation from Greek of selected works by Alexandros Papadiamantis. In 2010, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to translate writings by the 19th-century Greek writer Emmanuel Roidis.
To support the translation of Catch and Release by Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez. Published in 2006, this collection of poems won the prestigious Cuban National Critics' prize. Rodríguez is consistently recognized as a major international poet and one of the most significant writers on the island today. Catch and Release is a mix of meditations on relationships and home. To quote the applicant, she "blurs intimate experience into social experience, achieving a result that is not adequately categorized as either'‘private' or'‘public' poetry yet undeniably partakes of both."
Kristin Dykstra earmed both her MA and PhD in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dykstra's literary translations include Cuban writers and poets from Uruguay and Perú. She has translated Rodríguez's poetry for anthologies and is working with the poet on a collection of recent prose. Dykstra is an associate professor of English at Illinois State University.
To support the translation of The Annunciation by Argentinian novelist María Negroni. Published in 2008, this novel is imaginative and structurally innovative and explores the atmosphere of Argentina during the Dirty War. The Annunciation emphasizes structure over plot. Negroni resists narrative traditions like chronology and instead conjures a sense of "ubiquitous time," while freely traversing narrative styles as diverse as memory, history, and fantasy. This will be the first translation of The Annunciation into English.
Michelle Gil-Montero earned her MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop on a Dean's Merit Scholarship. She won the Academy of American Poets University Prize in 2007. Her translations from Spanish have appeared in many journals, including Conjunctions, Words Without Borders, Hayden's Ferry Review, and in the anthology The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2009). Gil-Montero teaches poetry and literary translation at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
To support the translation from Chinese of the selected poems of Mei Yao-ch'en. Considered one of the most important poets in the Chinese tradition, Yao-ch'en (1002-60 C.E.) produced a corpus of 2,800 poems during the Sung Dynasty. This book is the 12th volume in Hinton's pursuit to translate China's major classical poets. Yao-ch'en's work is not readily available to an English readership. The only translation was published more than 30 years ago and is out-of-print.
David Hinton earned his MFA from Cornell University in 1981. He has published collections of ancient Chinese poetry with Archipelago, Copper Canyon Press, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, and New Directions. Hinton has won two NEA Translation Fellowships (1991 and 2001), National Endowment for the Humanities grants (1995 and 2000), a PEN American Translation Prize (2007), and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2003).
William Maynard Hutchins
To support the translation of the Arabic novel New Waw by Ibrahim al-Koni. Born in Libya in 1948 and educated in Moscow, al-Koni now lives in Switzerland. He has published more than 70 volumes of work and won several international literary awards, including the Egyptian State Prize for the Arabic Novel (2010) and the Sheikh Zayed Award for Literature (2008). New Waw is the first volume of a trilogy, each novel following the founding, flourishing, and downfall of a Saharan nomadic tribe.
William Maynard Hutchins earned an MA in philosophy and a PhD in Near Eastern languages from the University of Chicago. One of his most notable publications is the translation of three volumes of The Cairo Trilogy by Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Hutchins was awarded a Translation Fellowship from the NEA in 2005 to support the translation of The Seven Veils of Seth, another novel by al-Koni.
To support the translation from German of The Complete Later Poetry of Paul Celan. Celan is widely regarded as among this century's major German poets. Only Rilke can be considered as famous and influential on German and world poetry. This project aspires to include, in one 640-page book, two posthumously published volumes, a range of uncollected poems, and re-translations of the first three volumes of Celan's later poetry, which are currently out-of-print.
Pierre Joris is a professor of English at the University of Albany. He has translated numerous volumes of Celan's poetry and won several prestigious awards. The NEA awarded Joris a Translation Fellowship in 1999 to support the translation of two collections of Celan's poetry. In 2005, he won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Lightduress (Green Integer, 2004)by Paul Celan.
To support the translation of In What World: Selected Poems by Polish writer Agnieszka Kuciak. An accomplished poet and translator, Kuciak is the author of the first Polish translation of Dante's Divine Comedy in more than a half century. An inventive and original young voice in Polish poetry, Kuciak's poetry is far removed from World War II and the communist era. Her Poland is marked by buying and selling, global Internet culture, and a Catholic hierarchy bent on preserving its influence. No book-length translations of Kuciak's poetry have yet appeared in English.
Karen Kovacik's translations of contemporary Polish poetry have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Mid-American Review, Southern Review, and in several anthologies. She was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant and studied from 2004-2005 in Poland where she first met Kuciak. Kovacik is a professor of English at Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis.
To support the translation of a collection of new and selected poems by Estonian poet Hasso Krull. Since Estonia regained independence in 1991, Krull has emerged as an important writer and intellectual, publishing 10 volumes of poetry, as well as collections of criticism and scholarship on Estonian mythology. Krull has earned some of the most prestigious writing awards in Estonia, including a Baltic Assembly Writing Award (2005). There is a scarcity of Estonian poetry in English translation, and this project is significant to introduce a wider audience to an influential contemporary poet.
Brandon Lussier has published translations in national publications, including World Literature Today, Circumference, and Poetry International. Earning his MFA at San Diego State University, he lived in Estonia from 2003-2004 translating poetry on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Pedro Enrique Rodriguez Jr.
To support the translation of travelogues and novels by George Groslier, a Cambodian-born French writer. Groslier (1887-1945) spent his youth and adolescence in France, but when his dreams of becoming a painter were squashed, he sought a job in colonial service. His first assignment in 1913 sent him back to Cambodia. This was the beginning of a life-long pursuit to catalogue and preserve Khmer art and culture. He is the author of several travelogues, novels, and scholarly work.
Pedro Enrique Rodriguez Jr. is the translator of Cambodian Dancers (Datasia, 2011), Groslier's first book written in 1913. Rodriguez earned his BA in music composition from Bard College and his master's degree in philosophy at the University of Paris. He works as a freelance translator in France for private and government organizations.
To support the translation of German poet Ron Winkler's Fragmented Waters. Born in 1973, Winkler's 2004 breakthrough poetry collection established him as a contemporary poet who dares to write about the natural world. He cannot be classified as a proverbial nature poet; instead Winkler maps a playfully fresh glossary, calling fish "professionally primitive" and diagnosing the wind as "going through a pedagogical phase." Martin Droschke's summation of Fragmented Waters: "Ron Winkler has blended two virtually incongruous texts: a passed-down nature walk and a user's manual for life in the Information Age."
Jake Schneider studied at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and graduated in 2010 with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. He studied German academically for 10 years and in 2005 was awarded a grant from the German government to study in Bavaria. His translations of Winkler have been published internationally and within the U.S. in such journals as Circumference, as well as at the Boston, Chicago, Massachusetts, and Atlanta reviews.
To support the translation of the ninth-century poem "Sacred Speech" by Satakōpan (popularly known as Nammālvār). Satakōpan was regarded as one of the greatest poets and theologians of early medieval India. Sacred Speech, a devotional song poem of 1,102 verses, is one of his four major poetic works. These four poems continue to enjoy an active ritual and oral life in India today. Despite its importance, Sacred Speech has yet to be translated in its entirety from Tamil into English.
Archana Venkatesan was educated in India and received her MA and PhD in South Asian studies from the University of California-Berkeley. She is the author of a volume of Tamil poetry, The Secret Garland (Oxford University Press, 2010). Venkatesan is the recipient of several awards for Tamil literature including a National Endowment for the Humanities grant (2007-08), the Hellman Fellowship (2009-11), and a Harvard Faculty Grant (2010). This project is in collaboration with Francis X. Clooney.
To support the translation from Czech of Marketa Lazarova by novelist Vladislav Vančura. Published in 1931 to critical acclaim, this best-selling novel is set in a town outside of Prague in the 13th-century. The novel remains a classic, in part because of its richly stylized language. In the plot, a lord's daughter is kidnapped by a neighboring clan and becomes a mistress to one of her captors. The novel is, among other things, Vančura's rebuke to the complacency of Czech bourgeois intellectuals. Vančura joined an underground resistance movement and was executed by the German S.S. in 1942. In his lifetime, he published 11 novels, five short story collections, and five plays.
Alex Zucker earned a master's degree in international affairs with a focus on East Central Europe from Columbia University. He won the 2010 National Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association for his translation of Petra Hůlová's first novel, All This Belongs to Me. His literary translations of Czech writers have been published with Dalkey Archive Press, Northwestern University Press, and Catbird Press.
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