Sharon Dolin

Sharon Dolin

Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis


Sharon Dolin is the author of six poetry collections: Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016), Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2015), Whirlwind (Pittsburgh, 2012), Burn and Dodge (Pittsburgh, 2008, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry), Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004), and Heart Work (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). Her translation from Catalan of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes appeared in the Field Translation Series (Oberlin College Press, 2019), for which she garnered grants from the PEN Heim Translation Fund and Institut Ramon Llull. She is also the author of Hitchcock Blonde: A Cinematic Memoir (Terra Nova Press, 2020). Her other awards include a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, a Fulbright Scholarship, and a Pushcart Prize. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she currently lives in New York City, where she is associate editor of Barrow Street Press and directs Writing About Art in Barcelona.

Project Description

To support the translation from the Catalan of Late to the House of Words: Selected Poetry by the Spanish poet Gemma Gorga. Gorga (b. 1968) is an award-winning poet whose work has garnered the Rosa Leveroni Prize for Poetry, the Gorgos Prize in Poetry, and the Critics Prize for Catalan Poetry, among others. In addition to writing poetry, Gorga is also a translator of English literature into Catalan, having co-translated a selection of poetry by the American poet Edward Hirsch. The collection in this project will draw from six of Gorga's poetry books, which are all written in lineated verse. Aside from the one collection Dolin has translated by Gorga, Book of Minutes, this selection will be the only other book of Gorga's poetry translated into English.

When I received the call that I was being awarded an NEA Fellowship in Translation, it was late November, during the Covid-19 pandemic. It felt like a vote of confidence for the work I had been doing in translating this contemporary Catalan poet Gemma Gorga.

I began translating Gemma Gorga’s prose poems, Book of Minutes, as an act of love. Now that I have embarked on a larger project, to translate a selection from her six books of lineated verse, I have come to embrace her work and the Catalan language even more fully. To be a poet writing in Catalan and a woman is to be doubly marginalized. I still find myself having to explain to educated friends and associates that Catalan is a distinct Romance language, not a dialect of Castilian Spanish. Moreover, only a quarter of the poets translated into English from Spain are women.

I view both Gorga’s poetry and my own decision to translate it as political acts, designed to bring into great prominence the voice of a major Catalan woman poet. This grant says to me that my translation project is indeed worthwhile, and I am honored and grateful to be receiving this moral and financial boost at this time from the NEA.