John Felstiner said translation is like a window. It lets some fresh air in and allows some stale air to drift out. Here are seven 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 as a judge 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:
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).
A truly humbling gathering of poets & translators to be put together with!