October 7, 2017—White Pine Press, the Cliff Becker Endowment for the Literary Arts, and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) are proud to announce the winner of the sixth annual Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation, which produces one volume of literary translation in English, annually.
This year’s winners are Derek Mong and Anne O. Fisher for their translation from the Russian of The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin. The judges Diana Thow, Anthony Anemone, and Joanna Trzeciak Huss read and reviewed 30 book manuscripts in determining the winner of the prize. The book will be published by White Pine Press in fall 2018 and launched at ALTA’s annual conference, ALTA41, which will be held in Bloomington, IN from October 31 – November 3, 2018. The judges had the following to say about Fisher and Mong’s manuscript:
Mong and Fisher have succeeded in finding a distinctive voice in English for Amelin, a poet steeped in the philosophical traditions and poetic culture of Russia. There is poetry in Mong and Fisher’s translation, wrought in judicious and playful word choice, internal rhyme, and with a sensitive ear for song, sense, and soulfulness. There are even places where these translations equal or, perhaps, surpass the original in their crispness and linguistic innovation, making this collection not only a remarkable accomplishment of poetic translation but truly a pleasure to read.
Additionally, the judges for the 2017 Cliff Becker Prize have awarded Honorable Mentions to Art Beck for his translation of Martial’s Mea Roma and Elaine Wong for her translation of Chen Li’s Twelve Dynasties. They had this to say about the runners-up:
Art Beck allows Martial to speak directly to the modern reader, artfully navigating the profound differences between contemporary English poetry and Latin poetry of the First Century C.E. Like Martial’s originals, Beck’s translations are funny, beautifully crafted, and, often, profoundly shocking to modern sensibilities.
Elaine Wong translates Chen Li with verbal deftness, elegance and nearly mathematical precision. Her ability to preserve the central conceits of Twelve Dynasties is an impressive achievement and makes for a stirring read that richly deserves to be acknowledged.
Submissions for the 2019 Cliff Becker Book Prize will be accepted starting in January 2018. Please visit us at www.literarytranslators.org/awards for more information.