Randall Couch recieves Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Poetry Translation
Last November we were pleased to note that Randall Couch was the recipient of Corneliu M Popescu Prize for Poetry Translation for his translation from the Spanish of Mad Women by Chilean Gabriela Mistral. The award—named after the translator of the work of one of Romania’s leading poets—highlights the important, but unfortunately relatively scarce, contributions of literature in translation to the English speaking world. The award was announced by judges Elaine Feinstein and Stephen Romer on Thursday, 19 November 2009 in an event at London’s Romanian cultural center, the Ratiu Foundation, which has recently posted some photographs of the event on their website. For more on the award navigate to http://www.romanianculturalcentre.org.uk/.
A schoolteacher whose poetry catapulted her to early fame in her native Chile and an international diplomat whose boundary-defying sexuality still challenges scholars, Gabriela Mistral is one of the most important and enigmatic figures in Latin American literature of the last century. The Locas mujeres poems collected here are among Mistral’s most complex and compelling, exploring facets of the self in extremis—poems marked by the wound of blazing catastrophe and its aftermath of mourning.
From disquieting humor to balladlike lyricism to folkloric wisdom, these pieces enact a tragic sense of life, depicting “madwomen” who are anything but mad. Strong and intensely human, Mistral’s poetic women confront impossible situations to which no sane response exists. This groundbreaking collection presents poems from Mistral’s final published volume as well as new editions of posthumous work, featuring the first English-language appearance of many essential poems. Madwomen promises to reveal a profound poet to a new generation of Anglophone readers while reacquainting Spanish readers with a stranger, more complicated “madwoman” than most have ever known.