This year I was asked to be on the committee for the Best Translated Book Award given out by Open Letter Books for newly-translated works of poetry and fiction published within the last year. It was great, not only did I get to read tons of great translated poetry, I got to talk seriously about it with other amazing poets and translators. And the award will be announced just after the translation slam at PEN World Voices!
In the meantime, the shortlist is up on Three Percent, and my write-up on Time of Sky & Castles in the Air by Ayane Kawata, translated by Sawako Nakayasu was posted yesterday.
Time of Sky & Castles in the Air are two separate books, collected into this single volume, and their contrast underscores Ayane Kawata’s breadth of poetic talent and Sawako Nakayasu’s impressive range as translator. Time of Sky is Kawata’s first collection of poems, published in Japanese in 1969. At the time of publication, Kawata was (and still is) an intentional outsider in the Japanese poetry world. This remove is perhaps the strongest feature of this first part of the collection: the distance of the observer from the poetic world she engages with.
Read the rest here.