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and the winner of the Barnstone Translation Prize is…

March 26, 2012

And the winner of the 2012 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize is….  There are actually two winners, and I am not one of them.

I did enter three poems (translated into English), all at the last minute.  The first was my nasty translation of a nasty Spanish sonnet by Francisco de Quevedo, the one originally entitled “Que tiene ojo de culo es evidente,” which Barnstone himself had translated more benignly (as “That Your Ass Has a Nether Eye is Clear”) in Six Masters of the Spanish Sonnet: Francisco de Quevedo, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Antonio Machado, Federico Garcia Lorca, Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel Hernandez.  My second translated poem was a rendering of Psalm 114, an attempt at a sort of play on the wordplay, as Everett Fox so wonderfully achieves such in his English translation of parts of the Hebrew Bible.

And my third entry was the following.  I imagine Barnstone didn’t like it because it’s my imagination of “restoring” the Greek, not of the New Testament as he so incredibly restores it, but of the Septuagint translator(s) of the Psalms.  I was trying to play with restoring what the restored New Testament in English might look like.  (To be clear, “Psalm 113” is the name and the number of what we refer to as the Greek translation of what we now call the original Hebrew “Psalm 114.”)  I was hoping to get at some of those Hebraic-and-or-Hellene literary sparks in translation I’ve blogged about a bit.  Mine is an English translation of a Greek translation of a Hebrew poem, if you will.  You might notice that I struggled with whether the first line should begin “In the ExOdus of…” or, rather, as I began it, thusly:

What just came to me in the mail is this announcement of the winners, and congratulations go to Alexandra Berlina and to G. J. Racz:

As soon as we learn of how we might find and post the winning entries, we’ll update this post to share them here.

If you entered translated poems in this most recent contest and want to share your poem, then we’d be honored if you’d link to it or even post it here.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2012 1:59 pm

    This competition was a wonderful way to spur interest in translation.

    I hope that you continue your efforts to translate the Septuagint, and think about publishing your translations in a literary journal or a book.

  2. March 27, 2012 4:17 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, to many of us.

  3. Alexandra Berlina permalink
    April 10, 2012 8:59 am

    Thank you! I’m still flabbergasted, it was completely unexpected…

    Alexandra Berlina

  4. April 10, 2012 10:35 am


    It’s wonderful that you would stop by here. We look forward to reading your winning translation (from Russian to English), your winning poem, “Dido and Aeneas”!

  5. Alexandra Berlina permalink
    April 10, 2012 12:15 pm

    Thank you! I really cannot tell how flattered I am.:)


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