Dominic Siracusa receives the 2011 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship

Written by

Tony Harrison

Posted on

Jun 02 2011
$25,000 for the translation of Modern Italian Poetry

New York, June 2—The Academy of American Poets announced today that Dominic Siracusa has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship. The $25,000 prize is awarded every other year to enable an American translator to travel, study, or otherwise advance a significant in-progress translation of modern Italian poetry. The award allows Mr. Siracusa to complete his translation of Oramai, by Emilio Villa. He also receives a residency at the American Academy in Rome. The judges for the Fellowship were Thomas Harrison, Jane Tylus, and Paolo Valesio.

On selecting the manuscript for the fellowship, Valesio wrote:

"Dominic Siracusa is a courageous and energetic translator. His dynamism is essential for the effective translation of Emilio Villa's complex poems that are always in motion, and for faithfully reproducing the consistent thread of thought running through the texts. As Polonius famously surmised, 'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.' Siracusa nimbly follows the textual slippings and slidings from erudite quotes through folksy references to Italian-Milanese colloquialisms to lyric outbursts, thereby bringing to English a fascinating blend of Italian experimental poetry."

Emilio Villa was born in 1914 in Affori, near Milan. He wrote poetry in Italian, French, Portuguese, Provencal, Latin, Greek, Sumerian, and Aramaic. Villa's principal collections of verse include Adolescenza (Bologna, 1934), Oramai (Roma, 1947), and 12 Sibyllae (Castelvetro Piacentino, 1995). He translated Homer's Odyssey and the Bible into Italian. In the conceptual arts, Villa collaborated with figures such as Alberto Burri in Italy, the Campos brothers in Brazil, and Marcel Duchamp in France. As a critic, he published hundreds of essays on literature and the visual arts, with topics ranging from primordial man to the avant-garde movements of the sixties and seventies. Dominic Siracusa's translation will be the first comprehensive volume of Villa's work to appear in English. Villa died in 2003.

Dominic Siracusa completed his Bachelor's Degree in Italian Studies at The American University of Rome. He holds a Masters in Italian Literature from Middlebury College, where he wrote his thesis on Italo Calvino. Currently, he is a Doctoral candidate in the Department of Italian at UCLA and studies medieval and contemporary poetry. He has translated works by many writers, including F.T. Marinetti, Enif Robert, and Rosa Rosà.

Thomas Harrison, professor of Italian at UCLA, focuses his research on the 19th-21st centuries. He is the author of 1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance (University of California Press,1996), and Essayism: Conrad, Musil, & Pirandello (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991). Two of his edited collections are Nietzsche In Italy (Anma Libri,1988) and The Favorite Malice: Ontology and Reference in Contemporary Italian Poetry (Out Of London Press,1983). In addition to his translations of Italian poetry and philosophy, Harrison has written on Leopardi, Nietzsche, Pirandello, and others.

Jane Tylus is Professor of Italian Studies and Comparative Literature at NYU, where she is also Director of the Humanities Initiative. Her translations include Sacred Narratives by Lucrezia Tornabuoni de' Medici (University of Chicago Press, 2001), for which she won the award for best translation from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women, and The Complete Poems by Gaspara Stampa (University of Chicago Press, 2010). She is also the author of Reclaiming Catherine of Siena: Literature, Literacy, and the Signs of Others (University of Chicago Press, 2009), and Writing and Vulnerability in the Late Renaissance (Stanford University Press, 1993). With Gerry Milligan she co-edited the recent The Poetics of Masculinity in Early Modern Italy and Spain (University of Toronto Press, 2011).

Paolo Valesio is the Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor in Italian Literature at Columbia University. He is the founder and editor in chief of the journal Italian Poetry Review (IPR). Valesio has published five books of literary criticism, including Gabriele d'Annunzio: The Dark Flame (Yale University Press, 1992), two novels, a collection of short stories, a novella, and sixteen volumes of poetry, the most recent being Il volto quasi umano (Lombar Key, 2009). Among other projects, Valesio is currently engaged in the composition of a trilogy of diaristic novels.

The Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Awards Fund was established by a bequest to the New York Community Trust by Sonia Raiziss Giop, a poet, translator, and long-time editor of the literary magazine Chelsea. In addition to the $25,000 book prize, the fund supports a $10,000 book prize, given in alternate years for the translation into English of modern Italian poetry. The Academy of American Poets invites publishers to submit to the 2011 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Award for translations into English of modern Italian poetry. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2011. For guidelines please visit our website at www.poets.org/awards.

The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and our annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org.