Paul Vangelisti Receives the Raiziss/de Palchi Prize

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Jun 07 2010
$5,000 for the Translation of Modern Italian Poetry New York, June 7, 2010—The Academy of American Poets announced that Paul Vangelisti has been selected as the winner of the Raiziss/de Palchi Prize for his translations of Adriano Spatola in The Position of Things: Collected Poems 1961-1992 (Green Integer). This $5,000 award is given every other year for the translation into English of significant work of modern Italian poetry. Vangelisti will accept the award and read from his translations at the Academy's Awards Ceremony on October 29, as part of the fourth annual Poets Forum in New York City. The judges for the award were Jennifer Scappettone, Paolo Valesio, and Lawrence Venuti.

Judge Lawrence Venuti writes of the translation:

"Collected for the first time in an edition that does not yet exist in Italy, Adriano Spatola's work distinguishes him as a key experimentalist whose innovations extended the boundaries of Italian poetry. Yet although experimental poetries dominated the Italian scene in the second half of the twentieth century, Spatola, like many of his like-minded contemporaries, has been virtually excluded from English. Paul Vangelisti's translation is a momentous work of cultural restoration which also makes manifest the evolution of a decades-long conversation between the Italian poet and his American poet-translator. It is a powerful rendering that closely adheres to the Italian texts while recreating their explosive effects, shrewdly resolving the thorniest of translation problems. In Vangelisti's resourceful English versions, Spatola's expansive line and poetic idiolect go beyond readability to defamiliarize kindred spirits such as Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein, forever altering the reader's sense of anglophone poetic traditions."

Paul Vangelisti is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, as well as being a noted translator from Italian. He has been the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts grants in translation and poetry, as well as Italy's Flaiano Prize and the PEN-USA Prize for translation. He was co-editor, with John McBride, of the literary magazine Invisible City, and also edited Ribot, the annual publication of the College of Neglected Science. He has worked as a journalist at the Hollywood Reporter, and as Cultural Affairs Director at KPFK Radio. Currently, with Luigi Ballerini, he is editing a six-volume anthology of U.S. poetry from 1960 to the present, Nuova poesia americana, for Mondadori in Milan. Vangelisti is Founding Chair of the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design.

Adriano Spatola was born in Sapjane, Croatia, in 1941, and died in Sant'Ilario D'Enza near Parma in 1988. Early in his career he was part of Gruppo 63 and the editorial board of the magazine Quindici. With Giulia Niccolai he founded the seminal poetry magazine TamTam, and for many years was the publisher of the highly innovative Edizioni Geiger. In addition to his volumes of linear and visual poetry, as well as a novel, Spatola published the ground-breaking study of international experimentation, Verso la poesia totale, recently available in English as Toward Total Poetry (Seismicity Editions, 2009). He also co-edited, with Paul Vangelisti, the anthology Italian Poetry 1960-1980: From Neo to Post-Avant-Garde (Red Hill, 1982).

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 $5,000 book prize, the fund supports a $25,000 fellowship, given in alternate years for the translation into English of modern Italian poetry. The Academy of American Poets invites applications from American translators currently engaged in the translation of modern Italian poetry. The deadline for submissions to the 2011 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship is December 31, 2010. 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.