$10,000 for the translation of Modern Italian Poetry
New York, May 23—The Academy of American Poets announced today that Jennifer Scappettone has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize for her translations of Amelia Rosselli in Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012). This $10,000 award is given every other year for the translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry.
Scappettone will accept the award and read from her translations at the Academy's Awards Ceremony on October 19, as part of the sixth annual Poets Forum in New York City. The judges for the award were Geoffrey Brock, Victoria Surliuga, and Anthony Julian Tamburri.
Judge Geoffrey Brock writes of the translation:
"The virtues of Locomotrix, Jennifer Scappettone's daring new translation of Amelia Rosselli's selected poetry and prose, begin with the title itself, which slyly prepares the reader for the polylinguistic fare (and the self-proclaimed 'infirm mind') that follows. In Scappettone, Rosselli has found an inventive, aesthetically kindred translator, one who rightly chooses 'to startle when Rosselli startles, and not to gloss' — to maintain, that is, rather than tame, the singularities of Rosselli's capacious and difficult work.
But the word 'maintain' makes it sound too easy, as if the translator had only to leave well enough alone, when of course what is often required is the invention in English of sympathetic singularities, which Scappettone, a poet herself, provides in abundance. As if that weren't enough, the poems themselves are framed by Scappettone's excellent introduction and by well chosen prose selections and helpful bibliographies and notes. Locomotrix is an exemplary volume."
Amelia Rosselli was born in Paris in 1930 and grew up as a refugee between France, England, and the United States—the daughter of the English activist Marion Cave and of Carlo Rosselli, a Florentine Jewish intellectual who became a hero and eventually a martyr of the European anti-Fascist Resistance. She eventually settled in Rome.
A self-described "poet of research" as well as a translator, musician, and musicologist, she was the author of eight poetry collections, including the Italian volumes Variazioni belliche, published by Garzanti in 1964 with her manifesto on a new prosody and an afterword by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Serie ospedaliera (Mondadori, 1969), and Documento (Garzanti, 1976), the English volume Sleep (Rossi e Spera, 1981; Garzanti, 1992), and Primi scritti: 1952-1963 (Guanda, 1980), containing prose poems and lyrics in Italian, English, and French. Her prose writings are collected in Diario ottuso (Istituto Bibliografico Napoleone, 1990) and Una scrittura plurale: saggi e interventi critici (Interlinea, 2005). Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath were among the poets she translated.
She is widely considered one of the most important Italian poets of the second half of the twentieth century. Rosselli took her own life at her home in Rome in 1996.
Jennifer Scappettone is the author of the poetry collection From Dame Quickly (Litmus, 2009) and of several chapbooks of poetry including the bilingual Thing Ode / Ode oggettuale (La Camera Verde, 2008). She is the editor and translator of Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and of a special feature on contemporary Italian experimental poetry for Aufgabe 7 (2008).
Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice, her study of the postromantic city as a crucible for twentieth-century experimentation across literature, politics, the visual arts, architecture, and urbanism, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Scappettone is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago.
Geoffrey Brock is the author of Weighing Light (Ivan R. Dee, 2005), the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry: An Anthology (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), and the translator of books by Cesare Pavese, Umberto Eco, and others. His awards and honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Cullman Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas.
Victoria Surliuga is an Associate Professor of Italian at Texas Tech University. She is a scholar of modern and contemporary Italian poetry and Italian cinema, a poet, and a translator. Among her books of poems are Plastica (Lietocollelibri, 2010) and Forbici (2006), which received the Francesco Varcasia Prize. She is also the author of a book-length translation of Giampiero Neri's poetry, Natural Theater: Selected Poems 1976-2009 (Chelsea Editions, 2010). Currently Surliuga is completing a book on Italian actresses.
Anthony Julian Tamburri is Dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, CUNY. The author of a dozen books, his latest is Re-viewing Italian Americana: Generalities and Specificities on Cinema (Bordighera Press, 2011). This spring he is the Visiting Professor of Italian-American Literature and Film at the University for Foreigners in Perugia.
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 $10,000 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 2013 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship is January 31, 2013. 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.