Todd Portnowitz was born in Melbourne, Florida, in 1986. He earned a BA in English from the University of Florida and an MA in Italian literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He received the 2015 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship for his translation of Pierluigi Cappello's Go Tell It to the Emperor: Selected Poems. Judge Giuseppe Leporace said of Portnowitz’s winning translation:
The poetic word of Pierluigi Cappello is choreographed by images not seen or observed, but rather understood: images which accompany and show a world for what it is. “Mandate a dire all’imperatore,” more than any other work by Cappello, is the manifest of the tools employed as well as the mastery accomplished by the author in his poetic quest. Because of the unique creative process employed by the poet, the translation of this work would be an extraordinary challenge for any expert translator; and Todd Portnowitz, in his tireless and remarkably refined effort, has brilliantly grasped and then seamlessly transposed into English all the imagery and linguistic complexities contained in the work at hand.
Portnowitz is translator of two novels with the Italian publisher Mondadori. His poetry, essays, and poetry translations from and into Italian have appeared widely in literary reviews and journals, including Poesia, Le parole e le cose, PN Review, AGNI, Asymptote, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Southwest Review.
His honors include scholarships from the New York State Summer Writers Institute and the Bread Loaf Translators' Conference. An editor with Sheep Meadow Press, he is also a cofounder and editor of the Italian poetry blog Formavera. He lives and works in New York City.