UConn-Based Press Wins Acclaim; LCL’s Jeanne Bonner wins PEN

World Poetry Books, a new literary press established in December 2017 by LCL’s Program in Literary Translation, received international attention after the celebrated poet Anne Carson named its two first titles as her favorite books of 2017. Writing in the Paris Review, Carson noted: “This year, I read two unusually excellent new poetry books from Greece, in unusually excellent translation. Both were published by World Poetry Books. They were: Homerica by Phoebe Giannisi, translated by Brian Sneeden, and Rose Fear by Maria Laina, translated by Sarah McCann.” Both books are available online at Amazon.

World Poetry Books under the direction of acclaimed translator Peter Constantine is a nonprofit press and will publish a minimum of six books a year ranging from new and cutting edge European poetry, to works from overlooked, underrepresented, and indigenous languages. Upcoming titles include translations from Chinese, French, German, and Swedish, as well as the works translated from indigenous languages such as Deori, Gamilaraay, Māori, Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi.

LCL has received yet another piece of wonderful news relating to the translations programs directed by Peter Constantine at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, who joined the faculty of LCL only two years ago, in 2016. Jeanne Bonner, one of our graduate students in the Italian Studies program has been named the 2018 recipient of the PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature, for her translation of A Walk in the Shadows, by Mariateresa Di Lascia.

PEN’s description of Bonner’s work in its prize announcement read as follows:

Through Bonner’s scrupulous and effective translation, Di Lascia’s rich descriptive prose guides the reader on a passionate “walk in the shadows” of women’s lives in a village of the Italian deep South, where the protagonist is retracing significant moments of her life and seeking “the genesis of all of the deceptions.” With her own peculiarities, Di Lascia has been compared to Elsa Morante, and her work is also said to recall that of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the Italian classic The Leopard.

In the house where I have stayed after everyone left and silence finally descended, I drag myself around lazily, covered in dust and wearing my old clothes. Piled high against the wall are boxes bursting with cloth that I bought at sweaty Friday flea markets. I’m now free not to miss any of those markets, and when I go, I have the whole morning to roam among the stands and ransack with both hands the colorful, dirty fabrics that someone, who will remain forever unknown to me, wore many years ago…

Now that old age is approaching and I’ve stopped bleeding early without explanation, my humble appearance and the wrinkles that are late in coming protect me even more than the slovenly clothing that covers my body. Dressed up like this, ageless and sexless, I can finally laugh off the world.

It wasn’t always this way.

Another UConn graduate student received a PEN grant. Brian Sneeden of the English department received the prestigious award for his translation of Pheobe Giannisi’s upcoming book Rhapsodia.

For more information on World Poetry Books or translation at UConn, please contact program director Peter Constantine at: peter.constantine@uconn.edu