October 16, 2021—The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 National Translation Award (NTA) in Poetry! 2021 marks the twenty-third year for the NTA, and the seventh year to award separate prizes in poetry and prose. The NTA, which is administered by ALTA, is the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work. This year’s judges for poetry are Sinan Antoon, Layla Benitez-James, and Sibelan Forrester.
This year’s winner was awarded at the ALTA’s 44th annual conference, Inflection Points, held jointly virtually and in-person in Tucson, AZ. The ceremony was held virtually, and included a focus on the 2021 shortlist, presented by judge Sibelan Forrester, and the winner was featured in conversation with her and then conducted a brief reading. The announcement will be viewable on the ALTA Crowdcast channel. The winner will be awarded a $2,500 prize.
Winner: 2021 National Translation Award in Poetry
By Giuseppe Ungaretti
Translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock
From the judges:
Ungaretti’s first book-length collection of poems appeared almost a century ago. It transformed modern Italian poetry and announced the arrival of a unique voice in world poetry. Although conceived when he was fighting in the trenches of WWI, and penned on military postcards, blank spaces in letters, and the margins of newspapers, these poems are the antithesis of war and what it stands for. The slender poems celebrate life, inflecting its light, memory, and mystery, and seizing the eternal from the seemingly ephemeral in vivid and striking imagery. This elegant translation preserves Ungaretti’s economy and his pursuit of poetic purity.
Geoffrey Brock is the author of three books of poems, the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of numerous books of prose, poetry, and comics, most recently Last Dream by Giovanni Pascoli (World Poetry Books, 2019) and Allegria by Giuseppe Ungaretti (Archipelago, 2020). His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas, where he founded The Arkansas International.
The 2022 National Translation Award in Poetry submissions portal will be opened in January 2022.