Press release: 2009

The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation opens for submissions

“English poetry has always been enriched by work in other languages. Indeed, it would be hard to understand the poetry of the last hundred years without those voices through the window. Think of T.S Eliot's debt to Laforgue in Prufrock, Ezra Pound’s versions of Chinese poetry in Cathay, or Ted Hughes’s Ovid. English poets have always known how to transmute what they overhear.” Elaine Feinstein, 2009 judge.

The significance of translated poetry on our own poetic landscape is one not always recognised. The Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation brings into focus the value of travelling beyond our own poetry backyard, for both the reader and the writer.

Organised by the Poetry Society and awarded biennially, the prize is given to a collection of poetry translated into English from another European language. Judging the books this year are leading poets/translators, Elaine Feinstein and Stephen Romer.

Reading translated work not only opens a window into other cultures – but also, without it, the story of contemporary English poetry cannot be fully understood. As judge Stephen Romer explains: “The word translation is one that, like the art it describes, comes trailing a cluster of variants – imitation, adaptation, version, creative transposition and the belle infidèle among them. There are indeed many mansions in the realm of translation, and the reader is the beneficiary, nowhere more so than in Britain at present.  English has always been enriched by the encounter with other languages, and our native poetry fed by it.”  

The prize is named after Corneliu M Popescu who was the translator of  the eminent Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu. Popescu was killed in an earthquake in 1977. This Award is sponsored by the Ratiu Foundation UK


For further information about the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation 2009, telephone 020 7420 9880 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • · Past winners of the Corneliu M Popescu Prize are David Constantine for his translation of  Lighter than Air by Hans Magnus Enzensberger in 2003; Adam Sorkin and Lidia Vianu for their translation of The Bridge by Marin Sorescu in 2005  and Ilmar Lehtpere for his translation of The Drums of Silence by Kristiina Ehin in 2007.
  • Submissions shoud be sent to Translation Prize, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX by 31 May 2009. Three copies of each book should be sent and the original language(s) of the poems should be specified.
  • Elaine Feinstein is a poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright and translator. Her most recent poetry collection is Talking to the Dead.
  • Stephen Romer is a poet, translator and editor living in France. His latest collection is Yellow Studio, shortlisted for the 2008 TS Eliot Prize.
  • For further information about the Poetry Society visit
  • For more information about the Ratiu Foundation UK visit:




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