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Forrest Gander Shortlisted for the Sarah Maguire Prize

Tuesday, 4 Jun 2024

Inforgraphic with shortlisting info on a blue background Congratulations to Forrest Gander who has made it onto the 2024 shortlist for the Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation for his translation of Coral Bracho's It Must Be a Misunderstanding!

The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation is an international biennial award for the best book of poetry in English translation by a living poet from beyond Europe. The winning poet and their translator, or translators, will split an award of £3000 between them. The prize is administered by the Poetry Translation Centre.

Ellen McAteer, Publishing Manager, said: 'We are delighted with the judges’ choices, which show a full range of voices from across the globe, including poets from backgrounds as varied as Palestine, Georgia, Mexico, South Korea, Iran, Lebanon and China.' The judges this year were Ian McMillan, English poet and presenter on The Verb on BBC Radio 3, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Irish poet, academic, and translator, and Ghareeb Iskander, a prizewinning Iraqi poet and translator.

'I’m honoured to be a judge of the Sarah Maguire Prize, proudly keeping her name alive and giving a space to those who, like she did, wrestle with language and meaning every day of their lives,' said Ian McMillan.

You can read more about the prize and the full shortlist here. Congratulations to all the poets, translators and publishers included!
Cover of It Must Be a Misunderstanding Mexican poet, teacher and translator Coral Bracho was born in Mexico City in 1951. She has published several books, two in English thanks to the brilliant poet-translator Forrest Gander, who has put this composite volume together, the first time Bracho has been extensively published in the UK. The book was previously shortlisted for the Premio Valle Inclán Prize 2023.

An extensive selection from Bracho's earlier work, which 'altered the landscape of Mexican poetry' (World Literature Today), is accompanied by the entirety of her new book, of which Gander writes: 'Although composed of individual poems, It Must Be a Misunderstanding is really a deeply affecting book-length work whose force builds as the poems cycle through their sequences. The “plot” follows a general trajectory—from early to late Alzheimer's—with non-judgmental affection and compassionate watchfulness. We come to know an opinionated, demonstrative elderly woman whose resilience, in the face of her dehiscent memory, becomes most clear in her adaptive strategies. The poems involve us in the mind's bafflement and wonder, in its creative quick-change adjustments, and in the emotional drama that draws us across the widening linguistic gaps that reroute communication.

Bracho's poems have philosophical and psychological underpinnings even when they are descriptive. Her work has always managed to mix abstraction and sensuality, but in this book the two merge into a particularly resonant combination. 'We are inside a mind, maybe many minds, considering a mystery with signal attentiveness, openness, and love.'

Get a copy of the book here.

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