$5,000 for the Translation of Modern Italian Poetry

New York, April 17— The Academy of American Poets announced today that John DuVal has been selected as the winner of the Raiziss/de Palchi Prize for his translation of Tales of Trilussa, by Carlo Alberto Salustri (The University of Arkansas Press). This $5,000 award is given every other year for the translation into English of significant work of modern Italian poetry. The judges for the award were Geoffrey Brock, Charles Martin, and Michael Palma.

Juror Michael Palma writes of Tales of Trilussa:

Trilussa’s poems can be successfully carried over into another language only by retaining—or, more precisely, re-creating—the dexterity and the bite of the originals, and in John DuVal Trilussa has found his ideal translator....The people of Trastevere love their poets. Like Belli, Trilussa is commemorated by a public square and a statue along the Tiber. And he has an equally handsome tribute in English, in the form of John DuVal’s Tales from Trilussa.

John DuVal directs the program in literary translation at the University of Arkansas. His books from Romanesco (the dialect of Modern Rome) are Tales of Trilussa and Cesare Pascarella’s The Discovery of America, awarded the 1992 Harold Morton Landon Prize for the Translation of Poetry by the Academy of American Poets. He and Louise Rozier are now translating a third volume of Romanesco poetry, Giorgio Roberti’s ‘Na zeppa a l’occhio. Working with Raymond Eichmann, he has translated five books from Old French, including Cuckolds, Clerics and Countrymen, which Choice magazine selected for their list of Best Academic Books of the year. In 2005 Pegasus Press published their From Adam to Adam: Seven Old French Plays, including DuVal’s translation of Adam le Bossu’s Jeu de la feuillée, for which he received a 1999 – 2000 National Endowment of the Arts fellowship.

Carlo Alberto Salustri, whose professional name was Trilussa and whose friends called him Tri, published thirteen individual volumes of poems, as well as several collections of selected poems from his first publication in 1887 at the age of fifteen until his death in 1950. Near the end of his life the Italian Parliament acclaimed him “Senator for Life,” a distinction which until then only Alessandro Manzoni (1860) and Giovanni Verga (1920) had earned purely on the basis of literary merit. Affirming this honor, Senator Vittorio Emanuele Orlanda praised Trilussa for remaining in Italy during the Fascist regime without bowing to it: “He was very precious to me, not only for his great worth as an artist, but also because of the tenderness and strength with which he upheld my faith during times when, if I looked around me, I could feel myself wavering.... Trilussa... gave us courage and cured us of our scepticism: he remained on his feet, to the honor of Italian intellectual life, so that it could not be said that it completely failed” (address to the Senate, December 1950). Trilussa’s Tutte le poesie (Complete Poems), published by Mondadori, sold out in a few days and has been a bestseller ever since.

The Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Awards Fund was established by a bequest of $400,000 to the New York Community Trust by Sonia Raiziss Giop, a poet, translator, and long-time editor of the literary magazine Chelsea. In addition to the $5,000 book prize, the fund supports a $20,000 fellowship, given in alternate years for the translation into English of modern Italian poetry. The Academy of American Poets invites applications from American translators currently engaged in the translation of twentienth-century Italian poetry. The deadline for submissions to the 2006 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship is November 1, 2006. To receive the guidelines, please visit our website at www.poets.org/awards.

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. Through its awards program, the Academy awards well over $200,000 each year to individual poets. These awards include the Academy Fellowship, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the James Laughlin Award, the Walt Whitman Award, the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, student poetry prizes at nearly 200 colleges and universities, and the American Poets Fund. The Academy also administers National Poetry Month (April), established by the Academy in 1996 and now the largest literary celebration in the world; the Poetry Audio Archive, a collection of nearly 500 recordings dating back to the 1960s; and Poets.org, our award-winning website, which provides a wealth of content on contemporary American poetry.

The New York Community Trust has been the community foundation of the metropolitan area for the past 76 years. An aggregate of 1,500 charitable funds created by individuals, families, and businesses, the Trust made grants of $145 million in 2000 to help meet the changing needs of children, youth, and families; aid in community development and improve the environment; promote health and assist people with special needs; and support education, arts, and the humanities. The Trust also takes the initiative in responding to new and persistent New York City problems.