On December 17, 2015, Cavanagh presented at the 92nd Street Y in New York with renowned American poet Charles Simic on the works of Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), one of Poland's most-read and best-loved poets.
A “Nobel Prize for Translators”?
In a New York Times Book Review, Richard Lourie proposes a “Nobel-like” award for translators. “If there were such a prize,” he concludes, “Szymborska’s translators Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh would have been awarded it at once” for Wisława Szymborska, Map: Collected and Last Poems, ed. Clare Cavanagh, tr. Clare Cavanagh and Stanisław Barańczak (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). “Cast your eye back up on any line quoted here,” Lourie continues. “Every one seems to have been born in English.” *
The posthumous collection of Nobel Laureate Szymborska’s work was named a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, and has received rave write-ups in other major periodicals. Booklist calls it ‘a brilliant and important collection, in a starred review. And Publisher’s Weekly hails “Nobel laureate Szymborska’s gorgeous posthumous collection” in another starred review.
Cavanagh (Chair, Slavic Languages and Literatures), received a PEN Translation Prize for her work, with Baranczak, on Szymborska, and her most recent scholarly book, Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland and the West, published by Yale, was given the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.
Publishers Weekly recently interviewed Cavanagh in “How to Translate a Map: Clare Cavanagh Poetry 2015.” “Listening to Clare Cavanagh speak of translation as an art,” Jacob Victorine writes, is a reminder that translators must be as adept as poets at working with words...Map is not only impressive because of Szymborska’s precise, intimate, and observationally funny poems...but because of Cavanagh and Baranczak’s tireless dedication in bringing them to English without sacrificing their forms." See the Publishers Weekly article about "How to Translate a Map."
See the full review on NYTimes.com.