Good morning, everyone. I’d wish you a happy 4th of July if there seemed any sense in celebrating American nationhood at a moment when the powers that be in Washington and Wall St. appear to be warming up to send us back to war in Iraq, where we have no business being and recently have served primarily to cause the deaths of Iraqi civilians as well as contribute to the level of dysfunction in a political system that was already dysfunctional without us. Since the ones pushing for war are the real-world Raymond Tusks, this is a good moment to support any efforts you hear of to reform U.S. campaign finance law with a new constitutional amendment, since current laws (e.g. the disastrous Supreme Court ruling referred to as “Citizens United“) permit large corporations to donate virtually unlimited sums to political candidates, effectively making Wall St. more powerful than the White House. This is why our political representatives keep doing awful things to us and to the rest of the world. We desperately need change. Even the Democrats are apparently working on getting “Citizens United” overturned (possibly just for show, since there are mid-term elections coming up). Common Cause is a good organization to keep an eye on – they’re on the right side of this issue. Then there’s the newly launched MayDay PAC spearheaded by Lawrence Lessing. So that’s been on my mind lately, and I’ve been traveling, and in short I managed to miss the admittedly rather discreet announcement that the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize (which I blogged about in May) was awarded last month at a ceremony in Oxford. And lo, the prize has gone to Susan Wicks for her translation of Valérie Rouzeau’s Talking Vrouz. The judges said:
Talking Vrouz is a wonderfully inventive and yet faithful translation of poems which are already at an oblique angle to their own language (French). Susan Wicks renders a unique poetic voice, with all its eccentricities and privacies, into a matching English. The translation is exact, inventive and full of life, and offers readers something new and startling in English poetry.
Congratulations to Susan Wicks and to all this year’s finalists!