PEN Center USA Translation Award to Stephen Kessler

Photograph of Cernuda on cover of book
Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. Translated by Stephen Kessler. (Black Widow Press, April 2015)

Tonight the PEN Center USA celebrates its 26th Annual Literary Awards in Beverly Hills, California. Congratulations to poet and translator Stephen Kessler, winner of the 2016 PEN Literary Award for Translation for the work, Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems by Luis Cernuda. (Black Widow Press, April 2015.) The book is the most complete collection of the poetry of Spanish poet Luis Cernuda to appear in English. Kessler previously translated Cernuda’s prose poems, Written in Water (City Lights Books, 2004), and won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets for his translation of Cernuda’s later poems, Desolation of the Chimera (White Pine Press, 2009).

Luis Cernuda was a member of the Generation of 1927, a group of Spanish poets influenced by modernist movements such as Surrealism and Futurism. Leaving Spain after the fall of the Spanish republic, he taught for several years at Mount Holyoke College and then settled in Mexico in 1952.

Stephen Kessler’s papers are part of the holdings of the Lilly Library. His collection is one of a growing number of collections documenting contemporary literary translation.

PEN Center USA is a branch of PEN International, the world’s leading international literary and human rights organization.

Author- Erika Dowell

I am Associate Director & Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Lilly Library, the principal rare books, manuscripts, and special collections repository of Indiana University.