David Colmer has been recognized for his prolific poetry translations with the James Brockway Prize! The award, run by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, is valued at 5,000 euros and will be presented in Rotterdam at this week’s edition of the Poetry International Festival, on Saturday, June 12 at 3:15 p.m. (BST). The program will be broadcasted online, with a video link available from www.poetry.nl.
David Colmer is a writer and translator. He translates Dutch literature in a wide range of genres including literary fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and poetry. He is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize, and received the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier and PEN Translation Prize. His translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s The Twin (Archipelago) was awarded the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and he received—along with Gerbrand Bakker—the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for Bakker’s novel The Detour. His forthcoming translation, A Guardian Angel Recalls, is available for pre-order here.
We are thrilled to share that David Colmer—translator of Dutch literature across the genres of literary fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and poetry—has been awarded the James Brockway Prize for 2021! The prize, which is run by the Dutch Foundation for Literature, recognizes a translator’s body of Dutch-language poetry, and honors the pivotal James Brockway, the late poet and translator.
The judges David McKay, Judith Wilkinson, and Claire Lowdon wrote:
“Colmer’s work displays great sensitivity to the specific demands of each poem. He is a very versatile translator, able to work with both free verse and traditional forms. He is particularly at ease with the colloquial, contemporary voice and can even produce slang when the Dutch requires this. (…) He is a bold translator; he never automatically chooses the obvious but tries to tease out the maximum from every line. He instinctively knows when to opt for restraint and simplicity and when to take creative risks. His translations are never prosaic and work as poems in their own right, with their own rhythmic flow.”
Award presentation info is available here.
David Colmer’s poetry translations include books by Hugo Claus, Paul van Ostaijen, Menno Wigman, Annie M.G. Schmidt and Cees Nooteboom. His translations published with Archipelago Books include The Twin, Even Now, An Untouched House, and I Wish.
You can pre-order Colmer’s new translation, Willem Frederik Hermans’s A Guardian Angel Recalls, here. It will be out on October 12, 2021.
Belgian critic Michael Bellon reviewed Hugo Claus’s Even Now, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer, for AGENDA:
Colmer always opts to render the vitality and the natural power of the language rather than slavishly copying the rhymes, alliterations, and meanings. In the epilogue, Claus’s Dutch colleague and friend Cees Nooteboom asks to be haunted by him once in a while, as he is by this collection.
The full review can be found here.