Professor awarded grant for literary translation

By: Spencer DeRoos,  A&S Communications
February 23, 2017

Nick Admussen, assistant professor in the Department of Asian Studies, has been named one of 15 recipients of the 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of “Floral Mutter,” a collection of poems by Sichuanese poet Ya Shi. PEN America, the association responsible for awarding these grants, noted that “Admussen’s translations, which are perfectly balanced and polished, recreate the source poems for us in a language the judges described as ‘haunting.’ ”

The grants are awarded annually to a select few literary translators based on both the quality of translation as well as the significance and originality of the work.

The fund was established in 2003 to “promote the publication and reception of translated international literature in English.” In its 13 years of existence, 89 awards have funded 139 translations in more than 35 languages.

The fund received a record 224 applications for the grant this year. Also receiving an award was Japanese-English translator Polly Barton, who won the 2016 Kyoko Selden Memorial Translation Prize from Cornell's Department of Asian Studies.

Admussen received his Ph.D in East Asian studies from Princeton University and his MFA in poetry writing from Washington University in St. Louis.

At Cornell, Admussen’s teaching focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture. His scholarship is centered on recent Chinese poetry and poetics and he is currently working on research into poetic restriction in the early Deng period. His first book, titled “Recite and Refuse: Contemporary Chinese Prose Poetry,” was published in October 2016.

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