Back Print

Luther College professor receives the PEN Literary Award

Posted: Mon, Mar 23, 2020 10:49 AM
Nancy Gates Madsen (left) and Kristin Dykstra (right) accept an award onstage during the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony at The Town Hall in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for PEN America)

Luther College Spanish professor Nancy Gates Madsen along with Saint Michaels' College distinguished scholar in residence Dr. Kristin Dykstra have been awarded the 2020 PEN Literary Award for Poetry in Translation.

The 2020 award ceremony was hosted by Seth Meyers, who described the award as "The Oscars for books."

Founded in 1996, the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English. Recognized for their work on the collection "The Winter Garden Photograph" by Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez, principal translator Dykstra and co-translator Gates Madsen worked to maintain the artistry and accuracy of the original poems while translating from Spanish to English. A dozen co-translated poems appear in the collection; Dykstra independently translated the remainder of the book.

"When translating poetry you are writing a new poem in English that has a life of its own, while still being faithful to the original," says Gates Madsen. "It is more of an art than a science."