Professor Wins Prize for Translations of Romanian Poet

“I am very pleased to receive the award and thrilled that people are reading Stanescu,” said Dr. Sean Cotter, an associate professor of literature and translation studies.

Dr. Sean Cotter, associate professor of literature and translation studies, has won the 2013 Best Translated Book Award in poetry given by Three Percent, the international literature magazine of the University of Rochester.

Cotter’s winning book, Wheel With a Single Spoke and Other Poems, crosses the language barriers of Eastern Europe and brings the works of one of Romania’s most influential poets, Nichita Stanescu, to English for the first time.

“I am very pleased to receive the award and thrilled that people are reading Stanescu,” said Cotter. “In an era of intense cultural politics, his aesthetics made him a leader of his generation, and his poetry was widely read.”

Stanescu was the defining poet of Communist-era Romania. Cotter calls Stanescu’s work “innovative, conceptual and challenging poetry charged with energy.”

Cotter said that although Stanescu published most of his works in the 1960s and ’70s, the poet remains accessible and important today.

Dr. Cotter's prize-winning translation.

The award is given to the best original translation into English published each year. Winners of each category, fiction and poetry, receive $5,000. The prize also awards $5,000 to the original authors, or in Stanescu’s case, his estate.

Cotter received his PhD in comparative literature from The University of Michigan. In 2009, he was honored with the PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation and the Institute of Romanian Culture award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Promotion of Romanian Literature through Translation.

Cotter also received a 2011 Literature Fellowship for Translation Projects from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Among other posts in Romania, Cotter served in the Peace Corps and was a Fulbright fellow.

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