– The California poet and professor will receive the award from Felipe VI on July 20.
– First edition of this award created by the Cervantes Institute, the publishing house La Cama Sol and the Margarit family, in honor of the Catalan poet.
Madrid, July 17, 2023 – H.M. the King will present next Thursday, July 20, the Joan Margarit International Poetry Award to the American author Sharon Olds at the Cervantes Institute in New York (United States). This award is the first edition of a recognition promoted by the Cervantes Institute, the publishing house La Cama Sol and the poet’s family. Joan Margarit (1938 – 2021), to disseminate internationally the figure of the Catalan author, winner of the Cervantes Prize and Queen Sofia Prize for Poetry, among others, and to celebrate the talent of outstanding contemporary authors.
The jury unanimously decided to award the prize to Olds “for being a reference in American poetry”, as well as for “his non-conformist and genuine writing”. In its verdict, the jury highlights “his commitment to truth and the merciless presence of life in his poetry, something that takes on special relevance in times of the culture of cancellation and at a time when many think that a machine can write the same poems that produce the tearing of the human”.
Also participating in the ceremony (at 6:30 p.m. local time in New York) will be Luis García Montero, director of the Cervantes Institute; Mònica Margarit, daughter of Joan Margarit; and Javier Santiso, founder of the publishing house La Cama Sol. Also, representing Sharon Olds ‘ facet as a teacher, two of her students, DeeSoul Carson and Silvina López Medin, will read -in English and Spanish, respectively- some of Margarit’s poems. Mònica Margarit will read the Catalan versions.
The event will end with the presentation of the award by Felipe VI to Sharon Olds, who will close the ceremony with a few words of thanks. As part of this recognition, the award-winning poet’s own speech will be included in a limited edition to be published by La Cama Sol, which will include artwork and poems, with translations into Spanish, English and French. The award, created for the occasion by sculptor Cristina Almodóvar (Madrid, 1970), is a book-object made with mixed technique -drawing, sculpture and digital printing- that unites art and poetry. In the artist’s own words, the piece “goes beyond the two-dimensional representation, escaping from it. Poetry does the same. It transcends the life of the author. The name and work of Joan Margarit crosses borders with this award”. The award ceremony can be followed live on the Instituto Cervantes YouTube channel.
Preliminary meeting with the media (5:00 p.m.)
Prior to the award ceremony (at 5 p.m. local time in New York), the Cervantes Institute will host a meeting with the award-winning author, Sharon Olds, with the media, which will be attended by Luis García Montero, Mònica Margarit and Javier Santiso.
Genuine and nonconformist author
Sharon Olds (San Francisco, USA, 1942) grew up in Berkeley (California), studied at Stanford University and received her PhD from Columbia in 1972. In 1980 he published his first book of poems, Satan Says, followed by The Dead and the Living (1984), a collection of poems divided into two sections – Poems for the Dead and Poems for the Living – which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and has sold more than 50,000 copies, making it one of the best-selling volumes of poetry today.
A New York State Poet from 1998 to 2000, Olds is currently the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at New York University.
Known for writing personal and biting poetry that describes both family life and world political events, her works include Stag’s Leap (2012), a collection of poems that explored details of her divorce and for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in the United States and the T. S. Eliot Prize in England; and Arias (2019), shortlisted for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. Author of twelve poems, Balladz (2022) is her most recent book.
In 2018, the Spanish version of Olds’ play, Stag’s Leap, was published, which Joan Margarit translated with his grandson Eduard Lezcano. In the foreword, Margarit stated: “I have known Sharon Olds to be a great poet for a long time, when I first read Satan, but making these versions has meant, in addition to reading a good book of poems, an important level of learning for my own craft as a poet”.
Award in honor of Joan Margarit
The Joan Margarit International Poetry Award is awarded annually. aims to reward the work of foreign poets with a consolidated and internationally recognized career, responding to the interest Margarit always had in making known in his two languages, Catalan and Spanish, his favorite writers from other languages and countries -he translated Thomas Hardy, Rainer Maria Rilke or Elizabeth Bishop, among others-.
The jury, formed by Luis García Montero, Javier Santiso, Mònica Margarit; the recently deceased professor and Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, Nuccio Ordine and the director of the National Library, Ana Santos. The award was unanimously decided last May to recognize the writer “for being a reference in American poetry”, as well as for “her non-conformist and genuine writing”.