Olivia McCannon’s poetry collection Exactly My Own Length (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2011) was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and won the 2012 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. She read French/German at the Queen’s College, Oxford, and lived for eight years in Belleville, Paris. Her translations include Balzac’s Old Man Goriot (Penguin Classics, 2011), modern French poetry in Poetry of Place: Paris (Eland, 2014), and contemporary plays (by Swiss, Lebanese and Cuban writers) for the Royal Court Theatre in London. She was commended in the 2014 Stephen Spender Prize, and her translations of the Burmese poet Nge Nge will appear in the summer 2015 issue of MPT.
“I’m looking forward to feeling the warmth, and surprise, of these voices from abroad. At its most vital, poetry in translation overcomes what was thought impossible and finds what was unimaginable. We need it, to protect and strengthen our humanity. The Popescu Prize puts us in touch with all of this.” Olivia McCannon
Clare Pollard was born in Bolton in 1978 and lives in London. Her first collection of poetry, The Heavy-Petting Zoo was written whilst she was still at school, and received an Eric Gregory Award. It was followed by Bedtime and Look, Clare! Look!, which was made a set text on the WJEC A-level syllabus. Her fourth collection Changeling is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Clare has co-translated Poems by Caasha Lul Mohamud Yusuf, and her new version of Ovid’s Heroines, published by Bloodaxe, is currently touring as a one-woman show with Jaybird Live Literature. She blogs regularly about life as a poet at www.clarepollard.com.
“Translation is always a form of conversation. I’ll be looking for that particular, thrilling energy you get when the right writer meets the right translator. British poetry can be inward-looking, and this prize is a very important opportunity to enlarge our sense of what poetry can do.” Clare Pollard