The winner of this year's Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize has just been announced. It was (yay!) Michael Hofmann for Durs Grunbein's Ashes for Breakfast: Selected Poems.

Guest Judge Robert McCrum praised the winner saying, "Michael Hofmann's startling, and occasionally magical, rendering of Durs Grunbein's Ashes for Breakfast, a new collection from one of Germany's contemporary masters. A vindication of the translator's alchemy, Hofmann's versions do not smell of the lamp. They look like poems that want to be poems. As translations they feel voluntary, unforced."

Readers Comments

  1. Mark,

    Funny you should mention this . . . as:


  2. Hi Lee,

    Thanks for this. I'm a big fan of Hofmann, but "cockroach" seems so, so wrong to me ...

    Willa and Edwin Muir's translation work best, for me, for Kafka.


  3. Mark,

    At first it seems incongruous, but after re-reading I can see the duality Hofmann intended. I like it. It's a brave translation that works for me - flat, plain, mundane, unliterary: quite beautiful, really.

    Take care,


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