The Award for the best Polish translation of a book of poetry for the years 2018 through 2021 goes to Wojciech Charchalis for his rendition of a selection of poems by Fernando Pessoa published by LOKATOR as Heteronimy. Utwory wybrane.
Wojciech Charchalis is a translator, prominent Iberian studies scholar and university teacher. He has published translations from Spanish, Portuguese, and English, over 50 books in all, including works by the Portuguese Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago, Cervantes’s Don Quixote, poetry by Fernando Pessoa, and novels by Mario Vargas Llosa, Javier Marias, António Lobo Antunes, Gonçalo M. Tavares, and many others. He has been the editor of the Seria brazylijska with the Poznań-based publishing house Rebis. He teaches Portuguese literature at the Institute of Romance Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, and has also headed the Chair of Literature at the Jean Piaget University of Cape Verde in Praia. Winner of the 2022 Wisława Szymborska Award in the translation category.
About the book:
Many of the personas included or described in this anthology are poets invented by Fernando Pessoa when he was very young, if not in his childhood. Actually, a great number of them did not write much more than is included in this book. This, however, is irrelevant because, while the megalomaniacal myth of the monstrously prolific poet falls apart, the truth remains about a brilliant poet whose three heteronyms created a work of greatness.
Fernando Pessoa is the most important Portuguese poet and one of the most important European poets of the 20th century. He wrote not only in his own name, but also in the name of the authors he invented, using a variety of poetics. This diversity of stylistics and personalities has been successfully conveyed by Wojciech Charchalis, an excellent Iberian studies specialist known for his translations of José Saramago or as the author of a new translation of ‘Don Quixote’ by Cervantes. Fernando Pessoa’s poetry is a bit of a challenge, but also an extraordinary discovery for readers – that of an outstandingly creative personality. – Janusz Drzewucki, member of the Wisława Szymborska Award Committee
Nearly all of the 20th-century Portuguese literature began with Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms. The poet created various personas, which many mistake for pen names. They are no pen names at all – they are something much profounder. You might go as far as saying they are actually separate poets – each with a biography and a style of his own.
Some of the personas created by Pessoa were well known in Poland before – recognizable, translated and published several times. What we are dealing with here is the translator’s own creative concept, a selection of various heteronyms that have not had an opportunity to internalize before. Wojciech Charchalis has composed the book so as to form a whole, a symphony, a polyphony. ‘Heteronimy’ (The Heteronyms) is something unique, exceptional, something that can only be found on the Polish publishing market. Of course, there are researchers in Portugal who continue to open Pessoa’s famous trunk and pull out ever more heteronyms. But there is no other project like Charchalis’s translation. For these two reasons, the prize-winning book is very important and may reach the awareness of Polish readers and poets alike: firstly, it is something completely new and unique; secondly, the polyphony of this publication may give food for thought to authors and open room for other poetics. – Xavier Farré, member of the Wisława Szymborska Award Committee