Award Winner


By Lucía Estrada

Longlisted for the 2020 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation

Lucía Estrada’s Katabasis, winner of the 2017 Bogotá Poetry Prize, is the first full collection of poetry by a Colombian woman to be translated into English. It takes its title from the Greek word for descent, referring to both classical knowledge quests into the underworld by epic heroes and, more broadly, to any journey into madness, darkness, and the unknown. Olivia Lott’s seminal translation tracks the mercurial tempos and intertextualities of the poems, as it captures the double valence of political dissent and katabatic descent. This book reminds us that darkness is a space of enlightenment.

Lucía Estrada (Medellín, Colombia, 1980) is the author of ten books of poetry including the award-winning collections Las Hijas del Espino (2006) and La noche en el espejo (2010). She is the two-time recipient of the Bogotá Poetry Prize, most recently in 2017 for Katábasis, which was also named a finalist for the 2019 Colombian National Poetry Prize. Estrada has been invited to participate in many international literary events and, for several years, she helped to organize the groundbreaking Medellín International Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies in and beyond Latin America and has been partially translated into English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Swedish. Estrada is currently the Cultural Coordinator at the Corporación Otraparte in Medellín.

Olivia Lott is a translator and scholar of Latin American poetry. Her translations and writing on translation have most recently appeared in The Arkansas International, Brooklyn Rail In Translation, Burning House, Kenyon Review, MAKE Magazine, Reading in Translation, Waxwing, and World Literature Today. She is the co-translator of Soleida Ríos’s The Dirty Text (Kenning Editions, 2018) and the curator of the monthly feature Poesía en acción on the Action Books blog. Lott is ABD in Hispanic Studies and an Olin Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is writing a dissertation on 1960s neo-avant-garde poetics in Latin America.

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