Louise Popkin, Mario BenedettiLouise Popkin with poet Mario Benedetti

A translation by Louise B. Popkin of Arlington is among six books to make the short list for the Oxford-Weidenfeld prize in the UK.

Witness: The Selected Poems of Mario Benedetti (White Pine Press) is the only book of poetry and the only one published in the United States to be a finalist for the honor.

"The other five finalists are all novels," she wrote in an email, "written and translated by very heavy hitters, so I feel a bit like the Little Engine that Could ... don't think I have much of a chance of winning, but feel great about having gotten this far."

Benedetti, who died in 2009, was one of the strongest voices against dictatorship and one of the great 20th-century literary lights in his native Uruguay, according to Popkin's website.

She plans to attend the dinner June 6 at St. Anne’s College, Oxford, England. Finalists will read from their works, and the winner will be announced.

The other finalists are:

    Tess Lewis for Lukas Bärfuss, One Hundred Days (Granta)

    Sam Taylor for Laurent Binet, HHhH (Harvill Secker)

    Frank Wynne for Alonso Cueto, The Blue Hour (Heinemann)

    Philip Boehm for Herta Müller, The Hunger Angel (Portobello)

    Mike Mitchell for Jean-Pierre Ohl, The Lairds of Cromarty (Dedalus)

This year, the awards website says, 135 books were submitted by 48 publishers.


This story was published Sunday, May 5, 2013.