|Modern Language Association awards top honor to Michael Beard and colleague|
The Modern Language Association of America will announce it is presenting its sixth biennial Lois Roth Award for a Translation of a Literary Work to UND Fritz Distinguished Professor of English Michael Beard and his colleague Adnan Haydar of the University of Arkansas for their translation of Adonis's Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs, published by BOA Editions.
The late Lois W. Roth worked for the United States Information Agency as an advocate for the use of literary study as a means of understanding foreign cultures. Established in 1997, the Lois Roth Award is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on Dec. 28 during the association's annual convention, held this year in Philadelphia.
The MLA award committee's citation for the winning book reads: “Adnan Haydar and Michael Beard have exquisitely translated Adonis's innovative and influential modernist first book, Mihyar of Damascus: His Songs, voiced by a chameleonic ‘knight of strange words.'
“The translators find a meeting place in each stanza between the spareness and allusiveness of the Arabic and the tendency, in English, to focus on the noun. They also develop the multiple valences of the poet's many voices, which speak truth while they reflect the ceaseless refashioning of the conditions under which speech is possible.
“To convey this spirit of endless transformation, of certainty amid the unknowable, without adding or diminishing, the translators accomplish the marvelous: anchoring these multilayered poems in an English that, rich with metaphor, reflects their compact and endlessly inventive originals.
Beard teaches in the UND College of Arts and Science English department. He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature at Indiana University and taught at the American University in Cairo from 1974 to 1978. His first book, Hedayat's Blind Owl as a Western Novel, was a study of modernism in Iran, and since then his research has concentrated on Persian and Arabic literatures. He is a coeditor of the journal Middle Eastern Literatures. He is coeditor with Adnan Haydar of the Syracuse University Press series Middle East Literature in Translation.
Haydar is head of the Arabic section in the department of Foreign Languages and professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the University of Arkansas, where he also directed the King Fahd Middle East Studies Program from 1993 to 1999.
The MLA, the largest and one of the oldest of American learned societies in the humanities (est. 1883), exists to advance literary and linguistic studies. The MLA is a constituent of the American Council of Learned Societies and the International Federation for Modern Languages and Literatures.
-- Juan Pedraza, Writer/Editor, University Relations, email@example.com, 777-6571