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Clare Cavanagh

Frances Hooper Professor in the Arts and Humanities; Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literary Studies; Affiliate, Gender Studies, Poetry and Poetics

  • (847) 467-2360
  • 1880 Campus Dr., Kresge Hall, Suite 3305 (Office 3222), Evanston, IL 60208
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00pm–3:00pm

Clare Cavanagh works on nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian, Polish, and Anglo-American poetry.  Her book, Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West (Yale UP) received the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; was named an Outstanding Academic Book of the Year by Choice Magazine; and received the ASEEES/Orbis Book Prize for Polish Studies (2010).  She is an Associate Editor of the revised Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics (2012).  She is currently working on an authorized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz (under contract, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux).

She is an acclaimed translator of contemporary Polish poetry.   She received an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature in 2018 for her “bedazzling versions of the playful, weighty, metaphysical poets writing in the last half-century.”  Her version of Adam Zagajewski’s Asymmetry (2018) received the Harold Langdon Prize for Translation from the Academy of American Poets, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in PoetryThe New York Times Book Review noted in a review of Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska’s Map: Collected and Final Poems (2015): “If there were a Nobel-like prize for translators, Szymborska’s translators Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavan­agh would have been awarded it at once.”

Current translation projects include:  translator and editor,  Wisława Szymborska’s Advice to Authors (or How to Start Writing and When to Stop (New Directions); Adam Zagajewski, Real Life (Farrar, Straus, Giroux); editor and translator, Adam Zagajewski, Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus, Giroux); editor and translator, Anna Kamieńska, A Nest of Silence: Notebooks (Yale UP); co-translator, with Alissa Valles and Michał Rusinek, Miron Białoszewski, Oho: Selected Poetry and Prose (New York Review of Books Classics).

Cavanagh's honors include: election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature; the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; the Harold Langdon Award for Translation, Academy of American Poetry; the William Riley Parker Prize of the Modern Language Association; the ZAIKS (Polish Writers’ Union) Prize for contributions to Polish literature in translation; the AATSEEL Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book in Slavic Literatures; the Ilchester Lecture in Slavonic Literatures, Oxford University; the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation; a citation from the Swedish Academy for her translations, with Stanisław Barańczak, of Szymborska; the Katharine Washburne Memorial Lecture in Translation; the PEN/Book-of-the Month Club Prize for Outstanding Literary Translation; and the AATSEEL Award for Outstanding Translation from a Slavic Language.

She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and The Whiting Foundation.  Cavanagh's essays and translations have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, The New RepublicThe New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Bookforum, Partisan Review, Common Knowledge, PoetryLiterary Imagination and other periodicals.  Her work has been translated into Russian, Polish, Hungarian, French, Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese.