Save the date: The Paris Review’s annual gala, the Spring Revel, will be Tuesday, April 4, 2017, at Cipriani 42nd Street. We’ll honor Richard Howard with our Hadada Award.
Howard’s writing first appeared in our Summer 1956 issue, with the poems “On Tour” and “L’invitation au voyage.” He’s the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including Untitled Subjects, which won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize. As a translator, he has introduced contemporary French writers—including Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and E. M. Cioran—to American readers. He once spoke to George Plimpton about the task of translating Proust: “In Proust, the rhythm, the phrasing, the movement of the sentence, even the grammar—it’s all so complex that it would be almost impossible to repeat anyone else’s work … Perhaps everyone should translate Proust for himself—that would be a good way of reading him, no?”
As the Review’s poetry editor from 1992 through 2005, Howard published early work by Brenda Shaughnessy, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, and many other new voices. In his 2004 Art of Poetry interview, Howard explained his enduring interest in fostering younger poets:
The pleasure of seeing new work become expert and characteristic of the new poet never fails … I suppose I have a pretty even balance of interest in the poetry of the past and the poetry coming into being. The energy necessary for both interests doesn’t have to be sustained—it sustains me.
He has also given the classics new life: his translation of Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal won a National Book Award in 1983, and more recently he’s been translating the later novels of Guy de Maupassant. Howard was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French government. His many American honors include a MacArthur “genius” grant and the Literary Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
We’re thrilled to add the Hadada to that list: it’s our lifetime-achievement award, presented annually to a distinguished member of the writing community who has made a strong and unique contribution to literature. Last year’s honoree was Lydia Davis; previous recipients include John Ashbery, Joan Didion, Paula Fox, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton (posthumously), Barney Rosset, Philip Roth, Norman Rush, James Salter, Frederick Seidel, Robert Silvers, and William Styron.
It’s only fitting that Howard should join their ranks. Please join us in April to celebrate his extraordinary career. Cross your fingers: if we’re lucky, we can get Mildred, the large stuffed gorilla who resides on Howard’s bed, to join us for the festivities.