From The Times Literary Supplement, January 31st 2011
Susan Wicks wins this year's Scott Moncrieff Prize for her versions of Valérie Rouzeau 's poems, Cold Spring in Winter (129pp. Arc. Paperback, £9.99. 978 1 904614 30 2), published in 1999 as Pas Revoir.
On first encountering this sequence of poems about her late father, Wicks was particularly struck by Rouzeau's use of language: "contemporary, slangy, playful, childlike, sometimes provocativebut - ... also patently not gratuitous. It seemed to have a deep psychological justification ... But the texts were, from a translator's point of view, visibly difficult". The challenges are evident from the opening lines - "Toi mourant man au téléphone per- / noctera pas voir papa" - which Wicks renders "You dying on the phone my mum he will / not last the night see dad".
According to Stephen Romer's Introduction, "poet and translator have worked together phrase by phrase", so adjustments such as "by the why dopen doors" for "près des portes béates" will presumably have been sanctioned by Rouzeau.
As Patrick McGuinness wrote in his review (TLS, May 28, 2010), this is "a book of rare cumulative power".