NZ poet honoured in Spain
New Zealand poet Charles Olsen receives the XIII Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS (‘Poets From Other Worlds’) awarded by the Fondo Poético Internacional (‘International Poetry Fund’) in recognition of the high quality of his poetic oeuvre.
—Listen to an interview with Charles on Upbeat RNZ Kiwi poet receives international award (10 July 2017)
Son of an Anglican priest and an opera singer, Charles Olsen moved to England in 1981 and to Spain in 2003. He travelled to Spain because of his interest in the Spanish painters Velasquez and Goya, and to study flamenco guitar. He has published the poetry collections Sr. Citizen (Amargord, 2011), which includes a foreword by New Zealand poet Pat White, and Antípodas (Huerga & Fierro, 2016). His poems have been included in anthologies in Spain and Colombia as well as Blackmail Press (editions 28 and 39) and the latest NZ Poetry Yearbook 2017 (Massey University Press). Although he didn't speak Spanish before moving to Spain now writes many of his poems in Spanish and has also translated many Spanish and New Zealand poets.
He has also taken his poetic vision into different areas such as the performance Agita Flamenco which premiered in the New Zealand pavilion of the Venice Biennale – a show including flamenco dance and piano – and his poetry films, which have been shown in festivals such as Liberated Words (Bristol), Sinestèsia (Barcelona), and ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival (Berlín). He collaborated with video-creations in the show Parpadeos, presented this year in the Netherlands Flamenco Biënnale.
For the last six years he has run the online poetry project Palabras Prestadas (Given Words) with the participation of poets from throughout the Spanish-speaking world and this year he is running a special edition of Given Words in English for the Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day which is open to all New Zealanders.
His partner, Colombian poet Lilián Pallares, with whom he runs the audiovisual producer antenablue – the observed word, has been awarded at the same time the XIV Distinction POETAS DE OTROS MUNDOS. In 2011 she was selected as one of the ten best young writers of Latin America by About.com, New York. Charles recently translated her book of short stories 'Sleepwalking City' into English.
The awards will be presented by the Aragonese poet, Ángel Guinda, president of the Fondo Poético Internacional, on Sunday 9th July of the current year, in Madrid, Nakama Bookshop (Calle Pelayo 22), at 12:30 midday.
The previous distinctions have been awarded to the poets Theodoro Elssaca (Chile), Subhro Bandopadyay (India), Zhivka Baltadzhieva (Bulgaria), Mohsen Emadi (Iran), Ahmad Yamani (Egypt), Inés Ramón (Argentina), Rubén Grajeda Fuentes, ‘Leo Zelada’ (Peru), Nicanor Parra (Chile), Abdul Hadi Sadoun (Iraq), Mohamed Alfaqueeh (Libia), Soleh Wolpé (Iran) and Luljeta Lleshanaku (Albania).