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NEA grant to fund translation of Japanese poet's memoirs

Sept. 15, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Western Michigan University's Dr. Jeffrey Angles a $20,000 grant to translate the memoirs of one of the most prominent poets in Japan.

This is the second grant for Angles, assistant professor of foreign languages and director of WMU's Japanese language program, to translate "Twelve Perspectives," the 1970 memoir of Mutsuo Takahashi. Last spring, Angles received a $3,500 award for the project from human rights and literacy organization PEN American Center. Originally published in Japanese, the work tells of the poet's youth and coming of age against the backdrop of the rise of the Japanese empire and World War II.

Angles was one of just seven recipients of the NEA's highly coveted $20,000 grants, out of a total of 13 NEA grants awarded this year. Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is an independent agency of the federal government and the nation's largest annual funder of the arts.

"Translation is one of the most time-consuming forms of writing in which a scholar can engage but, sadly, most publishers, literary institutions and academic institutions give relatively little credit or financial incentive to take on translation projects," Angles says.

"The NEA has been working hard for years to raise the status of translation by giving generous grants for translators working on important projects," he adds. "It is thanks to the NEA that we now have many of the great books of the world available for the first time in English."

For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Angles at jeffrey.angles@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3044.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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