Poet, writer and translator Francisco Carrasquer Launed, winner of last year’s Brockway Prize for poetry translators, passed away on 7 August in the Spanish town of Tárrega.
Carrasquer Launed (1915-2012) made his debut in 1948 with the novel Manda el corazón. The following year he left his native country to live, study and write his thesis in France and later the Netherlands. In 1985 he returned to Spain to settle in Tárrega.
He leaves an impressive oeuvre of poetry collections, essays, books and translations. As well as greats such as Multatuli and Cees Nooteboom, he translated the work of numerous other Dutch poets into Spanish, mainly in the 1960s and 1970s, including Gerrit Achterberg, Martinus Nijhoff, Lucebert en Remco Campert. In 1960 he was awarded the Martinus Nijhoff Prize for his major anthology of Dutch poetry Antologia de poetas holandeses contemporáneos, and in 1963 he won the Belgian State Prize for literary translation. In 2006 he received the Premio de las Letras Aragonesas and in 2011 his two sons came to Rotterdam during the Poetry International Festival to accept the Brockway Prize on his behalf. The jury was impressed not just by the huge extent of his work as a poetry translator but by ‘his command of both classical and modern Spanish, his rich vocabulary, his feeling for metre and rhythm and the creativity of his translation solutions’.
With the death of Francisco Carrasquer Launed, the Spanish-language reading public has lost an important man of letters and a broad window on Dutch poetry. His poems and translations live on.