Nikolai B. Popov

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Nikolai Boris Popov (Bulgarian: Николай Борис Попов) (born 1952) is a Bulgarian translator.


He graduated from University of Washington, with a Ph.D., in 1994. In 2001, he participated at a conference at University of Iowa International Writing Program.[1] He teaches English and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington.[2] A James Joyce scholar and translator, he co-translated with Heather McHugh a collection of the poems of Blaga Dimitrova,[3] and Paul Celan. On May 13, 2012, he fell into a crevasse while skiing near Whistler but was unscathed.[4]

He is married to poet Heather McHugh.[5]



  • Paul Celan (February 25, 2004). Glottal Stop: 101 Poems by Paul Celan. Translated by Nikolai Popov; Heather McHugh. Wesleyan Poetry. ISBN 978-0-8195-6720-8. 


In Glottal Stop, however, in the words of the Griffin Poetry Prize Citation, “Heather McHugh and Nikolai Popov have achieved the seemingly impossible: more than translating Celan into English, they have found a way to translate English into Celan.” The solutions that Popov-McHugh find to the problems set by Celan are “dazzlingly creative” (J.M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books). They have “the bold music and expressionistic syntax that Celan’s unique voice demands. The compounds and stretches and sound-tangles bring a startling poetic life to English” (Robert Pinksy).[6]


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