Peter Filkins

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Peter Filkins is an American poet and literary translator. Filkins graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor of Arts and from Columbia University with a Master of Fine Arts degree. His poetry collections include The View We’re Granted, co-winner of the 2013 Sheila Motton Best Book Award from the New England Poetry Club, and Augustine’s Vision, winner of the 2009 New American Press Chapbook Award. His poems, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in numerous journals, including The New Republic, Partisan Review, The New Criterion, Poetry, The Yale Review, the New York Times Book Review, and the Los Angeles Times. He is a recipient of a 2005 Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, a 2015-2016 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a 2014 Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Austria. In 2012 he was writer-in-residence at the James Merrill House, and he has held residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

Filkins has also translated several books of postwar German literature into English. His translation of Ingeborg Bachmann’s collected poems, Songs in Flight, received an Outstanding Translation Award in 1995 from the American Literary Translators Association and was reissued in an expanded second edition titled Darkness Spoken, which received a Distinguished Translation Award from the Austrian Ministry for Education, Art, and Culture in 2007. Filkins was the first to translate H. G. Adler's novels into English.[1][2] Adler, a Jewish Czech intellectual, survived several Nazi concentration camps and wrote both novels and non-fiction about the Holocaust. The Journey, Panorama, and The Wall, the three novels Filkins translated, were written soon after the war – The Journey in 1950–1951, Panorama in 1948, and The Wall in 1956, but publishers disliked Adler's literary take on the Holocaust and they were not published until the 1962, 1968, and 1988, respectively, and then largely ignored during Adler's lifetime.[3] Writing in The New Yorker, Ruth Franklin described Adler's books as "modernist masterpieces worthy of comparison to those of Kafka or Musil".[3] Before Filkins' project, only one of Adler's books, a work of history, had been translated into English, a situation that one scholar of German literature described as “one of the great intellectual scandals of our time.”[4] Filkins' translation of Panorama was listed as one of the best books of 2011 by The New Republic's editorial staff.[5] and The Wall was named a Best Book of the Year for 2014 by Publishers Weekly. His biography H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds was published by Oxford University Press in March 2019.

Filkins has taught literature and writing at Bard College at Simon's Rock[6] since 1988 and translation at the main campus of Bard College since 2006.



  • Filkins, Peter (1998). What She Knew. Orchises Press. ISBN 978-0-914061-66-3.
  • Filkins, Peter (2002). After Homer. George Braziller. ISBN 978-0807615058.
  • Filkins, Peter (2010). Augustine's Vision. New American Press. ISBN 978-0-9817802-9-0.
  • Filkins, Peter (2012). The View We're Granted. Johns Hopkins. ISBN 978-1421406329.

Literary translations


  • Filkins, Peter (2019). H.G. Adler: A Life in Many Worlds. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-022238-3.


  1. ^ "FACULTY MEMBER PETER FILKINS FIRST TO TRANSLATE AN H.G. ADLER NOVEL TO ENGLISH". Bard College at Simon's Rock. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  2. ^ Lourie, Richard (9 January 2009). "Displaced Minds". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  3. ^ a b Franklin, Ruth (31 January 2011). "The Long View". The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  4. ^ Shulevitz, Judith (28 January 2011). "A Vanished World". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  5. ^ "TNR Editors' Picks: Best Books of 2011". The New Republic. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Peter Filkins". Bard College at Simon's Rock. Retrieved 7 February 2012.