A citizen of the United States, France and Spain, Hélène Cardona is fluent in English, French, Spanish, German, Greek and Italian. Born in Paris of a Greek mother and Spanish father and raised all over Europe, she studied English Philology and Literature in Cambridge, England; Spanish at the International Universities of Santander and Baeza, Spain; and German at the Goethe Institute in Bremen, Germany. She attended Hamilton College, New York, where she also taught French and Spanish, and the Sorbonne, Paris, where she wrote her thesis on Henry James for her master’s in American Literature. She worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy in Paris.
A poet, literary translator, actor, and dream analyst, Hélène is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Hemingway Grant and the USA Best Book Award. Her books include three bilingual poetry collections: Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry, 2016); Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry, 2013); The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press, 2006); and the translations Beyond Elsewhere (by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, White Pine Press, 2016), Ce que nous portons (by Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne, 2014), and Birnam Wood by her father José Manuel Cardona, forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2018. With Yves Lambrecht, she co-translated Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb. A Romanian translation of Dreaming My Animal Selves was published by Junimea Editions in 2016. Hélène’s work has been translated into 15 languages.
She translated work by Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Aloysius Bertrand, Maram Al-Masri, Christiane Singer, Eric Sarner, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, Jean-Claude Renard, Jacques Crickillon, and Nicolas Grenier into English, and the Lawrence Bridges’ film Muse of Fire into French for the NEA. Hélène also writes children stories and co-wrote with John FitzGerald the screenplay Primate, based on his novel.
Publications include Washington Square Review, World Literature Today, Poetry International, The Irish Literary Times, The Warwick Review, The Brooklyn Rail’s InTranslation, Dublin Review of Books, Asymptote, Drunken Boat, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Los Angeles Review and elsewhere.
Editorial Hélène has served as a judge for the 2017 Jacar Press Full Length Competition, the 2016 PEN Center USA Translation Award, the 2015 Writer’s Digest Challenge, and the 2014 Rabindranath Tagore Award. She also volunteered as a mentor in AWP’s Writer-to-Writer program.
Conference presentations include 12 panels with AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), presentations at Brown University, the 2014 Puterbaugh International Literary Festival at Oklahoma State University, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Poets House, Tabula Poetica at Chapman University, the University of Rochester, the New York Browning Society, the Thesophical Society, and the University of California at Irvine, among many.
Awards A Hemingway Grant, Fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, the 2017 International Book Award in Poetry, the 2017 USA Best Book Award in Poetry, the 2015 USA Best Book Award in Poetry, 2 Pinnacle Book Awards for the Best Bilingual Poetry Book, and 2 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards in Poetry.
Hélène co-edits Plume and Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, contributes essays to The London Magazine, and is English Language Cultural Editor of Levure Littéraire.
Hélène played Fuffi in Lasse Hallström’s Chocolat, Candy in Lawrence Kasdan’s Mumford, Mrs. Russell in Stealing Roses, Natasha Loizeau in Interview, the French Food Critic in The Hundred-Foot Journey, a BBC Reporter in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and World War Z, and the French Announcer in Jurassic World.
She is the Computer Voice in the TV series Heroes Reborn and her many voice characters include Happy Feet 2 and Muppets Most Wanted. For Serendipity, she co-wrote with Peter Chelsom & Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang.
She graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and also trained with Ellen Burstyn and Sandra Seacat at The Actors’ Studio.
Her eight producing credits include the award-winning documentary Femme and Pablo Neruda: The People’s Poet. She also works as a translator and language coach for the film & music industry.
Hélène has lived in Paris, France; Geneva, Switzerland; Cambridge and London, England; Llandudno, Wales; Monte-Carlo, Monaco; Bremen, Germany; Madrid, Tarragona and Santander, Spain; New York City, and Santa Monica, and has also worked in Morocco, Lithuania, and Italy.
She is a yoga practitioner, dancer, equestrian, and animal lover.
Member of BAFTA/LA, SAG-AFTRA, PEN American, PEN Center USA, ALTA, Poetry Society of America, American Academy of Poets, AWP.
We all know how to return home. No matter how long it’s been, we find our way.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence becomes an act of rebellion. —Albert Camus