French poet Bonnefoy wins Franz Kafka Prize

French poet and essayist Yves Bonnefoy, 84, was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize on Tuesday in Prague.

French poet and essayist Yves Bonnefoy, 84, was awarded the Franz Kafka Prize on Tuesday in Prague.

The award of $10,000 US and a small reproduction of Prague's Franz Kafka monument has been awarded annually since 2001 to international authors who produce "works of exceptional artistic qualities."

Bonnefoy is one of the most influential French poets of the second half of the 20th century forworks that use simple imagery to express complex spiritual ideas.

Some of his major poetry collections, including On the Motion and Immobility of Douve, Words in Stone and The Curved Planks, have been translated into Czech.

A student of mathematics and philosophy, Bonnefoy's writing isinfluenced by both disciplines.

He was also influenced by thepost-Second World War French surrealists, although he laterbroke away from the movement,and in 1967, hehelped found L'éphemère, a journal of art and literature.

He has also written his "spiritual autobiography," Arrière-pays, and produced several works of art history, including studies of Miró and Giacometti.

He has taught literature at universities in Paris and Nice and at Princeton, Yale, Johns Hopkins and New Haven universities in the U.S.

He is also a pre-eminent French translator of Shakespeare.

Bonnefoy was chosen for theKafka Prizeby an international jury that included German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki and British publisher John Calder.

Past winners include Philip Roth, Nobelists Elfriede Jelinek and Harold Pinter and Haruki Murakami.

With files from the Associated Press