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World in Verse: An Evening of International Poetry

Join Words Without Borders and the Academy of American Poets for an evening of international poetry, selected by Arthur Sze
A collage of the writers featured at this event: Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles, Kristine Ong Muslim,...

Words Without Borders invites you to a virtual multilingual reading and celebration of international poetry in translation, in partnership with the Academy of American Poets. Featuring Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles, Kristine Ong Muslim, Iryna Shuvalova, Uilleam Blacker, Xavier Valcárcel, Roque Raquel Salas Rivera, and more, introduced by Arthur Sze (winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry). Sze selected the poems featured at the reading as part of a special initiative between Words Without Borders and’s Poem-a-Day series for National Translation Month. We look forward to convening virtually with you and these fantastic translators and poets based around the world.


Tech and accessibility information

This event will be hosted on Zoom, which is available for download here. You’ll receive the link to the Zoom meeting the day of the event via email. Your display name should match the name you use to register for the event. You can change your Zoom display name by following these instructions.

In-app closed captioning and a full transcript will be available for this event. While in the meeting, you can toggle this on and off by clicking the “Live Transcription/CC” button at the bottom of your screen. You will not be able to turn on your own audio and video for this Zoom event. ASL interpretation is available upon request. Please email Anna at before Wednesday, September 20.

About the host

Arthur Sze has published eleven books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021), and Sight Lines, which received the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. A new collection, The Silk Dragon II: Translations of Chinese Poetry, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon in the spring of 2024.. Sze is the recipient of many honors, including a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Shelley Memorial Award, and the Jackson Poetry Prize. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

About the readers

Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles teaches literature and creative writing at De La Salle University in Manila. His interests encompass contemporary art, conceptual writing, film and video, installation, found objects, and text-based experimentation. English translations by Kristine Ong Muslim of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous publications, including Asymptote, Words Without Borders, Copper Nickel, and Poetry London. In 2018, he collaborated with various writer-musicians to produce Namamatay ang mga Nagmamahal, a seventeen-track CD album of his poems set to music; he also exhibited his first solo show, “Antares,” at Nomina Nuda in Los Baños, Laguna. The recipient of several national awards and writing fellowships, Arguelles has written more than twenty books, including most recently Ang Aming Lungkot ay Amin (Librong Lira, 2023).

Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), and several other books of fiction and poetry. She co-edited numerous anthologies of fiction, including Destination: SEA 2050 A.D. (Penguin Random House SEA, 2022), Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines (Gaudy Boy, 2021), and the British Fantasy Award-winning People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! (2016). Her translation of Amado Anthony G. Mendoza III’s novel, Book of the Damned, won a 2023 PEN/Heim grant. She is also the translator of nine books by Filipino authors Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles, Rogelio Braga, and Marlon Hacla. Widely anthologized, Muslim’s short stories have been published in Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, and World Literature Today and translated into Bulgarian, Czech, German, Japanese, Polish, and Serbian. She lives in a small farmhouse in Sitio Magutay, a remote rural highland area in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao.

Iryna Shuvalova is a poet and scholar from Kyiv, Ukraine, based in Nanjing, China. She is the author of five award-winning books of poetry, including Pray to the Empty Wells, available in English (Lost Horse Press, 2019). Her fifth and most recent book of poetry, Stoneorchardwoods (2020), has been named book of the year by Ukraine’s LitAktsent Prize for Literature and received the Special Prize of the Lviv UNESCO City of Literature Book Award. In 2009, she co-edited 120 Pages of “Sodom,” the first anthology of queer writing in Ukraine. Her poetry has been translated into twenty-five languages and published internationally, including in Ambit, Modern Poetry in Translation, The White Review, The Wolf, Literary Hub, and others. Her forthcoming academic monograph “Donbas Is My Sparta”: Identity and Belonging in the Songs of the Russo-Ukrainian War explores the impact of the war on Ukrainian society. She holds a PhD in Slavonic Studies from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge scholar, and an MA in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, where she was a Fulbright scholar.

Uilleam Blacker is a lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He has published widely on Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian literature and has translated the work of several contemporary Ukrainian writers.

Xavier Valcárcel (Loíza, 1985) is a Puerto Rican writer, visual artist, and cultural activist. He is a proud Puerto Rico poet, not a US American poet, and Puerto Rico’s colonial status inflects and informs his work. Along with Puerto Rican poet and translator Nicole Delgado, he founded Atarraya Cartonera (San Juan, 2009), the first Cartonera project in the Caribbean. He has published seven books of poetry: Cama onda (2007), Anzuelos y carnadas (2009), Palo de lluvia (2010), Restos de lumbre y despedida (2012), El deber del pan (2013), Fe de calendario (2016), and Helio (2022); as well as the chronicle Aterrizar no es regreso (2019). His work has been included in a variety of anthologies and translated into English, German, and Portuguese. He is a recipient of the Letras Boricuas Fellowship, granted by The Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyán Foundation’s Art Fund.

Roque Raquel Salas Rivera (Mayagüez, 1985) is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and editor. His honors include being named Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, the New Voices Award from the Festival de la Palabra, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, the inaugural Ambroggio Prize, the Laureate Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to translate the poetry of his grandfather, Sotero Rivera Avilés. He is the author of six full-length poetry books, which have been longlisted and shortlisted for the National Book Award, the PEN America Open Book Award, and the CLMP Firecracker Award. He works as investigator and head of the translation team for El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/The Puerto Rican Literature Project (PRLP), a free, bilingual, user-friendly and open access digital portal that anyone can use to learn about and teach Puerto Rican poetry.

This is a free event. Your optional donation will help Words Without Borders keep its digital magazine, events, and education program free to readers around the world.