Skip to main content
Outdated Browser

For the best experience using our website, we recommend upgrading your browser to a newer version or switching to a supported browser.

More Information

Winning Selections from the 2020 Poems in Translation Contest

September 2020

Clockwise from top left: Nguyễn-Hoàng Quyên, Julio Pazos Barrera, Yau Ching, Bryan Mendoza, Chenxin Jiang, and Enrique S. Villasis.

This year, we partnered with the Academy of American Poets to bring you the second edition of the Poems-in-Translation Contest. We received 935 poems from 448 poets from 87 countries translated from 58 languages. The four winning poems will be published in Words Without Borders and the Academy of American Poets’s “Poem-a-Day” throughout September and into October. Published alongside the poems will be the original-language texts and recordings of both the original poems and their English-language translations. Check back throughout the month for interviews with the winners, and don’t miss a virtual celebration with readings from the winners on October 7 at 8 p.m. ET.

A Note from Contest Judge David Tomas Martinez
It was an Hunahpúan effort to choose only four poems from this extraordinarily strong pool of poems.
Learning Late Letters
By Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên
The dead don’t let us go, I say to my friend Sirius, putting my father’s letters in a drawer.
Translated from Vietnamese by the author
Pegasus Autopsy
By Julio Pazos Barrera
Soon the volunteers will arrive
Translated from Spanish by Bryan Mendoza
Trial Run
By Yau Ching
nothing is certain but and taxes
Translated from Chinese by Chenxin Jiang
Birds in Flight, 1965
By Enrique Villasis
Not as a multitude, but as one.
Translated from Filipino by Bernard Capinpin