New York, NY (September 20, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets and Words Without Borders are pleased to announce the following winners of the 2021 Poems in Translation Contest, whose two winning translated poems were selected by the editors of Words Without Borders and contest judge Airea D. Matthews from more than 600 poems translated from 61 languages. The winning poets and translators will be awarded $150 each and their winning poems will be co-published in Poem-a-Day, the popular daily poetry series produced by the Academy of American Poets, and on Words Without Borders on September 25, which is during National Translation Month, and the first Saturday of October. 

The Poems in Translation Contest was launched in 2019 by Words Without Borders, the digital magazine for international literature, in partnership with the Academy of American Poets to spotlight some of the groundbreaking poets working around the world today and to celebrate the art of translating poetry. 

The two winners are:

  1. “0” by Lauri García Dueñas, translated from Spanish by Olivia Lott (to be published in Poem-a-Day on September 25) 

“Though birthed on an altogether different continent in an altogether different country, ‘0’ moves with the same lush rebellion and avant-garde flair as a poem in the twentieth-century infrarealist movement. Marked by a free, fluid, and layered aesthetic, readers leave this work with a sense of the author’s urgent integration of art and life. Though unrestrained by grammatical structure, this translation heightens craft by presenting the implicit and explicit—the personal and shared experience—as dually embedded.” —Airea D. Matthews

Lauri García Dueñas is the author of Filigranas (La Chifurnia, 2017). She lives in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Olivia Lott is the translator of Katabasis (Eulalia Books, 2020) by Lucía Estrada. She is a Marilyn Yarbrough Dissertation Fellow in Spanish at Kenyon College and lives in Gambier, Ohio.

  1. “Afroinsularity” by Conceição Lima, translated from Portuguese by David Shook (to be published in Poem-a-Day on October 2) 

“This prize-winning translation haunts. In the vein of a paracolonial text, the poem examines the specters of a racialized human commodity and its ecological aftermath. As if magic or conjure, ‘Afroinsularity’ launches with hints of ghosts and ends in a colony of haints. The reading of each deftly interpreted line thrusts the reader to beautifully confront the ways in which land holds the stories that history attempts to colonize, and how land will out the truth until the long-buried rest.” Airea D. Matthews

Conceição Lima was born in 1961 in the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, where she resides today. She studied journalism in Portugal and worked in London for the BBC. She has published four books of poetry.

David Shook makes books in Marshall, CA. Their most recent translation is Mario Bellatin's Beauty Salon (Deep Vellum, 2021).

Join the Academy of American Poets and Words Without Borders for “World in Verse: A Multilingual Poetry Reading” and virtual celebration of the winners on Monday, September 27, 2021. The event will feature readings by the winning poets and translators of this year's contest and will be hosted by contest judge Airea D. Matthews.

World in Verse: A Multilingual Poetry Reading

Monday, September 27, 2021
7 p.m. ET
Free with advance registration…

About Words Without Borders

Words Without Borders is the premier destination for a global literary conversation and winner of a 2018 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize. Founded in 2003, WWB seeks to expand cultural understanding by giving readers unparalleled access to contemporary world literature in English translation while providing a vital platform for today’s international writers. To date, its free digital magazine has published more than 2,700 pieces of writing from 140 countries, translated from 216 languages. Contributors include literary heavyweights like Elena Ferrante, Han Kang, and Roberto Bolaño, and rising stars like Prabda Yoon, Mariana Enriquez, and Jokha Alharthi. WWB’s online education program, WWB Campus, brings this eye-opening international literature into the classroom.

About the Academy of American Poets

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. The organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1.25 million to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The organization also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture.