New York, NY (August 28, 2019)— The Academy of American Poets and Words Without Borders are pleased to announce the following winners of the first-ever Poems in Translation Contest, whose four winning translated poems were selected by the editors of Words Without Borders and contest judge Mónica de la Torre from more than 700 poems translated from 55 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 every Saturday throughout September, which is National Translation Month. 

The Poems in Translation Contest was launched by Words Without Borders, the digital magazine for international literature and a content partner of 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 four winners are: 

“An Apocryphal History of the Discovery of Migration" by Alba Cid, translated from Galician by Jacob Rogers

"Alba Cid’s poem is two or three poems, given its nesting structure, reminiscent of Borges. Fragments of a misremembered letter speak of storks so resilient that they bore 'both weapon and wound' as proof of their long-distance migration—they almost seem fictional. Like the Pfeilstorch, the letter in the poem travels a vast physical distance, as is Jacob Rogers’ luminous translation from the Galician. I read it as a poignant meditation on exile and translation, where 'pain and lightness are distributed in equal parts.'” —Mónica de la Torre

"Tomboy" by Claudia Masin, translated from Spanish by Robin Myers

"I’m drawn to the way in which Claudia Masin questions our acceptance of our bodies’ limitations. The body is 'what can never be touched' and a 'lattice / of little filaments.' The speaker imagines bodies defying the forms they were given, and that seems perfectly apt for what translation manages to do. While in transmission, the poem’s gone past language and changed form. Robin Myers’ version of 'Tomboy' points to a beautiful conundrum." —Mónica de la Torre

"Roommate, Woman" by Lee Young-ju, translated from Korean by Jae Kim

"'Roommate, Woman' presents a darkly symbiotic relationship between the speaker and a roommate allegorized through detached and dislocated body parts. Lee Young-ju’s poem’s concision defies the larger narrative it suggests where bodies and houses are rearranged and disfigured, perhaps violently, and Jae Kim’s translation captures the poem’s grotesque yet tender overtones with remarkable precision." —Mónica de la Torre

"Cloth Birds" by Dorothy Tse, translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce

“'Cloth Birds' sustains a compelling tension between highly bureaucratized life and life forms resisting control: a hawker, happy people, branches shooting from tree stumps. Thanks to Natascha Bruce’s light-handed rendition, the poem is strange and ominous, and the narrative it tenuously sketches out stands in sharp contrast with the hard language of city officials and health inspectors." —Mónica de la Torre

To celebrate the contest winners, the Academy of American Poets and Words Without Borders will co-host “World in Verse: A Multilingual Poetry Reading” on September 17, 2019 at Word Up Community Bookshop—Librería Comunitaria in New York City. The event will feature readings by Mónica de la Torre, Jacob Rogers, and more. Free and open to the public. This is an official Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends event. For more information, visit:

Tuesday, September 17, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Word Up Community Bookshop—Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10032

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 2,500 pieces of writing from 136 countries, translated from 116 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

The Academy of American Poets is our nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with members in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other award-winning resources for K-12 educators; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards more funds to poets than any other organization. It also coordinates and supports the work of a national Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than twenty poetry organizations working to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.