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Announcing the Winners of the 2020 Poems in Translation Contest

By The Editors of Words Without Borders

In the midst of a pandemic defined by isolation, our second Poems in Translation Contest brought together 935 poems from 448 poets and 87 countries, translated from 58 languages. We are thrilled to announce, alongside our partners at the Academy of American Poets, this year’s winners, selected by Pushcart prizewinner David Tomas Martinez. The four winning poems will be published in Poem-a-Day and in Words Without Borders every Saturday this September, which is National Translation Month, and into the first week of October. In celebrating these works, we hope to expand the readership of groundbreaking international poetry and to create, in a time of global crisis, opportunities for connection and meaning across borders, languages, and cultures.

Congratulations to our winners:

“Learning Late Letters" by Nguyễn Hoàng Quyên, translated from Vietnamese by the author

Nguyễn-Hoàng Quyên, born in 1993, is a translator, writer, and curator based in Vietnam.


"Pegasus Autopsy" by Julio Pazos Barrera, translated from Spanish by Bryan Mendoza

Julio Pazos Barrera, born in Baños, Ecuador, in 1944, is a poet, literary critic, and connoisseur of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. He holds a doctorate in Spanish literature from the Catholic University of Ecuador and has worked as a professor at various universities around the world. In 2010, he was awarded the National Ecuadorian Prize in Literature by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa.

Bryan Mendoza, born in Miami, Florida, in 1998, is currently a senior at Yale University studying literature and comparative cultures. He spends most of his time as a volunteer instructor for Yale’s Splash and Sprout teaching programs and working at the Sterling Memorial Library. Bryan aims to focus on translation studies during his last year at Yale and become an educator.


"Trial Run" by Yau Ching, translated from Chinese by Chenxin Jiang

Yau Ching, born in Hong Kong, has authored more than ten books, including award-winning poetry collections and, recently, a series of collected writings on film, art and politics, including You dong di ying (Hong Kong: Culture Plus, 2017); You yu yi (Hong Kong: Culture Plus, 2015); and Wo cong wei ying xu ni yi ge mei gui yuan (Hong Kong: Culture Plus, 2014). She teaches in Hong Kong. 

Chenxin Jiang translates from Italian, German, and Chinese. Recent translations include Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story by Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta (Norton), shortlisted for the 2019 Italian Prose in Translation Award; Volatile Texts: Us Two by Zsuzsanna Gahse (Dalkey Archive); and the PEN/Heim-winning The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution by Ji Xianlin (NYRB). Last year, she was a judge for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize. Until recently, she was Senior Editor (Chinese) at Asymptote Journal.


"Birds in Flight, 1965" Enrique Villasis, translated from Filipino by Bernard Capinpin

Enrique S. Villasis is a poet and a screenwriter, born in Milagros, Masbate, Philippines. He has received numerous national literary awards for his poems. His first book of poems, Agua, was a finalist for a National Book Award. He is a member of Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo. He lives in Quezon City and currently writes television shows for ABS-CBN.  

Bernard Capinpin is a poet and translator. He is currently working on a translation of Ramon Guillermo’s Ang Makina ni Mang Turing. He resides in Quezon City.


World in Verse: A Multilingual Poetry Reading

Join us for a virtual celebration and multilingual reading of this year’s winning poems. Featuring Bryan Mendoza, Enrique Villasis, Bernard Capinpin, Chenxin Jiang, and other readers to be announced, and hosted by our contest judge, David Tomas Martinez. Register here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
8:00 PM EDT
Free with advance registration


Published Sep 9, 2020   Copyright 2020 The Editors of Words Without Borders

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