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Words Without Borders Announces 2021 Poems in Translation Contest

Airea D. Matthews to Judge

Winning Poems to Be Published in Poem-a-Day and WWB

Were pleased to announce the 2021 WWB Poems in Translation Contest spotlighting groundbreaking work by poets and translators around the world.

The contest is open to submissions of contemporary international poetry translated from other languages into English. Four winning poems will be co-published in Words Without Borders and Poem-a-Day, the popular daily poetry series produced by the Academy of American Poets, throughout September, which is National Translation Month. The winning poems will be selected by Airea D. Matthews, along with the editors of Words Without Borders.

Were thrilled to host for a third year a contest that celebrates the power of poetry and translation not only to transcend borders, times, and places but to honor the strength to be found in difference,” said Words Without Borders Editor Eric M. B. Becker. In partnering with the Academy's Poem-a-Day we are expanding the readership for groundbreaking poetry from around the world.”

“We’re excited to partner again with Word Without Borders. The Poems in Translation Contest has become a striking cross-cultural moment for our Poem-a-Day series, highlighting the kind of understanding and exchange we know poetry, and language, can provide," said Academy of American Poets Digital Engagement & Content Director Jeffery Gleaves.

The winning poets and translators will be awarded $150 each. (In the event of co-translations, translators will split the $150 award.) 

Submissions will be accepted from February 18, 2021, through 11:59 pm ET April 30, 2021. For contest guidelines and to submit, please visit:

Now in its third year, the Poems in Translation Contest has brought together poets and translators from Argentina, Chile, China, Ecuador, Galicia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam. The 2020 contest’s winning poems by Nguyễn-Hoàng Quyên; Julio Pazos Barrera and Bryan Mendoza; Yau Ching and Chenxin Jiang; and Enrique Villasis and Bernard Capinpin can be read here: The 2019 contest’s winning poems by Dorothy Tse and Natascha Bruce; Claudia Masin and Robin Myers; Lee Young-ju and Jae Kim; and Alba Cid and Jacob Rogers can be read here:



Airea D. Matthews is the author of Simulacra, winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets and a 2020 Pew Fellow. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Best American PoetsHarvard Review, American Poet, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, and elsewhere. A past recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, she is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College. Matthews is at work on her second collection, mundane gods. (Photo credit: Wes Matthews)



Winner of a 2018 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize, Words Without Borders is the premier destination for a global literary conversation. 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 todays international writers. To date, its free digital magazine has published more than 2,600 pieces of writing from 140 countries, translated from 126 languages. Our contributors include literary heavyweights like Elena Ferrante, Han Kang, Olga Tokarczuk, Roberto Bolaño, and Jokha Alharthi, as well as a host of emerging voices from around the world. WWBs online education program, WWB Campus, brings this eye-opening international literature into the classroom. Translated poetry published by WWB is regularly featured on  



The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The Academy also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; founded and 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 the country’s culture. 

Published Feb 18, 2021   Copyright 2021

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