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Words Without Borders Announces 2020 Poems in Translation Contest

David Tomas Martinez to Judge

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

We’re pleased to announce the 2020 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 Pushcart Prize-winning poet David Tomas Martinez, along with the editors of Words Without Borders.

“We’re thrilled to continue a contest that celebrates the power of poetry and translation to forge ties across borders, times, and places,” 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.”

“It’s our honor to partner with Words Without Borders once again to celebrate the importance of translation and to promote cultural understanding.” said Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets.

The winning poets and translators will be awarded $150 each. 

Submissions will be accepted from April 9, 2020, through midnight June 1, 2020. For contest guidelines and to submit, please visit:

The first Poems in Translation Contest brought together poets and translators from China, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Korea, Galicia, and the United States. The 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:



David Tomas Martinez's work has been published or is forthcoming in Poetry magazine, PloughsharesTin HouseBoston Review, Los Angeles Review of BooksOxford American, the Academy of American Poet's Poem-a-Day, Poetry Foundation's PoetryNow, and many other publications. Martinez has been featured in Poets & WritersPublishers Weekly, NPR's All Things Considered, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. Martinez holds an MFA from San Diego State University, is the former reviews and interviews editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and has been a Breadloaf and CantoMundo Fellow. His debut collection of poetry, Hustle, was released in 2014 by Sarabande Books and won the New England Book Festival's prize in poetry, the Devil's Kitchen Reading Award, and honorable mention in the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral prize. He is the 2015 winner of the Verlaine Poetry Prize from Inprint. Martinez's second collection of poetry, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, was published in 2018, also by Sarabande Books. He is a Pushcart Prize winner and NEA recipient, lives in Brooklyn, and teaches creative writing at Columbia University.


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 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. 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. WWB’s 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 our nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry. 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 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 20 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.

Published Apr 9, 2020   Copyright 2020

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