Young poets translate Isthmus Zapotec poet Irma Pineda

Two women with their arms around each other smile
Wendy Call and Irma Pineda, photo by Kathy Cowell

The Poetry Society is delighted to announce the winners of the third annual Young Poets Network poetry translation challenge, in partnership with Modern Poetry in Translation. This challenge asked young people aged 25 and younger worldwide to co-translate ‘Lu Neza VII’ by Irma Pineda, using notes and a ‘bridge’ version in English from her translator Wendy Call.

Translations were submitted by young poets aged 12-25 from 17 countries worldwide. The challenge was judged by Clare Pollard, editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, and the first-prize winning translation will be published in the journal’s next issue.

Congratulations to the winners:

1st prize: On the Road VII by Charlotte Hughes
2nd prize: Your House by SZ Shao
3rd prize: On the Dirty Road by Alor Sahoo
My Sister and I Return to the Imaginary Street of Our Ancestors, Which We Left Long Ago by Mia Nelson
miembro a miembro  by April Egan
The Wake Of by Jayant Kashyap
Poem From your Village by Priya Abularach
About the Path Numbered 7 by Gunisha Aggarwal

Read the winning poems here.

The Poetry Society also congratulates the longlisted poets in this challenge:

Issy Adams, Daniel Clark, Sonika Jaiganesh, Divya Mehrish, Filippo Rossi and Amy Wolstenholme.

Find out more about the challenge and read all the winning poems here. You can also read the first-prize winning translation by Charlotte Hughes below.

On the Road VII
by Irma Pineda, co-translated by Charlotte Hughes and Wendy Call

The buildings of my town cannot see
they are caught killed and stacked
they don’t notice the sun overhead
Has it followed me across the border?
It beats over their long hair-shingles,
dead and brittle, missing in places
I live under the flat gray roof
I am in the lit apartment, 33A

On the way to the desert the one
skeletal road is buried by sand the color of dried blood
billboards reaching up
like gravestones leading nowhere
lonely monuments
that are lit by golden arches
brushed with neon

Neon bleeds across the night sky
The sound of trucks on asphalt
is an ax sharpened before the cut
On my hall, a child calls for her mother,
looking through each peephole like a robber
or a bird trying to fly through a pane of glass.

Young Poets Network

Young Poets Network is The Poetry Society’s online platform for poets aged 25 and younger worldwide. It publishes features about poets and poetry, challenges and competitions to inspire your own writing, new writing from young poets, and advice and guidance from the rising and established stars of the poetry scene. Young Poets Network also brings you the latest news and ideas from the writing world, and a list of competitions, magazines and writing groups which particularly welcome young writers.

9 September 2021