Monday 18th Nov 2019

Poetry Translation Competition




CH’s cosmopolitan students have once again taken the honours in the national competition for poetry translation, the Stephen Spender Prize. A remarkable three pupils had their work rewarded in this prestigious contest, which is backed by The Guardian newspaper.

Grecian (Year 13) Lulu, who hopes to study Japanese at university next year and has been teaching herself the language, took second prize in the under 18 competition with her version of an avant-garde poem by Sagawa Chika. She had taken the unusual step of rendering a modernist text as a haiku sequence.

Meanwhile, in the junior section for 14s and under, two students were highly commended. Hannah’s (LE, Year 9) entry was a moving poem called ‘Incomplete Victories’, by S. Varalakshmi, which she had translated from Tamil; while Jasper (UF, Year 10) translated one of his Dutch grandfather’s favourite poems, ‘Trees’ by Toon Hermans.

On a more parochial note, Lulu and Hannah continue a great tradition of translation in Leigh Hunt B house! Current and past pupils Bee, Katherine, Warsan and Alex have all had success in the competition in recent years, translating from Swedish, Russian, Swahili and Modern Greek.

The winning pupils will be awarded their prizes and read their work at a ceremony in London on 26 November. The CH Poetry In Translation project 2020 will kick off in December.

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