WLT Student Translation Prize – Poetry

July 7, 2020
translated by Russell Karrick
A photograph of cranes flying
Photo by Richard Lee / Unsplash

[A flock of cranes]

A flock of cranes

crosses an ashen sky

            the prophet is first to rise

black lines
cleave through the black air

            a closed alphabet

dead trees


their roots raise cathedrals

my hands translate
the songs of a single stone

I was born
not to lose
the movement of their scripture

their priests are a fleeting mist

            they light the flame

take wing

            & vanish.

Translation from the Spanish

Lucía Estrada is a Colombian poet and the author of seven collections of poetry. She has won numerous local and national awards, including the National Poetry Prize for her most recent collection, Katábasis. Her work has appeared in a variety of national and international publications and has been translated into English, French, Japanese, Greek, Swedish, Portuguese, Italian, and German. Eulalia Books will be publishing a bilingual edition of Katábasis later this year.

Russell Karrick is a poet/translator living between New York and Colombia. He was the winner of the Summer/Fall 2020 Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts from Lunch Ticket. His poetry has appeared in Magma Poetry, Blue Earth Review, Jet Fuel Review, and 300 Days of Sun, among others. He is currently finishing his MFA in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.