About us

What we do

The Poetry Translation Centre was established by the poet Sarah Maguire in 2004 to translate contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America to a high literary standard.

Poetry thrives on translation: it’s impossible to imagine English poetry without it. From Chaucer, via Wyatt, Dryden and Pope, to Ezra Pound’s Cathay, translation has been its life-blood.

But English poetry has yet to engage with the rich poetic traditions of the many languages now spoken in the UK; for Islamic communities in particular, poetry is a particularly significant art form. Our work aims to redress that deficiency.

By making their poetry at home in English, we aim to celebrate the cultures of communities that are frequently neglected and abused in the UK, inviting them to play a vital role in British cultural life.

What we don't do

We only translate living poets from Africa, Asia or Latin America (though of course, they may now have moved elsewhere). All the poets we translate have already established a significant reputation in their own literary tradition. We never translate poems sent to us by the poet themselves, or by their family, friends and colleagues: no real poet ever asks to be translated.

If you know of a contemporary poet you’d like to translate with us, then please write to us via the contact us page. If we agree that their poetry sounds promising, then you’ll be asked to take part in of our poetry workshops.

Publishing contemporary poetry, let alone poetry in translation, is a very difficult business in the UK. We’re sorry but we don’t have any direct links with British publishers and we are unable to give you advice on getting poems translated and published, in books or in journals.

We’re a small organisation and therefore must strictly limit our time and resources to pursuing our own work.

The Poetry Translation Centre is grateful to the following organisations for their support:

  • Fondation Jan Michalski
  • Arts Council UK

The Poetry Translation Centre Ltd is a registered charity (no.1123056) and company limited by guarantee (no. 06313466). Registered in England. Registered Office: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA.