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KazUIR& WL Kenneth Koch Poetry Translation Prize

Dear students!!!

We would like to invite you to participate in a poetry translation contest, which is open to all full-time students of Kazakh Ablai Khan University of International Relations and World Languages.
Made possible by an anonymous donation, this annual poetry translation contest is named in honor of former member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and long time Professor of English at Columbia University, Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), a renowned poet, translator, and educator of poetry.

The goal of the prize is to help stimulate interest and activity in translation, in particular the translation of poetry from English to Kazakh and Kazakh to English. Through participation in the contest, students and faculty at KazUIR & WL may continue to develop a broad range of translation skills.

Any and all students enrolled full-time at KazUIR & WL, undergraduate or graduate, irrespective of nationality, citizenship, or major field of study are eligible to enter the contest. All full-time students at KazUIR & WL are encouraged to enter.

Preference in judging will be given to poems that have not yet been translated from one language to the other. Students are encouraged to work with poems written/published fairly recently (within the past 100 years), though poems from all periods are eligible. Preference will also be given to translations of poems that reflect the aesthetic, poetic principles of Kenneth Koch—namely, the positive inspiration of the language of poetry in bringing light, illumination, humor (though not necessarily comedic) and pleasure to the world. <br/ >Two prizes shall be awarded each year: one for the best translation of a poem from English to Kazakh, and one for the best translation of a poem from Kazakh to English. Students may submit poems for both prizes (in addition to the translation, the text of the original, with the author’s name, date and publication/bibliographic information must also be submitted). Each student should submit a maximum of three translated poems for each prize. The length of the poem is open.

Three judges shall serve as referees in order to determine the winners and Honorable Mentions. These referees will include two judges appointed from the faculty of KazUIR & WL and one judge who is a native-speaker of English from a university outside Kazakhstan (or non-university affiliated actively publishing practitioner of the translation of poetry). Kenneth Koch’s former student, Professor Loren Goodman of Yonsei University/Underwood International College in South Korea, will serve as the first foreign judge. All three judges shall work together to determine the winners and Honorable Mentions. Finally, the judges shall determine two winners (one for each prize) and up to ten Honorable Mentions, five for each prize.

Please note:

  • The deadline for submitting translations is June 15, 2016.
  • Translations found to be plagiarized, including copying and pasting content from any websites, will be disqualified.

Translations must be emailed to 1) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 2) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prizes and Prize Money
Winners of the two prizes shall each receive a certificate and share the prize money (which may fluctuate annually according to the interest on the endowment) equally each year. If the same student is judged to have won both prizes, that student shall receive the full amount of the prize money. Students selected for Honorable Mention will receive a certificate, but no prize money.

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