Lent is here and Structo is holding its fourth Lenten psalms translation contest. We’re looking for free translations from the biblical psalms.

Lent. Translations. Biblical. Psalms. These words might bring up some questions.

What’s Lent got to do with poetry in translation?

Nothing and lots. Lent is a traditionally time set aside for reflection. We think poetry is a great way to reflect. Delving into the psalms is one way to reflect on the self and on the world.

Do I have to be religious?

No. And half of the team running this aren’t. But we view this as a chance to interact with, and create poetry in conjunction with, some great ancient texts. We’ve had a variety of submissions over the years from people with creeds from Catholic to agnostic, atheist to Hmong traditionalist, and all sorts in-between.

What if I don’t know Hebrew?

Free translation means what you want it to mean. None of the past winners have had an ancient languages background. Instead, they riffed off the original, turned it on its head, reversed it, used key phrases, sussed out a single idea, or wrote in a psalm mode and mood.

Examples?

You can read last year’s winning psalm winning psalm ‘Kestrels’ by Cristina Baptista and psalms by Christine Darragh and Abigail Carroll online in Issue 16.

How do I enter?

Head over here. Submissions are open until Easter Sunday (that’s Sunday 16th of April, at midnight UK time). All entries will be considered for publication in the magazine. The winning psalmist will receive $150 and a two-year subscription to Structo. Entries will be judged by panel on originality, musicality, accuracy (to the psalm’s spirit), and aesthetic.