For the last few years Structo‘s poetry editor Matthew Landrum has run a contest which asks for free translations of biblical psalms during the season of Lent.
Last year we helped to run the competition, and in the process received some top-notch submissions from authors across the world. Some were religious; some were secular. Some kept close to the source material; others made bold departures from the original. The results were striking. We ended up publishing the winner and two others in issue 12. Two of these went on for Pushcart Prize nominations.
Now with Lent upon us again, we’re opening submissions for a second year of the contest. The winner gets publication in issue 14 of Structo, US$150, and a two-year subscription.
Guidelines: choose a biblical psalm and reinvent it in English. We’re looking for work that combines the soul of the original with your personality, poetic, and personal vision. Writers in the past have taken all kinds of different approaches to do this, so feel free to experiment. And to be clear: you needn’t know any original languages or have any (or any particular) religious affiliation, just a willingness to tussle with this lovely, enduring, ancient poetry. Entries will be judged by panel on originality, musicality, accuracy (to the psalm’s spirit), and aesthetic.
Submissions are open until Easter Sunday (April 5th, midnight GMT). You can send us your poems using Submittable, here. To give you an idea of approaches some other authors have taken, you can read psalms from last years contest published in issue 12 of Structo by Shawna Rodenberg, Roisín O’Donnell, and Christina Seymour.