Mural Speaks Seeking Translations


For those who missed it, here is a link to a New York Times article about poet William Logan’s discovery of the origins of William Carlos Williams’s “The Red Wheelbarrow”—

Over the summer I’ve been continuing to collect translations of this brief startling poem in every language spoken in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The effort is part of the preparation for a massive reading in the city, celebrating the often-unpublicized diversity of the Midwest—an idea hatched during my fellowship year at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Translators of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate in a project designed to build community across regional boundaries and generations.

How to participate:

  1. Pick a language from the list below.
  2. Consult English version of poem.
  3. Put pen to paper or fingers to keys/screen.
  4. E-mail results to, along with a three-sentence biography, and the name of your favorite poet in the language translated. (I would like event attendees to depart with a global map of poetry in hand to discover and explore…)

The Red Wheelbarrow 

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

                                          William Carlos Williams

“Red Wheelbarrow” Translations Needed (86 as of 8.4.15):

European: Croatian, Shqip or Albanian, Ukrainian.

African: Acholi, Afar, Akan, Anyuak, Avokaya, Baki, Bari, Bassa, Bhojpuri, Burundi, Creole, Didinga, Erapice, Fulani, Grego, Jur, Kabila, Kenyarwanda, Kikiyu, Kirundi or Rundi, Kisio, Kiswahili, Krahn, Krash, Kuku, Kunama, Lakoka, Lango, Lingala, Luganda, Madi, Mai Mai or Bantu, Mandinka, Mawo, Mondari, Moru, Murule, Ndogo, Nubiar, Nuer, Nyambara, Nyangwana, Oduk, Ogoni, Oromo, Pojulu, Rafica, Ruel, Rwanda, Shilluk, Sholuk, Toknath, Toposa, Urdu, Wolof or Senegal, Zande.

Asian: Armenian, Azeri or Azerbaijan, Bangla, Bhutanese, Cambodian, Cantonese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hayaren of Armenia, Kazakh, Khmer, Lao, Lergdie, Nepali, Oriya, Pashtu, Telugu.

 Central and South American: Kiche, Mam, Mayan.

 North American: Ojibwe or Chippawa, Dakota, Nakota, Navajo, Omaha, Ponca, Winnebago.

Note: Translations donated are for the purposes of a community event, and will not be published in print or on the Internet. The author retains all rights: use is strictly joyful and informal.

About Erica Mena

Erica Mena is a Puerto Rican poet, translator, and book artist. Pronouns: they/them.
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