‘Poems the Wind Blew In’ Highly Commended in CLiPPA Poetry Award

Last week we reported that POEMS THE WIND BLEW IN by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated into English by Lawrence Schimel, and published by The Emma Press, had been shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA).

We were therefore delighted to hear the judges announce on Friday: “This year was such a tough choice, that we decided to include a Highly Commended award for #CLiPPA2020 for the fantastic POEMS THE WIND BLEW IN by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel.”

The CLiPPA is the UK’s only award for published children’s poetry, and this is the first time a translated collection had been shortlisted since the award began in 2003.

At the virtual award ceremony, held as part of a live poetry show hosted by The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, Lawrence read from his translation of Karmelo C. Iribarren’s poem Books, the first poem in the collection.

Los libros

Los libros

no son para mirarlos,

son para tocarlos,


y leerlos, que es como entrar en ellos.

Prueba y verás.

Te recuerdan

a cuando viajas

a una ciudad diferente,

y todo te parece nuevo,


y hasta un poco


Los Libros by Karmelo C. Iribarren (published here with the author’s permission)



are not there to be stared at:

they’re meant to be touched,


and read,

which is how you get inside them.

Try it and you’ll see.

They remind you

of when you travelled to a different city

and everything seemed new to you,


and even a little bit


Books by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel (published here with the permission of author and translator)

Speaking about the book, judge Valerie Bloom said: “One of the poems in this book is an instruction on how to get inside a book, and once you get inside this collection, you’re reluctant to get out. The 29 poems encourage the reader to look at everyday things with new eyes; to see the loneliness in bicycles and the cheekiness in clouds. It is a book for sharing and also for keeping close – like a friend.” Fellow judge Steven Camden also added: “This book is a lens on the world in all its confusing, serendipitous beauty.”

CLPE is an independent UK charity working to raise the literacy achievement of children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. CLiPPA – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award – was developed to ensure that children’s poetry has a recognised place within children’s literature. In turn, it is really encouraging to see translated poetry receiving such recognition within this scheme.

On receiving the commendation, translator Lawrence Schimel said:

“Literary publishing often feels like it moves at a glacial pace, especially compared to the high-stakes fast-paced world of bestsellers and celebrity titles. And translations seem to happen even slower (especially when a publisher needs to apply for funding for the translation costs or other support). But every project happens at its own pace, and often needs that time for everything to line up finally.

“That’s one reason why it’s so wonderful to see this project, which I first pitched to The Emma Press in Spring 2015, getting so much recognition–first the PEN Translates Award from English PEN and now the Highly Commended Award in the CLiPPA 2020.

“As Karmelo wrote to me, somewhat bemused, when I shared the good news about the Highly Commended Award with him: ‘It’s surprising that a book with so many strikes against it (10 years old, a translation, I am not British) was so warmly received by the jury.’

But it just goes to show the enduring power of poetry for young readers, these poems, now in English, are still fresh and eye-opening for each reader who discovers the book.”

Two of the five shortlisted books were published by Birmingham-based publisher The Emma Press. Emma Wright said: “I was overjoyed to get the recognition of having two books on the CLiPPA shortlist. I am passionate about the importance of poetry in children’s lives, and I am always working to increase the range of what is published for children in the UK. It made me so happy that Poems the Wind Blew In – a translation – and Wain – a collection of LGBT poems – were highlighted by the judges. And of course I am thrilled that Poems the Wind Blew In got the Highly Commended spot!”