poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.

It has three rallying cries:

Poets of the world, unite and take over!

Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!

Only poetry in translation, all the time!

Coming at you at the end of each month.



poetry in action #41

from MOVIMIENTOS by Alberto Borea

Translated by Sarah Swinwood

These poems are rooted in the culture of the coastal city of Lima, which is heavily influenced by the weather: sunny during the summer months, shrouded in fog that rolls into this desert city during the winter months.









It’s important to keep up appearances
The lady said
As I tried to stuff myself
In my pocket




The little girl has two gold teeth
The little girl has one gold tooth|
The girl… has no more teeth
The girl… has no more gold




Miguel Grau: Silver face in el parque de Lima
Simón Bolívar: Gold bust in el museo de la Nación
Juan Ramirez: Entire body in any old park













Hay que guardar las apariencias
My dijo la señora
Yo intenté
Caber en mi bolsillo




La niña tiene dos dientes de oro
La niña tiene un diente de oro
La niña… ya no tiene dientes
La niña… ya no tiene oro



Miguel Grau: Rostro de plata en el parque de Lima
Simón Bolívar: Busto de oro en el museo de la Nación
Juan Ramirez: Cuerpo completo en un parque cualquiera














Talking about freedom
With my shoe on his shadow




The air carries words
The body carries will

the soul carries nothing





Your anxious hand

Has turned into a fork















Hablo de libertad
Con el zapato sobre su sombra




El aire contiene las palabras
El cuerpo contiene voluntad

el alma no contiene nada





Tu mano ansiosa

Se volvió tenedor

















Stars light up the sky
Towns light up the earth

Let’s burn these words
And put them in the middle




In she strolled saying



And me
00000From where I stood

Could see the sea




I have total blind faith

000000in doubting




Music arrives through a cord
Images arrive through a cord
Humans arrive through a cord

000but it breaks




He holds his cigarette 5 cm from my eyes

I stand in front of the park

Like a human Obelisk
















Las estrellas brillan en el cielo
Los pueblos alumbran la tierra

Hay que quemar estas palabras
Y colocarlas en el medio



Ella entró y dijo hola


Desde mi esquina

00000Le pude ver el mar




Creo en la fe ciega

de la duda




La música llega a través de un cordón
La imagen llega a través de un cordón
El hombre llega a través de un cordón

00000pero se rompe





Colocó un cigarrillo a 5 cm de mis ojos

Me poso frente a un parque

He creado un Obelisco





Alberto Borea is based in New York and Berlin with artist residencies and openings in galleries worldwide, visual art and sculpture were Borea’s primary medium. His work opened a space for existential discourse, where poetry, humor and sociopolitical ideas can coexist. Select poems written between ‘98-2000 were published in his chapbook MOVIMIENTOS (Plectro Editores) in 2016. Alberto Borea was born in Lima, Peru in 1979. He passed away from cancer in December 2020. Borea lived and worked in Berlin, New York City and Lima.

Sarah Swinwood is a Canadian writer and translator based in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with an MFA in literary translation and nonfiction writing in 2023 from Columbia University. Swinwood translates primarily from Spanish, largely focussed on poets from Lima, Peru who have not yet published in English. In the mid 2000s, Borea introduced Swinwood to a world of artists and poets who gave readings and exhibitions in the Bohemian district of Barranco in Lima, Peru, a creative power spot that continues to thrive. Twitter: @swinny444 Instagram: @sarahtonein