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Today’s poetry resource is the archives of Poetry International, where you’ll find poems from all over the world, both in their original languages and in translation.
Today’s prompt asks you to make use of today’s resource. Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it.
Try to translate the poem simply based on how it sounds. You may not wind up with a credible poem at the end, but this can be a fun way to step outside of your own mind for a bit, and develop a poem that speaks in a distinctive voice. As an example, here are the first four lines of a poem by the Norwegian poet Gro Dahle:
Linnea ligger syk under treet
‒ Oj oj oj, hvisker treet
Og treet lar sine blader falle
Det store treet, det snille treet
Based on the sound alone, I might translate this as
Lithe lines sink under the street.
Oh, that wintry street.
Oh, street of signs like falling blades
A street of shops and smiles.
It’s not really a poem yet, but I certainly have created some odd and interesting images and ideas to play with.
3 weeks of NapoWriMo – gone! WOW! April is running away from me briskly!
I haven’t included the participant website today as there was no link to the site. I will update this post if one appears.
I know of and have used today’s poetry resource, I remember doing this prompt in previous NaPoWriMo years. It is one I enjoy. As I mentioned on the previous translation post I enjoy language, the sound and cadence of it, whether I can speak it or not.
I sat with the prompt on my phone in the early hours of this morning so chose just one stanza to work with.
Og treet løfter himmelen med armene sine
så den ikke skal trykke henne
for tungt på brystet
Og treet bretter natten til side
så hun ikke skal bli redd
© 1992, Gro Dahle
Publisher: J.W. Cappelens Forlag, Oslo, 1992
I enjoyed the repetition and chose my words from the sound of these. As with the example, I do not feel it is a strong poem as it lies but will pull out some threads and see what I can remaster.
After a morning filled with yoga, pilates, financial stress (companies finally accessing Furlough scheme) and too many text messages I am looking forward to spending time in the garden with my notebook this afternoon.