cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
[personal profile] cadenzamuse
Hi! I'm [personal profile] cadenzamuse, and I'm hosting a week on some Atlanta spoken word/slam poets that I like.

I am not a slam or spoken word poet, so I don't know very much about it other than a: it's an out loud/performed type of poetry and b: I like it. So I turned to Wikipedia to learn about the basics.

Wikipedia says that modern spoken-word poetry originated from the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance and was also shaped by the beatniks. It has deep roots in Black culture and politics.

Poetry slams are spoken-word poetry competitions that started in the mid-1980s. Slam poetry has roots in dub poetry and hip-hop (which are also both often political art forms).

But that's really dry. So how about some spoken word self-definitions?

Become a slam poet in five steps, by Gayle Danley
Transcript from Youtube, with ersatz stanza breaks by cadenzamuse )

Some questions to discuss:
  • Have you encountered spoken word poetry before? What have you liked or disliked about it?
  • How do you define spoken word poetry?
  • How is spoken word poetry similar to or different from other forms of poetry developed by oppressed populations?

Some things to try:
  • Write a spoken word poem following the steps laid out by Gayle Danley. Feel free to share it with us!
  • If you have some extra time, watch another excellent introduction to spoken word poetry at the TED Talk "If I Should Have a Daughter" by Sarah Kay.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Some of you folks already know me from previous hosting weeks or other activities on this community. For everyone else, hello, I'm Elizabeth Barrette, wordsmith for hire. I write a great deal of poetry, especially in my monthly Poetry Fishbowl project. I'm also active in the Crowdfunding Creative Jam, the Torn World Muse Fusion, and Schrodinger's Heroes projects -- all of which include some poetry. This week I'm going to talk about serial poetry in particular.

EDIT 1/21/13:  I'm reposting the complete set of these articles on my website under "How to Write Serial Poetry."

Read more... )
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
I've written about haikai here before; for those who missed it the first time around, a quick refresher:
One of my favorite poetry formats is haikai (alternating verses of 5-7-5 and 7-7), or more specifically haikai no renga, which today is known more simply as renku. It is a form of collaborative Japanese linked verse poetry; the more well known form (in English) haiku comes from taking the first verse of a haikai in isolation. I like haikai because I usually write them in collaboration with one or more other poets (with some exceptions), and the strict syllable count for each verse limits its length, making it more likely someone else will take the time to respond.
Some further thoughts about English-language derivatives of Japanese-language poetry formats )


I have not run into many other poets using an English-language haikai format. As mentioned above, it's one that I prefer because the strict syllable counts and overall brevity of stanzas make it an easy format for facilitating collaborative poetry between two or more people. Sometimes I also write non-collaborative haikai when I want a slightly more expansive format than English-language haiku without losing the power of its precision and short, restrained lines.

Example poem 'Civitatis' behind the cut )

Have you ever written or participated in writing an English-language haikai yourself? I'll repost 'Civitatis' in the comments, and I encourage you to try adding a stanza yourself to the thread according to the alternating 5-7-5 and 7-7 stanza format.
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
The shortest form of English poetry I know comes from the Japanese: the 5-7-5 syllable lines comprising a ‘haiku’. The modern Japanese haiku in turn comes from an older form of Japanese poetry, the haikai no renga, which I will discuss later this week.

Some thoughts on the implications of 'haiku' being a linguistic transplant )

The upshot of transplanting the original format from Japanese is that the haiku in English doesn’t map neatly onto the usual rhyme and rhythm schemes of native English or Romance language poetry formats. It is visually distinct and instantly recognizable to a general audience without facilitating sing-song sloppiness or verbose obscurity. By its nature, it challenges the poet to be both succinct and precise, and as a result can pack a significant punch behind its deceptively simple three lines.
of helping hands reminds us
action’s contagious
(Source: 'Poem For Your Thoughts?': Special US Voter Registration Edition fill for [personal profile] nagasvoice’s prompt ‘pay it forward’)


In my opinion, the haiku’s short format makes it ideal for micro-poetry events such as my occasional How Are You? (in Haiku) days. Whether or not you have thoughts to share concerning the main content of this post, I encourage you to write a haiku in the comments responding to the following prompt:
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.
lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
There are many ways to build larger structures out of sonnets -- at least as many as there are of building sonnets. The classic example is, of course, a sonnet sequence, in which individual poems are snapshots from a larger story -- though sometimes, as with Shakespeare, the story may be so diffused or confused as to be impossible to make out. But the units can be bound more tightly, to the point that any given sonnet is not readily detachable as an independent poem. One formal way is in a corona or "crown" of sonnets, in which the last line of one is repeated as the first of the next. The classic form of crown has seven sonnets, but fourteen-sonnet versions can also be found -- and for bonus points, there's the sonnet redoublé of fourteen in which the repeated lines form a fifteenth sonnet (here's an example).

The consensus seems to be that a corona's units are still sonnets even though they're almost never reprinted separately. But you can also in effect use sonnets as stanzas, in which case the issue is even less clear, a classic example being Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind." Here's another:


Lift up thy lips, turn round, look back for love,
    Blind love that comes by night and casts out rest;
    Of all things tired thy lips look weariest,
Save the long smile that they are wearied of.
Ah sweet, albeit no love be sweet enough,
    Choose of two loves and cleave unto the best;
    Two loves at either blossom of thy breast
Strive until one be under and one above.
Their breath is fire upon the amorous air,
    Fire in thine eyes and where thy lips suspire:
And whosoever hath seen thee, being so fair,
    Two things turn all his life and blood to fire;
A strong desire begot on great despair,
    A great despair cast out by strong desire.


Where between sleep and life some brief space is,
    With love like gold bound round about the head,
    Sex to sweet sex with lips and limbs is wed,
Turning the fruitful feud of hers and his
To the waste wedlock of a sterile kiss;
    Yet from them something like as fire is shed
    That shall not be assuaged till death be dead,
Though neither life nor sleep can find out this.
Love made himself of flesh that perisheth
    A pleasure-house for all the loves his kin;
But on the one side sat a man like death,
    And on the other a woman sat like sin.
So with veiled eyes and sobs between his breath
    Love turned himself and would not enter in.


Love, is it love or sleep or shadow or light
    That lies between thine eyelids and thine eyes?
    Like a flower laid upon a flower it lies,
Or like the night's dew laid upon the night.
Love stands upon thy left hand and thy right,
    Yet by no sunset and by no moonrise
    Shall make thee man and ease a woman's sighs,
Or make thee woman for a man's delight.
To what strange end hath some strange god made fair
    The double blossom of two fruitless flowers?
Hid love in all the folds of all thy hair,
    Fed thee on summers, watered thee with showers,
Given all the gold that all the seasons wear
    To thee that art a thing of barren hours?


Yea, love, I see; it is not love but fear.
    Nay, sweet, it is not fear but love, I know;
    Or wherefore should thy body's blossom blow
So sweetly, or thine eyelids leave so clear
Thy gracious eyes that never made a tear—
    Though for their love our tears like blood should flow,
    Though love and life and death should come and go,
So dreadful, so desirable, so dear?
Yea, sweet, I know; I saw in what swift wise
    Beneath the woman's and the water's kiss
    Thy moist limbs melted into Salmacis,
And the large light turned tender in thine eyes,
And all thy boy's breath softened into sighs;
    But Love being blind, how should he know of this?

Au Musée du Louvre, Mars 1863.

When sonnet-formed units are integrated this tightly into a unified work, are they still sonnets? Can you have a poem of poems? or is the set definted to not include itself?

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
The line-length for sonnets is usually the default line-length for the language it's written in -- hendecasyllables in Italian, alexandrine in French, iambic pentameter in English, and so on. Usually, but not always, and just as poets have always played with words, so they have with forms. Phillip Sidney's cycle Astrophel and Stella was experimental in so many ways, above and beyond the obvious one of being the first sonnet cycle in English: not only does the opening play merry heck with the conventions of renaissance rhetoric, it's in hexameter:

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That the dear She might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,
    I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burned brain.
    But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
        Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
        "Fool" said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."

What line-lengths and meters other than iambic pentameter do you consider acceptable in a sonnet? Do the lines always have to be the same length? Can you provide examples?

lnhammer: colored smoke on a white background - caption "softly and suddenly vanished away" (vanished away)
[personal profile] lnhammer
Sonnets were for a long time strongly identified with the Petrarchan tradition, and even now the form can have connotations of love poetry despite extensive proof that it's useful for a two-part argument of a certain size on any subject. Not to mention, there's quite a few sonnets having nothing whatsoever to do with Laura in Petrarch's Canzone. But to start us off, an actual Petrarchan sonnet, with a more-or-less literal translation (cribbed together from ponies and rusty Spanish) plus a much freer by the poet who introduced the form to English. Note, btw, the classic volta.

Una candida cerva sopra l'erba
verde m'apparve, con duo corna d'oro,
fra due riviere, all'ombra d'un alloro,
levando 'l sole a la stagione acerba.

Era sua vista sí dolce superba,
ch'i' lasciai per seguirla ogni lavoro:
come l'avaro che 'n cercar tesoro
con diletto l'affanno disacerba.

"Nessun mi tocchi" al bel collo d'intorno
scritto avea di diamanti et di topazi
"libera farmi al mio Cesare parve."

Et era 'l sol già vòlto al mezzo giorno,
gli occhi miei stanchi di mirar, non sazi,
quand'io caddi ne l'acqua, et ella sparve.

Literal rendering )

Wyatt's rendering )

Leaving aside the all-too-obvious fact that I am not the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt was, this does raise questions of just how valid adaptations and imitations are as translations and of the role of either in the adoption of forms across languages -- but since this is not translation but sonnet week, I'll set those aside (after linking to this discussion of translations of another Petrarch sonnet by the first two poets to use the form in English). Though doing so leaves me with no question for discussion on this one. Oops. Well, maybe you guys can think of something to ask me. Or we can return to the meta question of what defines a sonnet.

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
I'm [personal profile] lnhammer, and I'll be hosting a week on sonnets.

You can find as almost many definitions of a sonnet as you can prosodists: fourteen lines, rhyming, yadda yadda. "Rhyming," yes, but exactly how is not important. In fact, historically a particular rhyme scheme has never been a defining characteristic of sonnets -- the now-standard abbaabba octave of the various Italian schemata wasn't introduced until a generation after the form was invented in the early 13th century (using abababab).

The closest thing to a definitive marker is 14 lines containing an asymmetric two-part structure with a "turn" of thought, volta in Italian, slightly more than halfway through, most orthodoxly giving it a 8+6 structure (as emphasized by Italian rhyme schemes) but sometimes moved a line or two in either direction. But even that definition can be carped at, given that Elizabethan rhyme schemes with their final couplet often suggest using a 12+2 argument.

But enough of that. This week I'd like to explore some other aspects of sonnets -- starting with my next post later today.

Until then, though, a question: how do YOU define a sonnet?

ariestess: (black star calla lily)
[personal profile] ariestess
Today, I thought I'd introduce you to another of my favorite poem forms, the etheree.

And I will just say this now: Sometimes, when I'm not paying attention, I'll call this the Etheridge poem, because of the similarity of the names. Crazy, I know, but there you go. *g*

The basic format is a 10-line poem with increasing syllables [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. You can also do these in reverse [10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1], or do a longer poem of multiple stanzas of the etheree, even alternating the forward and reverse versions.

I've only written one so far, so I don't know that any sort of rhyming will work for this format, but give it a shot if you want!


torn paper
litters the floor.
forgotten so soon,
left like so much rubbish.
no one cares how long it took
to find the perfect paper shell.
they strip it away in a mad rush
to reveal the treasure hidden within.

Poll #9942 Kudos?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 8

I would like to leave kudos on this post

View Answers

8 (100.0%)

ariestess: (writing's in my blood -- from ciri)
[personal profile] ariestess
One of my favorite poem forms is the cinquain, if only because of the many variations it has. If I go more in depth about it, I love the cinquain and its variants because they're bite-sized poems that can really pack a punch. And they're really easy to take on the go with you, both as a poet and a reader. I've been known to jot down a poem, usually in the tanka variant, at really random times and in a wide variety of places. As long as I have pen and paper or my iPod to capture it, I'm good to go. And the fact that it doesn't require any sort of rhyme scheme makes it even better in my eyes.

On the Cinquain wiki page, there are 10 variations listed. Of these 10, I have written 6 or 7 in the last year, primarily during National Poetry Month 2011. My beloved tanka is considered a variant of the cinquain, and I'm an old hat at the tanka. LOL!

According to the wiki page, a cinquain is primarily "a stanza of five lines of accentual-syllabic verse, in which the lines comprise, in order, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 1 stresses and 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables." There was also discussion of iambic feet utilized, but I don't always follow that myself.

The variations are listed below, with definitions from the wiki page.

And now for a pair of my favorites from this form and its variations. See if you can guess which variations they are...


far away shine
incandescent pulses
lifetimes aweay and yet right here
lovers dream, a dying embrace
perfectly captured bliss


laid bare to the bone
nothing more can harm you now
safety comes too late
childhood innocence is gone
stroke the marks of womanhood

Poll #9924 Kudos?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5

I would like to leave kudos on this post

View Answers

5 (100.0%)

jjhunter: Serene person of color with shaved head against abstract background half blue half brown (scientific sage)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pt. 1 can be found here.

As previously mentioned, the most successful villanelles have two strong, flexible refrain lines. It is thus well worth spending a fair amount of time on your first stanza, since not only will you be repeating the first and third lines throughout the piece and deriving your ultimate 'oomph!' from finally placing them one after the other at the end of the poem, but you will have to rhyme the ends of other lines with the final word of your second line no less than five times.

Here are three sample first stanzas from my own work, in order of oldest to latest. (The final one was my submission to [ profile] stillnotbored's February First Line Contest, which closes tomorrow - I highly recommend checking it out.)

the poet's tree:
a pebble from a pool of poetry
falls from the page to break my surface calm
I come to rest beneath the poet's tree

Mornings recall her to her lie
dreams washed away in the shower
and the birds sing hello, goodbye

Proper Shape:
Her bones remembered the proper shape
though time leached their strength and weighed her eyes
she had only her sweet flesh to drape
Further discussion and full text of 'Proper Shape' behind the cut )

Finally, if villanelles are so difficult to write in comparison to, say, a haiku or a free form poem, why would anyone choose to write them? I personally like doing them because they require so much focus and skill. The format is such that I have to completely close out the world around me for an hour or two and just give myself permission to play with words and sounds and concepts. The product may not always be devastatingly brilliant, but I surface feeling cleansed, much like having gone on a long run or having solved a difficult sudoku or having finished translating a passage from Ovid. I have put some small subset of the world in order, and it rhymed to boot.

Poll #9773 Kudos?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5

I would like to leave kudos on this post

View Answers

5 (100.0%)

bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)
[personal profile] bookblather
What in the world is a sestina?

Well, the simple answer is that it's an extremely complicated piece of poetry to write, and I don't know why I torture myself with writing them. The longer and probably more informative answer is that it's a seven-stanza poem, consisting of six stanzas with six lines each, and a final triplet of three lines (called an envoi). That doesn't seem so hard.

Well, actually... every line must end with one of the six words that ended the first six lines of the sestina. In a strict order of rotation.

That's tricky.

The sestina was probably invented as a poetic form sometime in twelfth-century France by, who else, a troubador, likely a gentleman by the name of Arnaut Daniel. It was terribly popular at the time, but fell out of favor after the Renaissance until the nineteenth century, where it saw a resurgance; it was particularly popular in the 1950s. Now, it's mostly used by poets who want to challenge themselves, or feel their subject may be served by a form of extreme order.

A sestina's end-word pattern is as follows, where each number represents one word:
1 2 3 4 5 6
6 1 5 2 4 3
3 6 4 1 2 5
5 3 2 6 1 4
4 5 1 3 6 2
2 4 6 5 3 1
envoi: 2/5 4/3 6/1

In the envoi, the sestina moves to two words a line in order to complete in time. This is really easiest to see when reading an actual sestina, so let's have a look at an example:

Sestina: Altaforte, by Ezra Pound )

Pound's six words are, in order, peace, music, clash, opposing, crimson, and rejoicing. He does deviate from the scheme in the envoi, but he's Ezra Pound and he does what he wants, and at any rate the rest of the sestina is intact. His subject-- war, and specifically the chaos of battle-- contrasts nicely with the sestina's ordered pace.

I write sestinas myself, when the mood strikes me. I can offer a few tips: the first and foremost being to choose your words wisely. Words with more than one meaning (light, book, color) give you more flexibility. Verbs can alter in case: jumping, jump, jumped, jumps. I suggest avoiding proper nouns, particularly for your first sestina, since they complicate matters considerably.

The life of the sestina author is made easier in a few ways. A sestina needn't rhyme, or be in any particular meter, so you don't have that to worry about. Line length is variable, adding some flexibility, although I personally enjoy iambic pentameter. Finally, the sestina really is fun to write. Given time and practice, it only gets easier.

I leave you with a sestina of my own, written about a year and a half ago.

Summertime )

Further explanations and examples may be found here, but please be aware that one of the sestinas at that link contains disturbing subject matter.


Works Consulted

Comfort, Heather, Jenny Dobbins, Tracy Slinger. Sestina.

Davies, Caroline. Writing a Sestina.

Pound, Ezra. Sestina: Altaforte.
jjhunter: Closeup of the face from postcard of da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' with alterations made by Duchamp, i.e. moustache and goatee. (LHOOQ)
[personal profile] jjhunter
I'm taking a leaf out of [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's book and splitting my post about the villanelle format into two. In this post, I'll give a brief historical overview of the format, offer a historical example, and provide links for further readings. In the next post, I'll use one of my own villanelles as the basis for discussing what I personally have found challenging, and occasionally satisfying, about writing in this format.


The French are to blame for the villanelle. Or, more specifically, minor nineteenth French poet Wilhelm Ténint is responsible for accidentally turning a single obscure sixteenth century poem into an entire 'Renaissance form' that his contemporary Théodore de Banville then 'revived' and popularized. The form hopped the channel - and the language barrier - from French to English in 1877 with Edmund Gosse's "A Plea for Certain Exotic Forms of Verse", and has essentially never looked back since.

In English, the villanelle consists of five stanzas of three rhyming lines (i.e. five tercets) and a concluding four line stanza (i.e. a quatrain). So far, so similar to other interlocking forms like the terza rima. What distinguishes the villanelle is that, of a total of nineteen lines, a full six lines are alternating repeats of the first and third lines. This 'dual refrain' can be powerful, but it requires two brilliant lines that play off each other well.

Breakdown of format with using first stanza of modern example )

Here's another example, one whose copyright is a bit more permissive:

'Do not go gentle into that good night' )


Questions for Discussion )

Further Reading:
Refrain Again: The Return of the Villanelle by Amanda French (text available for free online; I highly recommend it!)
et al. )


Format: Villanelle (Pt. 2 of 2)


Poll #9760 Kudos?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 6

I would like to leave kudos on this post

View Answers

6 (100.0%)

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The terza rima is an Italian form of poetry.  Dante Alighieri invented it late in the 13th century.  It is written in tercets.  It uses an interlocking rhyme pattern in which the outer lines of each verse rhyme with each other, while the middle line rhymes with the outer lines of the following verse: aba, bcb, cdc ...  The end can either loop back to the first middle rhyme (aba, bcb, cac) or close with a couplet (aba, bcb, cc).  Other variations exist but those are the most common.

For those of you who like to set poems to music, the terza rima makes an intriguing divergence from ballads, and it also sounds good when read aloud.  Interlocking rhymes add to the structural integrity of a poem, making this form well suited to formal or classic topics, but also to imaginary things such as fairy tales.  Of course, ethnic/national forms are always a good choice for poems about the same place or people.  My historic fantasy series Fiorenza the Wisewoman takes place in Italy, so I've used various Italian forms including the terza rima (in "Fair Maiden Meets Fierce Villain") and sonnet ("Plumbing the Depths").  Not only do the cultural aspects match, but the subtle linguistic expectations of the poem also suit the names of places and people in the same base language.  It's a little easier to fit the meter with an Italian form than an English form, because the name are Italian even though the text of my poems are largely English (with a few borrowings from Italian).  

Pay attention to word choice in writing a terza rima: you'll want to choose end-words with a good selection of rhymes so that you don't paint yourself into a corner.  Consider things like "sky," "play," "sea," "bait," "meet," "blown," etc.  However, the tercet offers an ideal opportunity for contrast: consider alternating vowel rhymes and consonant rhymes, or stressed and unstressed rhymes.  Either can break up the metronome effect of tight rhyming if you want to ameliorate it without removing it.

What are some of your favorite terza rima poems?
What things do you like or dislike about this form?
Have you written a terza rima, and if so, how well did it work for you?

Further Reading
"Terza Rima" in Forms of Verse
"Terza Rima" on Thinking Poetry
"Terza Rima" on Upenn
"Terza Rima" on Wikipedia
"Terza Rima and Capitolo"

"2012 Poetry Form Challenge #18: Terza Rima"
"Explore Classic Tercet Examples"
"Terza Rima Example"

lnhammer: lo-fi photo of a tall, thin man - caption: "some guy" (Default)
[personal profile] lnhammer
The Kokinwakashu ("Collection of Old and New Japanese Poetry"), or Kokinshu for short, was the first imperially commissioned anthology of poetry in Japanese, compiled around 905 CE by a panel of four leading young poets of the day. This was a cultural watershed -- it firmly cemented the reputation of Japanese as a valid language for poetry, as opposed to the Chinese in vogue for the prior century and a half, and it set what was acceptable in terms of diction, subjects, and images for court poetry (and by omission, what was not acceptable) for the next thousand years minus a couple decades.

Background notes on the collection, verse form, Japanese grammar, and the collapse of ambiguity (if not civilization itself). )

For what it's worth, my philosophy of translation is to render my best understanding of the original's sense while reproducing as much as possible of the poem's quality and structures -- sonic, linguistic, rhetorical, and so on. This involves not only interpretation, but trade-offs. For example, the normal sentence order of Japanese is almost, but not entirely, the complete reverse of English. This means that in a literal prose paraphrase of a poem that's one long clause, the nouns, verbs, and adjectives are in the opposite order in English from the original. If the sequence of images these substantives call up is not important to the poem's effect -- for example, if the mainspring of the poetry is a witty metaphor -- then this reversal does no real damage. But if the images form a careful progression, such as sweeping from a wide scene down to a small detail, it is probably better to maintain that sequence as best as possible, at the expense of breaking up the smooth swoop of a single clause.

Trade-offs. Just like in any poem, or any other work of art.

For this week, I've chosen three Kokinshu poems that highlight different problems of translation. I'm afraid there's far more prose than verse in these posts -- partly because the poems are so small, but mostly it's that it takes a lot to unpack these lovely puzzle-boxes that are Japanese verse. Starting on the next rock, coming tomorrow.

Until then, for discussion: those of you who translate, what is your philosophy/practice? What do you focus on the most?

A modest footnote )

dave_bonta: (Default)
[personal profile] dave_bonta

In their kivas at Shiwanna
the medicine priests preserve
their most arcane chants
in a foreign language, songs
attributed to the ancient Founder
of the healing arts: a gambler,
a vagabond chased from town to town
by stone-throwing children,
disappearing at last into the invisible
realm of the spirit animals
in the mountains to the east:
Shipapulima, city of mists.

Read more... )


poetree: Paper sculpture of bulbuous tree made from strips of book pages (Default)

February 2017



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 09:20 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios