April 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
– Alan Riddell
This is a found poem from a Latin textbook. I saw. I came. I consumed.
March 31, 2013 § 4 Comments
the way between our homes
the streets snowed up
and neither of us
wants to be the first
to clear away the snow
I remember that you were
not too keen on toil
and I have always
been fond of
– Gerður Kristný
Kristný is Icelandic, which explains the snow in summertime. I like this poem for what it doesn’t say; the relationship between the narrator and the other is as presumed as the path beneath the snow.
[Poem first published in KIN]
February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Rapid-retrieval editions in rhymed hemimeter
– George Starbuck
A bare bones exhumation of Shakespeare’s deform’d, unfinish’d king?
A syllable is nothing more than the smallest phonetical unit of a word, a vocalic boulder with consonantal tufts of grass sprouting before and after. As Starbuck shows, syllables do funny things when cleft from their crags: thinking breaks to thin king, stinking becomes stin king oozing from the odiferous En gland. Eek. But then everything ends in a landslide of -urds, -erds, and words, reburying the body.
January 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
in an ancient outhouse
– Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Ferlinghetti is my No. 1 Beat poet even when writing about No. 2.
January 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
oarin the galley through,
rairin abune the shackle-nicherin
a sang of their hame — Peru.
Peru-fold, yowlin o Peru — their Paradise
the burdies, the jiggin, the tarts,
the croons o orange-flooers ticed
wi the baobab heavenwarts.
Bananas, ananas! Sic a tass o pleesures!
Wine in the bosie o the jaur…
Till the judged tuk Peru, like Caesars,
— guid kens for why, or frae whaur!
And the burdies and the jiggin and the she-Peruvians
were aa umbeset wi decreets.
The een o the judge are twin tin-cannikins
skancin in a midden. He treats
a blue-and-orange peacock to a luik,
a fish-cauld, lenten glaff —
the grand renbow on the tail o the peacock
like winkie groosit aff!
And nixt to Peru, fleein owre the prairie
are thae wee hummin-burdies:
the judge claucht wan puir colibri
and shaved it to the hurdies.
And nae strath noo has burnin bens
wi fierce volcanic lowe.
The judge tuk up his strathfu pen:
“Nae smokin in the Howe.”
My verse anaa in puir Peru
‘s unlawfu: penalty, torture.
The judge said: “Ye’ll no sell sic a brew
o liquor in this quarter.”
The equator grues as the shackles ring.
Peru’s loast wings and folk…
aa bar the judge, harsk, thrawn, mingein
cooerin in the law’s cope.
D’ye see the peety o the man o Peru?
Aff-loof they gied him to the galleys.
And the burdies and the jiggin, Peru, me, you —
The judge shak aa wi their malice.
– Vladimir Mayakovsky
translated by Edwin Morgan
Undoubtably more Morgan than Mayakovsky, this translation turns the futurist’s slang-lang into Scots. Another Vladimir (Nabokov) would have detested Morgan’s freedom with the translation (see Eugene Onegin or “The Art of Translation”), if one could call this a translation at all. “Patische” might be the better word; Mayakovsky’s poem (which I cannot find dressed in its original Russian garb) might be untranslatable. However, M & M were both defenders of the avant-guade, both wildly innovative and formidably formal, both interested in the sonic texture of language, both swimmers in the underground’s undercurrent — Mayakovsky’s experimental verse and ties to futurism, Morgan’s native Scots dialect fused with concrete poetry — that carried them away from the mainstream’s stream, so that Morgan’s stylistic flourishes contain Mayakovsky’s spirit even if only tangentially related to the original.
December 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
otto: fort mops fort
ottos mops hopst fort
otto holt koks
otto holt obst
otto: mops mops
ottos mops klopft
otto: komm mops komm
ottos mops kommt
ottos mops kotzt
– Ernst Jandl
This lipogram about Otto and his dog has no great English translation, so I’ve left it in German. Since the sound is the sense, one only has to listen to appreciate the story (it ends in pug puke):