friday roundup: another way to steal, “slash I do mean word” and “my faithful, / flattened star”


do I smell a rat? image from wikimedia

Friday again. All three of my children are at school. At least for now. Before that changes (not that I’m expecting it to, but…), let’s go straight to the roundup:

another way to steal  A while back we were talking about how to steal poetry. It dawned on me that I left one important (to me) way of stealing poetry off the list. That is: homophonic translation. Homophonic translation is the process of taking a poem written in a different language and translating it according to what it sounds like in your language, rather than according to its meaning. I use Google Translate to do this, although I’m sure there are other translation tools out there you can use. Of course, you can also just begin with a poem written in a language other than the one you write in.

My process is to take a poem in English that I love, Google-translate it into German (which has lots of really strong sounds), and then use homophonic translation to get it back into English.

Warning: You must be willing to write complete nonsense to use this tool.

Often, I will get just one usable phrase or line from the homophonic translation. But often, that one phrase or line is enough to get me into a new draft, or to get me unstuck in a revision I’m working on.

The other thing that’s nice about this is that the product is almost always a completely different creature than the poem you started with, so there’s no worry about needing to attribute. Steal away

“slash I do  mean word”  Word nerd alert! Have you read this article about the emergence of “slash” as a word rather than a symbol? Apparently, young folks are using the word “slash” in written communication where us old folks would typically just use the symbol. The article lists many examples, and goes on to say that not only does this novel use of slash fulfill the function that the symbol ‘/’ used to fulfill, but its meaning has also evolved to indicate not just a second, related thought, but to indicate (1). something like “following up.” and slash or (2). an afterthought or shift in topic.

BTW, I have heard from people who teach college students that the word “hashtag” (i.e., from Twitter) is making its way into conversation. I think it’s used, like, if your friend trips in front of the boy she has a crush on, you could say, “Hashtag awkward!” But don’t quote me on that — it’s been a really long time since my friend tripped in front of the boy she had a crush on.

“my faithful, / flattened star”  This morning I woke early to steal some time while the house was still asleep, and I went to Verse Daily for a dose of poetry. What joy to see that one of my dear po-friends, Cintia Santana, was today’s featured poet! Her poem “Elegy” is at Verse Daily for you to enjoy. I admire how much work gets done in this poem in just 17 lines. I admire the sounds, rhythms, and echoes of rhyme. And I love the way it makes me think about all those things — inanimate, or formerly animate, objects — that somehow become a part of our lives, a part of us. Go read this poem now!

That’s it for this week, Reader. Happy Friday slash weekend.

7 thoughts on “friday roundup: another way to steal, “slash I do mean word” and “my faithful, / flattened star”

  1. Cool poem. Great blog post.

    You would be absolutely correct regarding the “hashtag” speech. I do have a teen SLASH college age child.

    I actually think that incorporating parts of our “new language” into speech is fine and even humorous, but when it comes to writing, and academic writing or even everyday writing, it just seems a bit crazy. The writing out of slash just seems– I don’t know– CUMBERSOME.

    That said–
    If you’re writing a poem or something creative slash and hashtag away!

  2. Sono stato molto contento di aver trovato questo sito. Voglio dire grazie per il vostro tempo per questa lettura meravigliosa! Io sicuramente mi sto godendo ogni post e ho gi salvato il sito tra i segnalibri per non perdermi nulla!

    • Così felice il blog è qualcosa che ti piace! Grazie per avermi fatto sapere. (PS io ho usato google translate per scrivere questa risposta in italiano – Spero che abbia senso!)

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