Creative Writing 6

I’m working on a English question and need guidance to help me study.

1. Choose a prompt, write your response, post your work, telling me which prompt you chose, and writing a brief “defense” — something about why you chose that prompt, what challenges you encountered, what the process was like, what insights you gained, etc. Then, I will comment on your work; you will then reply to my comment by focusing briefly on one or more specific aspects of craft; finally, I will enter a grade.

6.1: Pseudo-Translation

“Pseudo” means “false.” There is an old saying, “traduttore, traditore,” which means something like “the translator is a traitor.” In this exercise (borrowed from Oulipo (Links to an external site.): A Primer of Potential Literature), take a poem in another language ( WANT A FRENCH POEM )— preferably one you aren’t that familiar with. Spanish, French, or Italian work well, because they have many cognates (similar words from the same word roots — usually in Latin or Greek, or words that came into English from one of those languages). Read the original text out loud, even though you don’t know the language well; as quickly as you can, write down the nearest English-sounding words that come to mind, phrase by phrase or line by line. Don’t worry about making sense. Example:

from Stéphane Mallarmé, “Autre Éventail”

O rêveuse, pour que je plonge

Au pur délice sans chemin,

Sache, par un subtil mensonge,

Garder mon aile dans ta main.


Oh refuse, pork plunged

in pretty lice! Sands shamed in

sacks, Par One on the tiles and man-songs,

garden men and ailing dons now tame…

mallarme.jpgYou can stay with the silliness that results; or, go back and try to turn the nonsense into something more evocative of a feeling, a scene, or anything that appears through the self-trickery of the exercise.

To find a poem in Spanish, French, Italian, etc., try Googling “poetry in Spanish,” etc.; best, though, to go to the library or bookstore and search in your favorite language section. NOTE: It’s helpful to tell us the author and title of the work you are experimenting with.)

2. After readings some of the Web Links, Suggested Readings, or Lectures (from any week or the supplements), write your report here. Remember to write at least 100 words. Harryette Mullen (Links to an external site.), [Kills bugs dead]:

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