15760Writing Japanese Poetry in English, was Titles of Address;
- Aug 4, 2004--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Maria <tace@m...> wrote:
> Trying to use such forms as makura-katoba are difficult in Englishthat
> because it comes over as trite and cliched. Our tradition is such
> we are not supposed to use a previously coined phrase from anotherpoetry. So
> poet. Yet it was expected and admired in classical Japanese
> how do we adapt that into English?[Grin] I occasionally contribute some of these on the Outlands Bardic
list in response to weekly challenges on given themes. A couple of
weeks ago, the challenge was to write a lament. I gave them this:
Waiting in the dark
To hear the faintest footfall -
But he did not come.
Sorrow's dew weights silken sleeves,
A tear for each leaden hour.
The wet sleeves image got "Wows" from my readers. THEY didn't think
it was a cliche because they didn't know it was one. English readers
may not recognize allusions or quotations from Japanese classics. I
think that the appreciation a Japanese would have of a makura-katoba
may be akin to an SCA audience appreciating a filk. "Ah, that's
familiar so it's funny!" Or sad or whatever.
As a non-Japanese speaker limited to reading translated works, I am
aware that there are nuances I am missing because there are
linguistic cues I am by necessity divorced from. (It bugs the hell
out of me, but I don't have the time or resources to try to learn to
read Japanese. So I stick to the syllable count as it is what gives a
non-rhymed, non-metric poem its structure. It's also an exercise in
discipline. I concentrate on trying to distill a thought or image
within said structure. If I can effectively use an image or allusion
to give the poem a Japanese flavor that a Western reader can "get"
without a four paragraph preface on context, I figure I've
> We are all students here, and we are all learning.Here here.
Makiwara, eternal student
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