EIF Poetry Challenge #2: Translation

Welcome, poets and poetry lovers alike: today I’m excited to announce a new EIF Poetry Challenge! After the success of the previous challenge: The Sonnet, I’m really looking forward to this. I did say I probably wouldn’t be making the challenge any easier, and this is perhaps harder than the last one, (it certainly was for me) but I have some good reasons for choosing this topic.

Translating Poetry

Translating poetry from one language to another presents the poet with a unique challenge: capture the essence and meaning of the original poetry whilst creating a new poem in the target language. I’ve tried it a few times, and it’s hard. When I’m writing my own poetry, there’s a kind of creative flow that carries me along: but to get to that point with a translation, I need to understand absolutely what the original poet was saying, and the style he or she used in order to say it. This can restrict the flow of my own words. But the end result can be something new and beautiful inspired by the original work. That’s what I’m looking for from participants in this challenge.

To set the ball rolling, I’ve chosen to translate an Old English poem into modern English. Read my post on Cædmon’s Hymn for my contribution to the translation challenge!

Taking Part

To those of you who only speak English, please accept my apologies if you are unable to take part in this challenge. There will be more challenges which don’t call for knowledge of a second language. Please enjoy the poetry which comes out of this challenge. I am hoping to discover some wonderful new poems, as the WordPress community has allowed me to connect with talented poets from all over the world. This is why I am so excited about this particular challenge.

If you wish to enter, simply write a blog post translating a poem from any language other than English, into English. You can post the link to your translation in the comments below, or email me your entry at Experimentsinfiction@protonmail.com. Don’t forget to tell me a bit about the original poem such as who it is by and which language it was composed in. The results will be announced same time next week, and you have until midnight CET on 27.07.20 to enter. I look forward to receiving your entries!

Good Luck
Bonne chance
Srečno!, etc…

14 thoughts on “EIF Poetry Challenge #2: Translation

Add yours

  1. As a basically English only person I could just leave this challenge, but I have a German-Engish, and I’ll see what I can do, by finding a German language poem and re-writing it into my own language of English.
    Or I could try rewriting an old classic poem, into ‘Stryan’, the Australian language we slip into when we’re in a laid back casual mood, mate.

    Either, or both, we’ll see how it goes. Fun times with language!

    1. I love the ‘Stryan’ idea! It’s the first time I’ve heard of this, and I would like to know more. Where I come from we have the West Cumbrian dialect which wouldn’t look a bit like standard English if I wrote it down. I will be very interested to read your response!

  2. I’ve just realised I made a mistake/typo – the correct word is ‘Strayan’. I’ll definitely have a go at that one, picking a well known classic English poem and do my best to re-write it in Strayan.

    1. Ok so like ‘Australian’ but more laid back! I really look forward to reading this, thank you. So far I’ve had some fascinating and unexpected responses to this challenge…

  3. This is a bit of a broad interpretation of the prompt. It’s a mashup of two pieces of poetry, neither of which I really translated… more info in my Poet’s Note in the poem. I’ve titled it “The Piping for the Flocks / The Wanderer” after the two poems. One is from the Book of Deborah in the Hebrew Old Testament, the other is an Old English poem but I came upon it by way of the “Lament of the Rohirrim” in The Lord of the Rings. I’d love to hear what you think, Ingrid! It’s kind of out there…


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