Tag Archives: english

#GloPoWriMo 2017 19 – wug

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how is it that
we can say one wug
and we can
assume two wugs
but we cannot
learn how to wug
we cannot know
whether the wug
believes in more
than its wugself
is there life
beyond the wug
will the wug
inherit the earth
why do we ascribe
our plurality
to its unique
wugness
why do we not
question the rules
we find so easy
to apply to a wug

this is a wug
now there is another one
now there are many
they contain wugtitudes

#GloPoWriMo 2017 7 – a day in the life of

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start. waking up to
a new cycle of stories,
wheels are shuddering

at the holes you made
(there is news that we can pause)
is this fulfilling

or have we fallen
into another routine,
waiting for. the end.

London, July 2016

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Frame me here
pin me to this evening
of summer dresses and topless
joggers running from business
into a bustling busy city
that wakes at the close
that gathers its strength
that swipes the day clean again
loses its filters and sheens
that walks close to its lovers
its friends its followers
make this night a hashtag
make it viral in its living beating buzz
make it sing make it dance in the street
make it jump to reach its signs:

the world is not ending
any time soon
we have more nights to write
more walks to write
more books to write
more smiles to write
more plans to write
more to write
than we possibly can
in just this one worldful

BCLT Summer School – Day 2

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Day 2 – Workshop led by Henrietta Rose-Innes, with a fascinating discussion on South African English, its relationship to Afrikaans and the multiple official languages of the country, and how South African authors (such as Antjie Krog or Nathan Trantraal) use, bend and crash the rules of all of them combined. We were then prompted to tell a very brief story in the voice of 13 year olds (mine became bilingual Tuscans, somehow..) not wanting to be understood, as by someone who uses English as a lingua franca, in a high-calibre interview setting, and in response to someone being judgemental or snobbish of our own accent or variety.

1. Mate! mate! Oh! OH! CAHAMI! ..iobonino outside mate look -right?! yeah i know right! it’s like mate don’t even – fucking ledge yeah? no don’t look now. that one’s like – and that one’s like – and I mean like checazz. eh. (DU IU ANDERSTEND) Yeah but — no miss sorry miss just two birds outside. Yes miss, sorry.

2. Excuse me I am not very good my English but what is happening outside please? Excuse me there is two birds I think but I can not see what it is happening do you know? Do you able to help understand do you see that is happening outside? The birds? Why is the birds doing? Please?

3. What I do hope the story suggested, if you’ll bear with me for this next slide, is the following: the interaction between the two specimens, i.e. the birds, can easily be interpreted in the metaphor of collaboration between our respective fields of expertise, as was my aim in the presentation. The end result I am suggesting, however, goes a little further, as a variation on the adage ‘two birds with one stone’ – please excuse the wordplay – in which the synergy of our collaboration is, in fact, redirected and channelled into a strong, focused approach, i.e. the stone, effectively attacking that collaboration from a lateral, yet central, perspective, leading to a striking result. Thank you for your time.

4*. Oh I do beg you pAAhdon – are my birds not specific enough for you? Would you rAAther I used a more specific example? A pheasant, or quail, perhaps? Would you rAAther prefer they were on the grAAss or a pAAth, or the grounds of a cAAstle..? Toodle-fucking-loo, you twat.

(*where AA stands for [aː])

BCLT Summer School – Day 1

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This year’s edition of the BCLT Summer School includes daily creative writing workshops alongside the usual translation matters. I thought I’d post the results for each day on here. For reasons yet undecided. The first workshop was led by Sarah Bower, and involved comparing how P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler create their voices (and styles) through different uses of English. Then, we were asked to rewrite an extract from one author in the voice of the other, and vice versa. The results below:

1. His tea was impeccable. The kind of impeccable that stands out. It was too good. The cup too clean. Clean like a polished gun. Jeeves was good at what he did. Very good. Never heard him come in or leave. Quiet like a thought. Jeeves’ timing was perfect, always. I’d open my eyes, and there he was. Holding a perfect cup, every time. A simple job, sure, but he made an art of it.

2. Now, wasn’t that a ghastly surprise. She was shocked, utterly shocked, I could tell. Or rather, Jeeves did. He could spot the damnedest of details, that man, and never show it. Most amazing thing.

‘Right oh, Jeeves, what happened then? Don’t keep one waiting by dilly-dallying, will you?

‘No, sir.’

‘What was the – what was it, dame? – wearing? A dash of rouge perhaps? What about her hair? Dark as a raven on a summer eve, but with a tinge of age?’

‘Decidedly, sir.’

‘Marvellous, marvellous! And I suppose she’d be wearing some sort of jewellery, some type of accessory as one might find, if so inclined, in a London – no, Parisian salon of utmost standards?’

‘Indeed, sir. Earrings and a cigarette holder.’

‘What ho, terrific writing this Chandler chap of yours! Carry on Jeeves, keep reading – and spiffing job of it too, if I may say so.’

‘Thank you, sir.’

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 23 – The story of my person

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The story of my person
is the story of a giant fear
of being myself,
opposed to the fear of losing myself,
opposed to the fear of the fear.
It could not be otherwise:
in apprehension we lose our memory
in submission everything.
It couldn’t,
my childhood,
pillaged by family,
allow me a stable, concrete maturity.
Nor my solitary life
allow me something less fragile
than this thrashing between worries and insecurities.
I survived childhood,
I survived adulthood.
Almost nothing compared to life.
But I survived.
And now, in the ruins of my being,
something, a firm utopia, is about to bloom.

[Original Italian by Piera Oppezzo (1934-2009).]

NaPoWriMo 2015 Day 16 – April suburb

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Flowerbeds around
where you chased footballs:
and now in the rubble
soiled flowers bloom to the dry breath
of springtime walls.
But in your eyes and in your voice
there is water,
coolness in your depths, rooted
beyond clods and seasons, in what
remains on the tops
damp snow:
and so you rush through every vein
and tell
that remote road still
and the wind
light over gigantic
blue chasms.

[Original Italian by Antonia Pozzi (1912-1938), ‘Periferia in aprile’.]