Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today we are two-thirds done with April, and entering the home stretch of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo.
Today, our featured participant is Vijaya Sundaram, whose didactic poem for Day 19 will teach you how to clean your house!
Our featured poet in translation is Denmark’s Inger Christensen. Christensen was an experimentalist, but that doesn’t mean her poems don’t have heart. Her book-length litany, Alphabet, for example, seems at first to be an odd, mathematically-circumscribed work, but builds gradually and through repetition into an emotionally complex reflection on the horrors of atomic warfare. Three of her poems, translated into English, can be found here, another here, and an excerpt of the first sections of Alphabet here.
And finally, our prompt (optional, as always)! Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing!