We’re Off to the Races!
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the first day of NaPoWriMo 2016. I hope you’re excited for the challenge of writing a poem each day for the month of April.
As in prior years, we’ll be featuring a participant each day, and giving you an optional prompt. In years past, we’ve also featured a daily new book of poetry, magazine, or poetry-themed website. This year, we’ll be doing something a little bit different. Every day, we’ll be featuring a different poet who writes in a language other than English, but whose work is available in English translation, working our way from east to west.
Without further ado, today’s featured participant is Veronica Hosking, of Hosking’s Blog. I believe this is Veronica’s third year, at least, of participating in NaPoWriMo!
Our first poet in translation is Japan’s Hiromi Ito. Known for her ability to uncannily represent spoken language on the page, several of her books have been translated into English and, incidentally, she’s a translator herself, having translated Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! into Japanese. But you don’t need to know Japanese to get to know Ito’s work: Poetry International features translations of a number of her poems into English, as well as audio files and essays. Also, one of her books, Wild Grass on the Riverbank, is available in English from Action Books, as well as a selected poems, Killing Konoko.
And now, our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge you to write a lune. This is a sort of English-language haiku. While the haiku is a three-line poem with a 5-7-5 syllable count, the lune is a three-line poem with a 5-3-5 syllable count. There’s also a variant based on word-count, instead of syllable count, where the poem still has three lines, but the first line has five words, the second line has three words, and the third line has five words again. Either kind will do, and you can write a one-lune poem, or write a poem consisting of multiple stanzas of lunes. Happy writing!