Poetics and Poetry Discussion

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Alice Vedral Rivera Alice Vedral Rivera Female, 65, United States (6/17/2013 6:19:00 PM)

JC, I think that the English as a second language poets are trying to expand their readership either by writing in English or trying to translate their poems into English. Translating poetry into another language is not easy, and even if you know the 2nd spoken language well, the written language is another type of beast. I am very fluent in Czech and it was the only language I spoke until I was 4. I had to go to Czech school every Saturday into my teen years where we were taught grammar, literature, history, geography, culture and even religion (especially as it tied into Czech history) by exiles that were teachers. Even so, it is a chore to translate poetry English/Czech or Czech/English - though Czech/English is a bit easier for me. I'm pretty good with the translations but I would never put up anything in Czech that I hadn't had several people look over and proof read.

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  • Freshman - 644 Points Jefferson Carter (6/18/2013 12:07:00 PM) Post reply
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    Alice, I don't think they're translating from their first to their second language. I think most of them have been brain-washed into thinking poetry in English is the ONLY valid poetry, so they crank out some bouncy rhymes in English, drag a few lines of ragged meter across the page, maybe refresh their memory of the bad 19th-century English poems they were taught in school, and then post on PH for the expected adulation. My suggestion to ALL ESL poets: write in your first language, using all you know about your culture's best poets, esthetics, etc. Then, find a good EFL poet to help you translate the poem into competent English. It would be hard work but the ONLY way to improve as a poet, if that's what you want. If you just want to post self-regarding poop, well....

  • Rookie - 346 Points Alice Vedral Rivera (6/17/2013 6:25:00 PM) Post reply

    The only reason that I am translating my poems into Czech is because my family and friends in the Czech Republic are pressuring me to. I have to say that it is stretching my brain in a good way. Also, I have a very good set of English to Czech translating dictionaries.

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