Each Friday we post one new writing prompt created by a Sarabande author. Prompts like this one are included in our online Reader's Guides along with discussion questions and suggested reading to accompany each title. So if you can't wait a week for the next prompt, visit our Reader's Guide page to find them all in one place!
This week's prompt comes from Patty Crane, translator of Bright Scythe.
Find a poem written in a foreign language that you understand. If English is your only language, try a poem in English that confounds you. Type the original poem and then, below each line, type the literal translation. For English-to-English, try synonyms. Using your dictionaries, include as many options for key words as you can (i.e. for the Swedish word slipar, I might consider grind/ polish/ sharpen/ whet). Copy and paste your literal translation along with the original lines, and begin whittling away the word choices. Try to be as true to idiom and meter as possible and always bring the original lines forward, ideally re-reading them as you go.