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November arrives, it brings with it a symphony of
colors, an embrace of transition, and a whisper of
reflection. In this edition of the Spoken Word
Poetry newsletter, the opportunity to delve into
the rich tapestry of emotions that this enchanting
season evokes for all who enjoy the ‘mad art’.
with its crisp air and golden foliage, serves as a
muse for our poetic endeavors. Within its rustling
leaves and dusky evenings, we uncover the timeless
symbols of change, gratitude, and resilience.
excited for several upcoming events including a
reading of the “Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R.
Tolkien” - details below.
When I think about November and our transit through
it, I am reminded that it is often the realm of
memories and how important it is to listen and
understand what they mean for all of us. Through
this meditation we explore the interplay between
nature's metamorphosis and the human spirit,
finding solace and inspiration in the timeless
rhythm of the falling leaves.
Poetry has an exciting competition for new and
emerging poets that has a grand prize of $3,500
plus publication of your submissions.
Deadline is November 30, 2023.
in the artistry of language and the profound depth
of emotion that poetry illuminates can create some
inspiring creative work. One of the common
drills I work at is with Transcreation. There
are so many tools you can use to understand the
works of foreign language poets and poems; and
possibly create something new.
through the poetic nuances of November, allows
embrace of not only memory, but also the present
moment. If there is ever a time in each year to
reconnect with what’s important, it certainly would
be the paradox of November; a season of the soul in
motion and at rest.
a seasonal reflection is shared by poet Reyn Kinzey
Dragons, an excellent
collection of his poems I read back in July) about
the season at the end of the newsletter. Well
worth a moment’s reading.
you an autumn of poetic discoveries and heartfelt
Jersey Shore poets Evelyn Hampton and Flora Higgins had
full audience in attendance at the Ocean Township Library on October
21st for their readings of poems regarding cats, dogs and horses (the
horse being the State Animal of New Jersey). Great reading
selections were enjoyed by the audience and they broke the Guiness
world record of vocal annunciation of long voiced sounds of “Awwwwww”
in a single hour. :-)
Another great program for poetry along the Jersey Shore.
The Father Christmas Letters
We are happy to announce that our next Spoken Word
project at the Elberon Library will be a reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s
collection of letters he wrote over two decades during the
Christmas season entitled, ‘The Father Christmas Letters’.
These letters, composed over a period of 23 years, were sent annually
to Tolkien's children during the Christmas season. They were intended
as a delightful and imaginative way for Tolkien to engage with his
children and share stories and adventures from the North Pole, where
Father Christmas (Santa Claus) resides.
In these letters, Tolkien created a fictional character
named Father Christmas, who writes to Tolkien's children about the
happenings at the North Pole, including the antics of the North Polar
Bear and the mischievous North Polar Bear's helper. Each letter is
beautifully illustrated and includes charming stories, poems, and
This program will be performed at the Elberon Libraryon
December 9, 2023. Doors will open at 6:00 pm; performance at
6:30 pm. Seasonal refreshments will be available.
Welcome to the 2023 Award for New Poets!
Awarding $3,500 + Publication
New and emerging poets, this is your moment to shine!
This fall, we’re delighted to bring back our Award for
New Poets! We’re looking to uplift an up-and-coming poet, with no
more than one full-length collection forthcoming or published at the
time of submission. We award $3,000 for the winning poem, selected by
our guest judge. Our second- and third-place winners receive $300 and
$200, respectively. All three winners will be published.
Our judge this year is torrin a. greathouse, whose
“Burning Haibun” Frontier Poetry first published in 2017, and who is
now an award-winning poet and professor. We love seeing a poet’s
origins and the many ways they move and grow in their work, and this award
is an opportunity for us to help you along that path! Send us your
innovative poems, your passion projects, the work you can’t wait for
the world to share in!
James Dalton, one of a group of performance readers for
our spoken word events will be sharing his storytelling talents at
The Showroom Cinema in Asbury Park on November 16th-17th.
It is enjoyable evening as weaves his experiences of being part
of the Jersey Shore communities.
Transcreation: An Exercise in Innovative Skill Building
in Translating Poetry
Transcreation in poetry refers to the process of
recreating a poem in one language while capturing its essence, tone,
and cultural nuances, rather than providing a direct translation.
Unlike traditional translation, which focuses on preserving the
literal meaning, transcreation allows for adaptation and creative
interpretation to maintain the emotional impact and artistic
integrity of the original work. This approach is particularly
valuable when dealing with poetry, where the use of language and
imagery plays a central role in conveying the poet's message.
One notable example of transcreation is the adaptation
of the Japanese haiku into English. The strict syllabic structure and
cultural context of the haiku pose a challenge for direct
translation. Transcreation in this case involves not only rendering
the syllabic form accurately but also capturing the essence of the
seasonal reference, often deeply embedded in the Japanese cultural
and natural landscape. A transcreator may choose to utilize English
imagery and language that evokes a similar response in the reader as
the original Japanese poem intended.
However, a transcreated version could emphasize the
tranquility of the scene, evoking the imagery in English that
captures the same emotional response as the Japanese original, such
In the still pond
a frog's gentle
This example illustrates how transcreation can retain
the essence and emotional resonance of a poem across different
languages and cultures, ensuring that the beauty and impact of the
original work are not lost in translation.
If you’re interested in exploring Transcreation further,
another example can be found by clicking here.
"On this Sabbath eve, leaves
voice a crinkled sound;
Young man treads, amidst woods,
ax held strong and true,
Beside stream, where Autumn's
gems' colours are found,
Topaz swirls sparkled reflect in
With shoulders bent, he carries
wood with a grace,
A load of warmth, for hearth and
home now await,
His heart aglow, within finds a
Where crackling fires soon sooth
an inner estate.
At night, gazed in wonder of
streaking star's flight,
A dazzling show, 'neath dark
Finds peace within, westering's
And promise of love bestowed
dearly upon home.
Novembrum eases soul's
In every silent, earnest and
- S.R. Goodman, 'Novembrum'
POETRY AND PLANTS
Join Project Write Now for an afternoon of celebrating
poetry and plants alike. In partnership with Kula Urban Farm, this
free community event kicks off with a writing workshop. Attendees are
encouraged to experience the farm, an herbal tea offering from MotMot
Collective, and the plants surrounding them in the greenhouse, and
spend some time writing based on this inspiration. Immediately
following is an open mic, during which everyone has an opportunity to
share what they wrote and/or a previously written piece. Any sort of
ode to plants is a bonus!
Join ABC partner Project Write Now for a fun evening of
storytelling, conversation, and community! Using creative prompts, we
generate new writing and then share our work. (Outside pieces are
welcome too, but they must be your own work, 500 words or less, and
align with PWN’s mission to provide a supportive environment.) If you
would like to read, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the readers list. Come to write, read, or listen! Your
story matters and we want to hear it!
Reyn Kinzey, author of the Sleeping
Dragons anthology (and active reader of the Spoken Word Poetry
Newsletter), shared this thoughtful reflection with me last month and
asked if he would let me send it with this month’s newsletter.
A FEW WORDS ON DAY OF THE DEAD
By the time I was 35 both my
parents and my best friend were dead. Death is sadly all around us.
During the pandemic, I lost two more close friends, not to Covid: one
was literally hit by a truck; the other died from heart failure. He
was the only one of my friends to die from semi-natural causes.
I’ve written elsewhere that
when someone you love dies, you never really get “over it;” you learn
to get around it. You plan your day; you have some fun at night; and
you don’t dwell on the loss. Usually that works, but sometimes things
make me remember my parents and I have to struggle not to tear up.
We all think we know about the
Day of the Dead, Halloween, and All Saints. In the Catholic
tradition, the entire month of November is given over to the
remembrance of the departed.
But the tradition goes back
beyond the coming of Christianity. Our Celtic ancestors celebrated
the festival of Samhain at the end of October and the beginning of
November. It was a harvest festival, but it also marked the start of
a new year, and the division of darkness and light. The entire
harvest had to be brought in by Samhain so that none of it would be
at risk of the dark forces of winter.
Samhain was also a time when
the traveling dead could visit the living. They could speak to us in
dreams of Halloween.
Pope Gregory the Great urged
his Christian missionaries not to destroy local pagan customs, but to
sanctify them to the light of Christ. So, Samhain became the festival
of All Saints, on November 1, and the night before, All Hallows Eve,
Halloween. We celebrate now with candy for children, but behind it
all, the dead cling to us or we to them. They speak, but we do not
know how to answer; we cannot fully articulate our loss.
And so we wait, from year to
changing year, celebrating the seasons as long as the light lasts.
Reyn Kinzey’s next anthology
Chasing Dragons is nearing publication, and we’ll provide notice when
it becomes available.