Sunday, November 23, 2008

Padding out English; making it flower(y)

A familiar problem: I'm currently at 15 lines when the original is 17 lines. Metail's Oulipian form is 48 characters per line; 24 lines per page. English is so much more concise than French, and I also think American writers are culturally inclined to say more in less. Laconic is a complimentary adjective here in the U.S. Think Gary Cooper. Clint Eastwood. (Don't think Vince Vaughn.) But to equal 24 to 24 lines, I've got to go against my culture and pad, pad, pad. To circle. To circumbobulate. To say, "The brush of my teeth," rather than "Toothbrush." (Or, after reading Dr. Seuss to Ismael every day, "Nooth Grush.") So much depends on the barrow of my (translation) wheel that is red.


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