Monday, April 3, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #3 - The Lens of Language

A view juxtaposing language and culture.
This is the largest statue of Nichiren in Japan.
Sado Island, Japan.
Our prompt for the third day of NaPoWriMo 2017 is one that looks at language.  It is common enough to find poems with a word or line in another language, but have you explored this yourself, as a writer?  As we know, language is far more than a kind of code, it is an integral part of culture and how we form and express thoughts.

Prompt #3:  Write a poem with one line in a foreign language.  Do you expect your reader to be able to understand the line?  How does it work in the poem if the reader understands it literally, or not?  How does having multiple languages in your poem change the experience of reading the poem?  Is the change used for emphasis, to evoke a cultural association, or to express emotion?  Consider the answers to these questions as you craft your poem.

If you want something more specific, try writing your poem two ways, with long line lengths, and then short line lengths, and see how this works for you.

And of course, as usual, I'll be trying to imagine how to do this through a speculative theme like science fiction, fantasy, or horror.  I might try a fictitious language like Tolkien's elven tongue, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credit:  My picture taken by me on Sado Island, Japan.

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