In February 2017, Eileen R. Tabios — my "poet sister" and "verse kumadre" — published Your Father Is Bald, a history and collection of the hay(na)ku form, which Eileen invented in 2003. I happen to be the namer of the hay(na)ku . . . a portmanteau pun on "haiku" and the Philippine expression "hay naku" (kinda like "oy vey" or "oh my god").
Your Father Is Bald, put out by PIM Publishing House in Romania, is trilingual — in English, Spanish, and Romanian — and Eileen invited me to be a "guest poet" in the book. So my hay(na)ku poem "Blue Bravura" appears there, my first time being translated into other languages.
If you're not familiar with the hay(na)ku, it's basically a tercet with one word in the first line, two words in the second line, and three words in the third line — a deceptively simple form that is amazingly flexible and expressive. This 1-2-3 patterning produces the book's title. "Your Father Is Bald" comes from the Philippine nursery rhyme "isa, dalawa, tatlo, and tatay mo'y kalbo"; in English this translates into "one, two, three, your father is bald." Much more fun in Filipino!
Here is my poem next to the Spanish and the Romanian versions.
This poem goes back to April 26, 2012, when I featured on the blog the Griffin Lit wiki where Danielle Filas and her sixth graders at Village Academy Schools in Powell, Ohio, were posting NaPoWriMo poems. That day was The Academy of American Poets' "national poem in your pocket day" and I wrote this poem in tribute to that inspiring class of young poets. Those kids are now juniors in high school. I hope some of them are still writing poems!
By the way, the Spanish translation is by Diana Dragomirescu; the Romanian by Gabriela Apetrei, Elena Țăpean, Ioana Agafiței, and Irina Secărescu. I love their work except that both translations, strangely, leave out the word "crocodile" in line 27.
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Ingat, everyone. ヅ
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