NaPoWriMo 2016 FPR Impromptu 17 Myth Aspects of Live Questions





The FPR Impromptu challenge for Day 17 comes from poet, Jeff Griffin. Find the full post and more information about Jeff, as well as links to poems by other poets participating here:




Here are the instructions for the prompt itself:

  1. Get a book of poetry, preferably a shorter title, one that can be read in about an hour, and one you won’t mind highlighting.
  2. Read through it all in one sitting, highlighting all the words, phrases and lines that you find remarkable.
  3. When finished, go back to the beginning and transcribe chronologically all the highlighted text into a word processor, but do not include any of the punctuation. Just type up one big run-on sentence text block.
  4. Copy and paste your text block into Google Translate. Translate it back and forth between multiple languages at least five times. Then translate back to English. The newly translated/mangled text block will have some semblance to the original language you found remarkable—it’ll be in the same ballpark—but due to what gets lost (or added) in translation, as well as the fact that there is no punctuation for the translator to gauge, it will likely be completely strange, providing unexpected/new/altered/mistranslated words and attempts at sentences.
  5. Take this raw material and edit as you see fit until you have formed your poem.


I selected a short book of poetry, Ardour, by Nicole Brossard, translation by Angela Carr. Coach House Books, 2015

Here are the words and phrases, in a single paragraph as instructed.

“in the shadow of the species in the hollows of living languages in the sounding of time today the unnameable humanity in its salty vertigo proficient with knots and ardour the hard pits of  words the colour of silence the alphabets intersected counting the bones the sea’s blue wounds between apparitions before forgetfulness the sea fused with salt there are the missing women who loved olives long sounds from throat all that breathes to forget nothing not afraid of  disappearing the flavours of saffron and salt of numerals and light beyond the barbed wire a myth in each face a sky of questions lives spin  to the sea the silence in light the air is opaque night trembles on the tongue”

Using the translator, I translated into Spanish, then Hungarian, French, German and Italian and finally English again.  Here is what I used as my source text for the poem I created:

the shadow of the species in wells of solar time modern languages now responsible for countless human pieces of dizziness and salt wells in harsh colors flames words still count in alphabetical order blue wounds bone sea
women disappeared between appearances before the molten sea salt from the scene I loved the olive tones, while breathing in the throat a bit ‘scared, do not forget the number of escape aromas saffron and salt and the light is too pungent myth of all aspects of live questions hand sky to the sea, the light the silence of the dark night air chills in the language


I then remixed, setting aside words that I might insert later to produce this poem, with only a handful of words not used at all. The title too comes from the source textL


Myth Aspects of Live Questions


The light is too pungent. Air
chills the shadow of the species

in wells of solar time
modern languages escape

in the language of the sea
countless human pieces.

Dizziness flames, salt wells in harsh colors
words still count in alphabetical order.

Women disappeared between appearances
before the molten sea salt wounds blue bone.

I love the olive tones
breathing in the throat,

do not forget the aromas
of saffron and salt.

The light, the silence of the dark night
hand the sky to the sea.

Salt along the shore of the Dead Sea

Salt along the shore of the Dead Sea (Wikipedia)


Carol A. Stephen
April 17, 2016


English: Shadow of the human

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