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even the taste / of the lotus

October 11, 2012

from the Isle of the Lotus Eaters in the Odyssey, translated by myself and the illustrious Google Translate.

*

even the taste / of the lotus…

We delayed fresh water in Japanese, and Sen
began eating bugs,

Lotus, and food, and all kinds
of flowers: in clean water,
there is a difference.

Hoa Sen is delicious.
The embryos survive and the lotus
with Hoa Sen.

We wept bitterly,
forced back by the train. We wept bitterly and
took our seats.

I told the rest of the table,
even the flavor
of Lotus…

They wanted to leave
and return, to leave and return, and hit
the gray sea with their paddles.

I returned to ask, what is happening,
and to survive: fetuses with the Lotus
with Hoa Sen, without further thought.

He was crying when armageddon forced
the return of the spacecraft.

He told the members of the Board of Governors,
even the taste
of Lotus…

they want to leave and return, to leave
and return, and click
on the Black Sea Castle.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2012 4:49 pm

    Fascinating stuff. I think in an email you said this was generated from a cut-up program, right? I’m curious what your authoring style is. I mean, do you just select and rearrange passages from the cut-up output? (which is the approach I use with programs like ePoGeeS and charNG)

    There are some beautiful repetitions there, sitting alongside some unusual images; it’s a little jarring at first, but it can be read as reflecting the dreamlike effects of the Lotus. I’m guessing the repetitions come from the brevity of the corpus; Gutenberg’s english translation, by Samuel Butler, has the Lotus-eaters encounter as:

    “I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon
    the sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the
    Lotus-eaters, who live on a food that comes from a kind of
    flower. Here we landed to take in fresh water, and our crews got
    their mid-day meal on the shore near the ships. When they had
    eaten and drunk I sent two of my company to see what manner of
    men the people of the place might be, and they had a third man
    under them. They started at once, and went about among the
    Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the
    lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off
    caring about home, and did not even want to go back and say what
    had happened to them, but were for staying and munching lotus
    {77} with the Lotus-eaters without thinking further of their
    return; nevertheless, though they wept bitterly I forced them
    back to the ships and made them fast under the benches. Then I
    told the rest to go on board at once, lest any of them should
    taste of the lotus and leave off wanting to get home, so they
    took their places and smote the grey sea with their oars.

    with the footnote:

    {77} cf. “Il.” ii. 776. The words in both “Iliad” and “Odyssey”
    are [Greek]. In the “Iliad” they are used of the horses of
    Achilles’ followers as they stood idle, “champing lotus.”

    So it’s easy to see the origin of some of the repetitions such as “leave and return”. I’m guessing that “Hoa Sen” and “Japanese” come from a footnote of the edition you used, and some of the unusual images such as the spacecraft and armageddon come from noise in Google Translate.

    Would you be able to post the original, which I think you said was in Portuguese? (I’m fluent in Spanish and speak a bit of Italian and French, so I can usually get the sense of most words.)

    • October 13, 2012 5:01 pm

      I was so busy this week, I neglected to introduce our new member, illiterate1 (love the username), who is one of two people who e-mailed me this past week about possibly joining the blog. Sorry for the confusion, edde, with the other person’s e-mail I forwarded to you. I hope our other member will sign up soon.

      If you could write a short introduction of yourself and the project you are working on, illitarate1, I think we would all be appreciative.

  2. Eric Elshtain permalink
    October 15, 2012 12:50 pm

    Welcome! Those last three stanzas are incredible.

  3. October 21, 2012 11:17 am

    eddeaddad, eRoGk7k and Eric,

    Eric: thanks for the warm welcome–I look forward to reading more experiments here at Gnoetry Daily.

    eRoGK7 and All: I’m not working on a project so much as I am an on-and-off dabbler with various kinds of “inorganic” methods of composition. In my own writing, I’m more likely to incorporate particular instances of procedurally-/mechanically-generated language than to go totally cyborg–but when the mood strikes me I give the robot free reign. The last of five poems posted here, for example, was produced simply by deleting everything but the first word in each line of A. R. Ammons’ “hymn”:

    http://www.counterexamplepoetics.com/2012/09/voices-inthe-wilderness-i.html

    eddeaddad: You’ve already located the original–I didn’t use the footnote. As to method, I started with the English and ran it back and forth from English to any number of languages using Google translate. I did this at least 50 times with the passage as a block of prose (the transformations are more satisfying when Google has more context/syntax to work with/disfigure) saving a copy of each transformation, then went back and selected and lineated my favorites. Here, for example, is a transformation of a transformation from later in the process:

    Chinese –> Ukranian –> Croatian –> Swedish –> Czech –> Spanish –> Danish –> Slovenian –> Dutch –> Slovak –> Filipino –> English:

    Wind energy is a bad nine days, and Wednesday, the tenth day we arrived in the area, which is one of the Lotus, food and flowers. The delay in fresh water in japanese, and our ship off the coast. In the event that he was drunk, the first [Lily] qualifications for men in the population of these two places, and not a third party in this matter. How it started many errors, but I Lotus and tasty dishes on the left front of the house, you do not want to go back and say that what is happening, but the survival of fruit and Lotus Lotus hostages without further reflection, amargament called if forced to return the ship and quick solutions. But he said that other members of the Council, at the same time, but the flavor and Lotus wants to leave and return [of]), location and click on the Black Sea Castle.

    Eric and eddeaddad: thanks for the compliments–I’ll pass them on to Google, too.

    -Matt

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