full name / name of organization:
Announcing: An Anthology of World Nonsense
We seek submissions of translations of verse or prose nonsense literature
from cultures outside the Anglo-American tradition. We are collecting folk
nonsense of the "High Diddle Diddle" type, literary nonsense of the "Walrus
and the Carpenter" type, and pop culture nonsense, such as some Bollywood
Please send original language text (if possible) and a literal translation.
If you also have a more polished English translation, you may submit it.
Any explanatory/translation notes would be appreciated.
Deadline: January 15th, 2009
Michael Heyman Kevin Shortsleeve
The Berklee College of Music The University of Winnipeg
What Nonsense Is:
Nonsense texts usually exist somewhere between perfect sense, on one hand,
and absolute gibberish on the other. They achieve this by maintaining a
balance between elements that seem to make sense and elements that do not.
Nonsense texts often revel in topsy-turvyness and inversions of natural
laws or hierarchical laws of order and place. They are chimerical
constructions typified by excessive randomness, often celebrating the
impossible and playing with temporal and spatial confusion. They ennoble
anomaly while simultaneously rejecting the expected, the orderly and the
everyday. These characteristics of nonsense create the effect of
questioning commonly endorsed systems, such as linguistics and logic.
Nonsense seems to allude to an alien and impenetrable alternative system of
authority that rejects established order. Nonsense can be poetry or prose,
and it can appear in the guise of any genre or form, including but not
limited to short story, novel, travel writing, ballad, sonnet, limerick,
song, folk rhymes and tales, lullaby, recipe, and alphabet.
What Nonsense Is Not:
Nonsense is not riddles Nonsense is not jokes
Nonsense is not light verse Most fantasy is not nonsense
Not all nursery rhymes are nonsense Not all limericks are nonsense
The following examples from English tradition point to the styles and
genres for which we are looking. We seek similarly styled poems and prose
nonsense from continental Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania
and Central and South America.
â€¢ Certain nursery rhymes like "Hey Diddle Diddle" which paint unlikely and
seemingly meaningless scenarios, or examples from children's oral folklore
like "One Bright Day in the Middle of the Night," which posits a list of
â€¢ Examples from prose folklore like The Brother's Grimm "Clever Elsie", in
which Elsie cannot remember whether she is she, or whether someone else is she.
â€¢ Passages from mummers' plays and other carnivalesque traditions in which
the world is turned upside down and absurdity reigns supreme.
Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" or "Hunting of the Snark," Edward Lear's "Owl
and the Pussycat" or "The Four Little Children Who Went Round the World,"
Carl Sandburgâ€™s Rootabaga Stories, Edward Gorey's The Iron Tonic or The
Epiplectic Bicycle, John Ciardi's "Sylvester," Laura Richards'
"Eletelephony," Shel Silverstein's "If the World Was Crazy."
Some Authors We Are Considering:
(Germany) Christian Morganstern, "The Picket Fence"
(India) Sukumar Ray, "Glibberish-Gibberish"
(South Africa) Philip de Vos, The Cinderella of Worcester and other Lusty
(Portugal) Fernando Pessoa, "Poema Pial"
(Poland) Jerzy Harasymowicz, "A Green Lowland of Pianos"
(France) Guillaume Apollinaire, "Hat-tomb"
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Received on Sun Dec 14 2008 - 14:37:02 EST