Last week’s writing exercise, a translation, left me with a poem that was far from a translation. Did anyone else have this experience? I attempted to translate “La langue de ma mère,” a French poem. I have a decent grasp of the French language, but I knew translating poetry would be different than reading news articles in French. It was challenging, but not impossible. However, as I started translating, I began to like the idea of using English words that sonically mimicked the French words, not necessarily the words that they translated to. So I started mixing– translating a phrase, then using English words similar in sound. Eventually, I started taking just bits and pieces from the translation that I liked, and the poem became an entirely different one that was a lot more me than the original poem. Sure, I copped out of doing a true translation. But, I think it was pretty fruitful. It’s a whole new kind of “stealing” that I’d never thought to try.