Translated & arranged by Richard Dauenhauer after Father Julius Jetté, S.J.
[The riddle in verbal culture is part of the stock-in-trade of academic folklore, but its relation to the poetic image has rarely been explored until recently. The workings presented here were originally published in The Riddle and Poetry Handbook, developed by Richard Dauenhauer (1942-2014) as a project of the Alaska Native Education Board in Anchorage, Alaska. With Nora Dauenhauer, a native Tlingit speaker, Dauenhauer was engaged for many years in translation projects (Tlingit into English, English into Tlingit) aimed at Tlingit-speaking audiences.
In working with Father Julius Jetté’s 1913 notes Dauenhauer set the riddles up as two-part antiphonal texts, the initial image or utterance clarified or deepened by the utterance that followed.
In line with publication of Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present (Poems for the Millennium, volume 5), co-edited with John Bloomberg-Rissman, I’ll be engaged this autumn in the following launches & readings, along with several other talks & solo or group performances:
[What follows is a taste of Jonathan Stalling’s Yíngēlìshī (Counterpath Press), an amazing instance of experimental “translation” or othering (here between, or as a blending of, Chinese & English) that may have been overlooked at the time of its original publication.
[In advance of the expanded third edition of Technicians of the Sacred on which I’m now working, University of California Press is planning to reissue the long out-of-print Symposium of the Whole: A Range of Discourse Toward an Ethnopoetics, edited by Diane Rothenberg & me in 1983. In Symposium, as a kind of natural companion volume to Technicians, we’ve followed the idea of an ethnopoetics from predecessors such as Vico, Blake, Thoreau, & Tzara to more recent essays & manifestos by poets & soci