122.4: Jordan Reynolds:: Aquatic Park & Narcissus & Ballad of the Dead Boy 122

Jack Spicer, in his book After Lorca, developed a process of creation/translation that he referred to as "poetry as dictation." The resulting poems were part-translation and part-channeling of Federico Garcia Lorca, a process that went beyond faithful translations to bring Lorca back to life, to create new words emanating from the voice of his ghost. In the poems below, Jordan Reynolds continues that tradition of poetry as dictation and seeks to expand Spicer's belief of the poet as "radio" to incorporate new technologies: computers, audio speech-to-text programs, and translation engines. Reynolds' four-step process (see the postscript note) returns Spicer's words to the Spanish through speech-to-text dictation, then sends them through Google translate back into English that gets crafted into a poetic continuation of Spicer's project. What gets produced in Reynolds' computerized séance with Spicer is a new poem, born out of the digital that finds new words from Spicer as channeled through the magic of programmed algorithms, bits of data floating through the cyberspace cloud. Andrew Wessels

Aquatic Park

Juan sabes soy sincera expansión al domingo tres en uno/dos sacos que onda con a Wendy pases buenas hace pensar que pues fueron pinche bajen el tengo nueve extras charlas son guasa en Salamanca no puedo abrir un poco accesos

John you know I’m honest expansion to Sunday three in one / two bags that Wendy’s with good passes suggests that they were fucking down theextras I have nine lectures in Salamanca are kidding I can not open a bitaccesses

John you know I’m honest expansion to Sunday three in one / two bags [a wave] that Wendy’s with good passes suggests that they were fucking [tap/click/puncture/please click]  down the extras I have nine lectures in Salamanca are kidding I can not open a bitaccesses

       after “Aquatic Park”

Honestly, Jack.

Please wait until
Sunday. Three good waves

pass only two measures
wind. The holes suggest

our extra time lost.
Come to my lectures

in the Palacio de Anaya.
Nine times

out of ten, I’m kidding.

I can not open
the smaller spaces.


Las esas personas voy sin saber ser como antes chao ahí que ponen cervezas propagandas nuevos modos los no pude terminar todo yo pagaba ese fondo en su gorra por que la disfruten vamos ganando los más sólo para uso haces guapa antes por gusto

The not knowing these people going to be like before there bye beercommercials that put the new ways I could not finish everything I paid the fund in his cap by winning let you enjoy the most beautiful only for you before for fun

The not knowing [unaware] these people going to be like before there bye [ciao] beer commercials [advertisements/propaganda] that put the new ways [new forms/new modes] I could not finish everything I paid the fund in his cap by winning [gaining/earning] let you enjoy [could also be “enjoy her”] the most beautiful only for [only for use] you before for fun [also by choice/for nothing]

       after “Narcissus”

Drunken goodbyes and all
unknown, except

for the new kinds of advertising.

I could not finish everything
but earned the feather in my hat.
Enjoy me.

The most beautiful choice
happens before fun
for nothing.

Ballad of the Dead Boy

Acabo de tu tiempo hoy echando el sin reclamar enviaste ninguna hora enviaste un capullo antes que voy haciendo me puse tenso estaba haciendo menos oye el bueno windsurf monas tico abrí buen tiempo y comiendo Pachuca santos cojones grandes ahorros de ti y eso pues. Gómez Méndez que vos muchacho porque nos cae ponerme iba tu buen cabrón Juan Fernando Escobar ni puñetera no me hubiera hecho adentro jugar el buen suave no vernos en este año instalando todo saludo Luis loco ahí puesto para duchado mañana usted tengo nota en ps a quien yo o

Just throwing your time today on unreclaimed sent no time you sent a cocoon before making me tensed I was doing less good windsurfing hearmonkeys opened tico good time and eating Pachuca holy fuck big savingsfor you and that. Gomez Mendez boy because we like you would get your good bastard fucking Juan Fernando Escobar and I had not done in goodsoft play this year not to see us all hail Louis installing there as crazy foryou I have showered morning ps note to whom I or

Just throwing [casting/pouring/laying] your time today on unreclaimed [without demanding] sent no time [any hours] you sent a cocoon [a bud/an asshole/a jerk] before making me tensed I was doing less good windsurfing hear monkeys [specifically female/also a nickname: cute] opened tico [Costa Rican] good time and eating Pachuca [urban dictionary: latin street girl who is in a gang] holy [saints] fuck big savings for you and that. Gomez Mendez boy because we like you would get your good bastard fucking Juan Fernando Escobar and I had not done in good soft [gentle/smooth/mild] play this year not to see us all hail Louis installing there as crazy for you I have showered morning ps note to whom I or

No Time Also Any Hours
       after “Ballad of the Dead Boy”

Pour out your time today
without demanding flowers.

I was windsurfing
when I found my Costa Rican cutie.

Over there, the quarter kept for saints who fucked
and were eaten by holy leather whores.

Granada, you are a fucking bastard.

The gentle year is blind to us,
insane in our devotion.

I showered the morning
and showed you.

A Note on the Process:
This “translation” project attempts to respond to Jack Spicer’s After Lorca by utilizing a system of invention that engages with Spicer’s concept of the poet-as-receiver. The static produced by each iteration mostly refuses the poet’s involvement in choosing the language, producing poems that are fundamentally received (via the process). “A really perfect poem,” as Spicer notes in one of his letters to Lorca, “has an infinitely small vocabulary.” To make the poems, I do the following:

1. I read each poem into an iPhone application called Dragon Naturally Speaking, dictation software that turns speech into digital text. I switched the application’s language recognition to Spanish, so that any audio received is automatically assumed Spanish so that the input is Spicer’s English and the output is garbled Spanish. This version of each poem is labeled “DRAGON.”

2. I then take the “DRAGON” text and run it through Google Translate, asking the software to take the Spanish and turn it back into English. This step produces randomized arbitrary syntactic connections between the garbled Spanish words and produces garbled English. This draft is labeled “TRADUCTOR.”

3. I then focus on “enhancing” the English “translation.” I use various dictionaries to find alternate English translations of the primary Spanish words from the original dictated Spanish text. I also research geographical/historical or other connotations that occur by chance in the original dictations. I use brackets to “enhance” or provide context for each of the words/language units in the translated English draft, and track where I find the information. For research about proper names and places, I typically use a simple Google search and pull information at-random from the results. This draft of the poem is labeled “TRADUCTOR PLUS.”

4. To draft my version of each poem attempts to collect the nuances in the Spanish and English versions, leaving intact as much of the original dictated text’s language and syntax as possible. To begin, I read Spicer’s original poem as a guide for tone/form/sound, and then work through multiple versions of each line/group of lines. The transition of each word through the various processes gives it a history that is entirely private within each poem, and allows for a system of connections to ambulate in complete originality. The poem derives its own language and symbolic system.

The end result of this process is essentially a mistranslation (as Paul Legault has called it); something misheard or dreamt. The poems, then, mirror Spicer’s own imagined correspondence with Lorca, and attempt to answer his voice with another.