Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nonsense translation at the Jabberwocky, that is, the Jagiellonian University, Krakow

Krakow  18 May, 2016

There is a gathering. There is a clustering, custarding confluence of nonfluence, here in Krakow. After the extraordinary efforts of Olga Howlonia and Agata Holobut (and please sprinkle a couple of inter-diacritical motes and specks into their names), I found myself back in our nonsense band, on a Mission from Scrod: Olga, Agata, Sirke Happonen, and Björn Sundmark—an alliance forged over continents, conferences, conifers, and scrapyard round-the-back plastic barchairs. Calgary, London, Frankfurt, Malmö, Boston, and forty ways farther yet. And here we all are, as young and as fresh as the day is long, to give a special nonsense panel at Jagiellonian University. We were joined by the chrazy talents of Elzbieta Chrzanowska-Kluchzewska, a Professor at the Jagiellonian, to complete the set, and to talk about nonsense literature in translation. “That’s impossible!” you say (why do you always say that?), but we say nay. Or I did anyway. As you might expect, I rode my Indian nonsense hobbyhorse yet again (with extra bobs and bibbins, and the aforementioned non-linear lollipops). We spoke of translation in Finnish, Swedish, Polish, Marathi, Bengali, and Svengali, all to a most fine-smelling and accommodating crowd of students, professors, and even some sugary owls and cows.

The cold Krakovian rain raved in envy, but we prevailed—huddling forth to a celebratory after-talk lunch in a local spot. The only doleful interloper being what looked like it might be a dessert--or an emo band.

Avoiding a sorrowful end, we made our way to the train station, and a cozy berth, where another joined the band, Karolina Rybicka (whom we thank with flippers, also, for organizing).  As the train chugged anti-Krakowards, we filled the compartment with Swedish and Finnish vocal/nose flute ditties and illicit zubrowka fumes (or perhaps it was vocal/nose flute fumes and zubrowka ditties?).

The old Swedish-Polish battlefields flew by, as we headed to the next and final stop of the Nonsense Tour, Wroclaw, and the Child and the Book conference.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Nonsense train to Poland!

It has been some time since the nonsense train boarded, but here I yam once again--and this time, after purchasing my long yellow leather slab ticket with a blue spanch across it, I'll ride the rails until they begin running in zigzags like one letter Z put next to another Z and the next and the next, until I get to Poland. Poland! Land of the mischievous anti-communist dwarves, of Stanisław Barańczak, Julian Tuwim, and a most remarkable tradition of limerick. You may recall, long-time fans, of two hapless hunks clunking through Poland, seven years ago... and we have the blog entry to prove it.

This time, though, I mean business, which means traveling in a Nonsense Posse, including Björn Sundmark, Olga Howłownia, Sirke Happonen, and Agata Hołobut--all forces of fierce and flamboyant flapdoodle. Our first stop is Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where we will discourse on nonsensical cutlery, taxonomic taxidermy, and tissues of nonsense translation. My focus will be on non-linear lollipops, as seen below:

Another zigzag railway will bring us Wroclaw, and the Child and the Book conference. Our panel there, ostensibly on "play," is a nonsensical frolic through different follyicular foci. I'll be talking about Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories, Paul Bunyan, and American nonsense (excluding politics, which is too sad to mention at the moment).

I'll check in along the way, but until then, on the train I go, to hear the steam hog's nose choked and spit pfisty-pfoost, pfisty-pfoost, pfisty-pfoost, as the train runs on and on to where the railroad tracks run off into the blue sky. Not even the Kings of Egypt with all their climbing camels, and all their speedy, spotted, lucky lizards, ever will have a ride like this.

*note bene: Sandburgian verbiage freely floated here, but I assure you no rootabagas were destroyed in the making.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Guide to Practical Nonsense--a SCBWI India event

A Guide to Practical Nonsense--a SCBWI India event

with Michael Heyman, Colonel of the 5th Nonsense Brigade 

Thursday, May 21  

5:00pm - 6:00pm

Max Mueller Bhavan3, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, India 110001

Literary nonsense has a long tradition, going back to Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Rabindranath Tagore, and Sukumar Ray, all of whom have proven the nobility of this serious and silly, rebellious and strict form. Yet, whether we as writers and illustrators strive to work solidly in the tradition of nonsense, or just want our work to shine a little with the tradition, there are many simple techniques we can use to throw a little, or a lot, of nonsense into our books for children. In this talk, Michael Heyman gives a guide onwhat nonsense is and how to use it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A blodacious blog on my visit to SDSU

The degree of my slithiness is still a matter of conjecture, this recent blog from Meg Mardian, about my trip to SDSU for nonsensical Carrollian conversation, only adding to the controversial and convivial conflagration:

San Diego State University Children's Literature blog...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SDSU Children's Literature: Beware the Nonsense, Dear Reader: Dr. Heyman’s Presentation Recap

Blog summary of Dr. Heyfrog's Alice in Wonderland 150th Anniversary lecture at SDSU

“Ladies and Gentle Frogs,” an expression taken from Dr. Michael Heyman’s opening address to Wednesday’s presentation, is being recycled here to re-invoke the proper tone that is needed to cover the topic of nonsense. It is indeed curious and peculiar to identify and question, how and why Alice has become a name and a figure recognized through several generations.  To answer this question, Dr. Heyman evoked the spirit of Charles Ludwig Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll) and took the audience down the rabbit hole with his “Magic Lantern Show.” [Click here to read the rest!]
SDSU Children's Literature: Beware the Nonsense, Dear Reader: Dr. Heyman’s Presentation Recap

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Alice Turns 150! Public lecture on Alice and nonsense at San Diego State

Michael Heyman
Public Lecture
Alice in Wonderland One Hundred Fifty Years Later: A New Magic Lantern Phantasmämphigory
March 4, 2015
5:00PM- 5:50 (followed by questions and discussion until 6:30PM)

The National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, with support from the Instructionally Related Activities fund, the Departmentof English and Comparative Literature, and the SDSU Library, is happy to announce a lecture by Professor Michael Heyman, noted poet, scholar, and musician. Michael's lecture concerns Lewis Carroll’s Alice and his Alice books—the first of which, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is celebrating its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year!

Michael Heyman travels to sunny San Diego all the way from Boston, where he is a professor at Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, Michael teaches courses on Children’s Literature, Poetry, Arthropodiatry, and Nonsensical Nunchaku. When not teaching, he writes poetry, plays saxophone, and carries out scholarly investigations in various areas of esoterica—including the parararational, pataphysical, and nonsensical). 

Professor Heyman is a world-renowned scholar and writer of literary nonsense and children’s literature. He has edited The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense (2007), and his poems and stories for children can be found in The Puffin Book of Bedtime Stories (2005), The Moustache Maharishi and other unlikely stories (2007), and This Book Makes No Sense: Nonsense Poems andWorse (2012), which he also edited.

Of his talk, the good doctor writes: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland lives one hundred fifty years after its publication not because Alice is a princess in a literary fairy tale, not because of our own flirtation with Charles Dodgson and Alice Liddell, and not because Alice has become embedded in our culture as innocent, vixen, or queen of psychedelia; rather, Alice in Wonderland lives because of its uneasy balance of all of these things and more. Its genius lies in what it does more than what it is. And what it does is nonsense. This talk, part magic lantern show and part paean to Lewis Carroll’s nonsense literature, does the unthinkable: it separates analysis from interpretation, it values the cart over the load. It offers the greatness of Alice as a teasing and tempting nonsense process, in its ability, like Humpty Dumpty, always to leave egg on our faces.”

The lecture is open to the public and we encourage students, community members, and faculty to join us!