Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Tenth Rasa Takes Over the World! --Seeking help and submissions

Though it may be hamboneheaded and bongusbrained, the next nonsense project that I am working on, with a colleague, and in conjunction with the Society for the Prevention of Sense (SFPS), is the World Anthology of Nonsense. Yes, indeed, and I would like YOUR help. As you might imagine, India is fairly well-covered (I hope, at least!), but we are looking for nonsense texts from other non-Western countries for possible inclusion in the world anthology. See the Nonsense Call into the Wild, below for details... and please do write if you can provide any help, translations, leads, or tips.

The World Anthology of Nonsense

We seek submissions, skillful translations, suggestions and any clues that will aid us in our search for nonsense literature from cultures outside the Anglo-American tradition, to be compiled in a large single volume anthology. We seek both folk nonsense of the "High Diddle Diddle" type and literary nonsense of the "Walrus and the Carpenter" type. We seek both verse and prose.

What Nonsense Is Not:

Nonsense is not riddles
Nonsense is not jokes
Nonsense is not light verse
Nonsense is not fantasy
Nonsense is not puns
Not all nursery rhymes are nonsense
Not all limericks are nonsense
A text that contains all of these could still be nonsense, butdespite them rather than because of them...

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. 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.

~ How To Spot Nonsense from a Long Way Away ~

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.


Folk Nonsense

Certain nursery rhymes like "Hey Diddle Diddle" or "Sing a Song of Six Pence", which paint inconsequential, unlikely and seemingly meaningless scenarios.

Examples from children's oral folklore like "One Bright Day in the Middle of the Night", which posits a list of impossible juxtapositions.

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.

Passages from mummers' plays and other carnivalesque traditions in which the world is turned upside down and absurdity reigns supreme.

Literary Nonsense

Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" or "Hunting of the Snark," Edward Lear's "Owl and the Pussycat" or "The Dong With the Luminous Nose,", 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 Limericks
(Portugal) Fernando Pessoa, "Poema Pial"
(Poland) Jerzy Harasymowicz, "A Green Lowland of Pianos"
(France) Guillaume Apollinaire, "Hat-tomb"

The Editors are Michael Heyman (Berklee College of Music, and of course the head editor of The Tenth Rasa) and Kevin Shortsleeve (University of Winnipeg)

If you can help us in any way, by providing a text or a tip, please write to me! All help will be fully acknowledged in the book. Many thanks!