J Wagner



after César Vallejo, Trilce, XXXVII

He can ask I do         a nap    O, brim, you chalk a
a queen         con dew         yester licing.
Llamama dress us, her man is coy marbles you tap on
equal sewing for tuned "universe evolver".

Come uncertain one    go see home    i bad mirror a blemish
me rodeo-banned         the errored eye staff    Loredo.
Come over and see vulvic anquish,
you cute ambient soloing throat
Summer male ape and Dido.

My cussed basalt amid A.M.A. rhino
the hue milds a dare also the lost Voltas
your commas open you low trace of a punter,
till diesel, a mellow giraffe aids sub-air June sees.

Use a door ambush Pearl at most a parrot,
keep her semi-negligent         yell so you
you'll ask for a buried day.




after Paul Celan's "Der Sand aus den Urnen"

She mills groans east as how is this verging.
Foray dumb their way ending tore bloating and how peter spell men.
Ear shock deer the trouble house moose and bitter rum shame hair,
whichsoever they/he mauled harems end in a brow.
Longer psychnet airs the halls sever, and that road diner Lippe.
Do false there the earning and specious din hurts.


The auralgraphs are homophonic translations of poems by César Vallejo, Paul Celan, and Pierre Reverdy (not appearing in DIAGRAM). I certainly did not come up with the idea. Maybe the term "auralgraphs" (or ear writings) is new, but that's about it.

I believe my initial interest came via writing experiments mentioned by Bernadette Mayer on the web somewhere. Charles Bernstein's interests in these things, and a phonetic translation of a Henri Michaux poem in Ted Berrigan's The Sonnets, were also components.

I call them "homophonic" translations because this is mostly what they are. But I do take liberties along the way, by deliberately mispronouncing words, or splitting an ending phoneme in one word to conjoin with the beginning phoneme of the next, to form one word, the word I would use in the English. There are other little tricks as well, but either I can't remember them all, or I'm being purposely evasive. Though, probably, the evasion is forgetting me.

I also do not want to make this seem like these pieces were only grounded in philosophical-literary interests. There was really a practical grounding to all of this, as my girlfriend and I had just purchased a Great Dane puppy, which was getting into everything imaginable. I was unable to remain sitting and writing for too long during this time, because of him. The writing of the "auralgraphs" really germinated from a curious puppy. I was able to write a bit of the piece, put it aside when I heard things crashing to the floor in the other room, and return to it when everything was again precariously quiet.