Coffin, a master of poetic structure, has experimented with many forms: ballad, sonnet, villanelle, haiku. She often builds a poem around the form. When translating, she concentrates not on meaning but on how and why things are said. The meaning, she says, is under the literal words. "Intention is like notes you made about a certain region of the country--like maybe the region is famous for pumpkins. And you go out looking for pumpkins but it's the wrong season for pumpkins and everywhere there are grapes." While she rues the loss of the original in any translation, she stresses that translations are everywhere. "When you get an idea and put it down on paper, you're translating it. When you speak, you translate your thoughts into words; you shape it for your audience--a child, someone who disagrees, someone who knows less or more than you do about the idea--which is everyone!"
Coffin's readings are punctuated with historical and personal anecdotes, and she holds her audience in thrall. This April reading promises to be as mesmerizing as the last. A CD is now available. For more on Lyn Coffin, go to Wikipedia. For more on Laz Slomovitz, go to http://geminichildrensmusic.com.
[Originally published in April, 2012.]