19 March 2018

seeing as a well
a pupil pours in or out
birth babies for life

Rachel Wolfe
19 March 2018
Oslo Norway


Google Translate

ser som en brønn
en elev går inn eller ut
fødsel babyer for livet

Haiku på norsk

For a year, I wrote by hand on paper, a haiku-a-day. Then I translated the haikus to Norwegian, using Google Translate. Of course, these translations are not accurate and likely make little sense. This act is a modern enactment of the term: transliterations. Sometimes bad translation can be funny and sometimes they can be rude, or extreme cases fatal.

As a personal endeavour, ask in much of my serious work, I look for ways to transform frustration, through forms of ridicule to ridiculous. Can laughter be a service of mending divided relations, or are such aspirations purely naive in the times we live today.

The project services a study in structure and rules, such that an English poem following the rules of Haiku, are then broken when translated to Norwegian. Is there a way to compose the haikus in Norwegian so they follow rules of haiku? or could such a project be considered futile?

The idea to do this haiku project started with a desire to learn Norwegian. The classes were difficult in that I became so enamoured with studying the etymology of words- the pace of learning was slowed. And in many ways, though deeply frustrating at times still-I learned a great deal about the English language and how I have used words I thought I new their meaning and really, in fact, did not. And if in today’s culture speaking words with different meanings is permitted-then how do we uphold the structures which we rely upon?

Enter the latency of learning. The ripples, halos, after effects of learning and having the learning come around later.

This project now has developed into proposal of The Arctic Residency research project: Gå Sakte.

Exhibition Note: This haiku project I envision as an interactive exhibition, where people can write-in their haikus in their language, and people can translate them as part of playing/learning new cultures. I would like to see a world where things are not all in English, but rather where different languages and cultures can be celebrated for and tolerated in their differences.


strong songs for stretching

wind swirls flower dust and tears

a peaceful embrace


sterke sanger for å strekke

vinden virvler blomst støv og tårer

en fredelig omfavnelse


busy cleaning day

washing stretching and learning

putting my feet up


opptatt rengjøring dag

vasking stretching og læring

å sette min fot opp


strange dreams give sun way

to part eyes away for fun

camera shutters


rare drømmer gi Søn måte

til en del øyne bort for moro skyld

kamera skodder


sleeping in feels good

on the occasion of rain

dusk perfumes nostrils


sover i føles godt

i anledning av regn

skumring parfymer neseborene


getting a new lens

ferry rides transforms the day

tasting new candy


får en ny linse

fergeturer forvandler dag

smaker nye candy


today I receive

the gifts from his love’s work

a toll to fram form


i gag skal jeg motta

gaver fra hans kjærlighet arbeid

et verktøy for å ramme in skjemaet


strong sun make cold shade

a gusty month of coming

toward an unknown place


sterk søl gjør kald skygge

en gusty måned kommer

mot et unkjent sted



a sun out makes light

finding opportunity

see very corner


en sol ute gjør lys

finne muligheter

se hvert hjørne