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  • Writer's pictureCorbin Allardice

Nadirisms 12-14

12th Nadirism:

(Warning, this entry includes the use of an anti-Roma slur. I have decided to translate it with that term because the content of the aphorism is itself dependent on anti-Roma stereotypes. Unfortunately, much of Yiddish literature contains this particular sentiment, displaying a disappointing if unsurprising lack of diasporic solidarity.)

Young writers who begin with “tearing down” the previous generation are like those Gypsies who throw stones at your windows with a light heart, knowing that you can’t break their windows--since they live in an empty field!

Di yunge shraybers vos heybn-on mit “aropraysn” di eltere, zenen vi yene tsigeyner, vos varfn mit a gring harts shteyner in ayere fentster, vayl zey veysn, az ir zeyere shoybn kent nisht oysshlogn--zey voynen dokh in a leydikn feld!

13th Nadirism:

The literary temple, that temple...every new rhyme is the building of a new temple, every weak verse is the crowing of a pompous rooster.*

Di literarishe shul, yene shul...yeder neater gram iz a naye shul, yeder shvakher krey iz a gvaldovner hun.

14th Nadirism:

The “oy” sits at the front, the “oy” sits at the back--shoulders exist only so they can carry your hunched back...**

Der “oy” zitst fun fornt, der “oy” zitst fun hintn--di pleytse lebt nor tsulib dem, vos zol kenen trogn m’hoyker...

*- The word shul means both school and synagogue, while I have opted for the religious sense, both are equally sensical in the text. However the sense of "the temple," that is the bes-h''migdesh, the Temple in Jerusalem, and its particular messianism is not active in the text. Indeed, the Yiddish only says "every rhyme is a new shul," I added "the building of" to better mirror the second part of the line.

**- While the exact sense of this is intentionally unclear, it seems likely that the first art refers to where the sound “oy” sits in the mouth of the (Yiddish) speaker. The entire aphorism appears to be playing on stereotypes of the Jewish body.

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