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'Once More,' Passing The Torch To One And All

One More poem illustration
Ron Tanovitz

Representing Europe in NPR's Poetry Games is Slovenian poet Ales Steger. Steger's first work translated into English, The Book of Things, won last year's Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. The translator was poet Brian Henry, who also translated Steger's Olympic poem, "Once More."

Henry explains that the phrase "tralala oompah" in the poem approximates the Slovenian expression "tralala hopsasa," which "is meant to combine the airiness of 'tralala' with a plodding, folksy rhythm ('oompah' is the closest equivalent in English to 'hopsa,' an onomatopoeic sound of the brass instruments used in Slovenian folk music)."

Henry continues: "In a way, the poem is calling for everyone (including 'bankers with pacemakers') to participate in the Olympics, and for the Olympics to affect everyone. I think the poem is a lightly humorous call to action (reinforced by the title, which would be translated as 'Encore' if the poem were translated into French)."

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