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The Landscapist

Selected Poems

Pierre Martory

Translated by John Ashbery

The Landscapist: Selected Poems
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 00 4
Categories: 20th Century, French, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2008
216 x 135 mm
296 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • 'After I began translating Pierre Martory, that is, after I began to realize that his marvelous poetry would likely remain unknown unless I translated it and brought it to the attention of readers, I started to find echoes of his work in mine. His dreams, his pessimistic résumés of childhood that are suddenly lanced by a joke, his surreal loves, his strangely lit landscapes with their inquisitive birds and disquieting flora, have been fertile influences for me, though I hope I haven’t stolen anything—well, better to steal than borrow, as Eliot more or less said. All of which may be a way of saying that there is no very easy way to describe Martory’s poetry. It is sui generis and it deserves to be read. And reread.'

    John Ashbery
    John Ashbery’s translations of Pierre Martory’s poems offer a unique insight into the work of the French poet, and into the creative dialogue between two poets. Ashbery describes Martory’s writing as ‘touched by the gaiety of René Clair’s films and the melancholy of Piaf, echoing the witty surrealism of Pierre Reverdy and Raymond Queneau’; in Ashbery’s translations, the distinctive flavour of Martory’s poetry, ‘located somewhere between Paris and New York’, finds its English voice. The Landscapist gathers Ashbery’s published translations, some with emendations, together with uncollected pieces and facing-page French text. With a definitive introductory biographical essay by Ashbery and bibliographies of both the translations and Martory’s publications, The Landscapist is an indispensable introduction to Martory’s poetry and an illuminating addition to Ashbery’s work.


    Cover painting Pierrot and Peonies by Jane Freilicher (collection of Deborah S. Pease; courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York). Cover design by StephenRaw.com.

    Table of Contents
    Introduction by John Ashbery
    Editors' Note


    From Every Question but One


    Image
    Image
    Dialogue
    Dialogue
    Retour des oiseaux
    Return of the Birds
    Il est grand temps
    It's High Time
    Lettre recommandée
    Registered Letter


    The Landscape Is behind the Door


    Ma Chandelle est morte
    Ma Chandelle est morte
    Ce que je dis, peut-etre, n'est pas vrai
    What I Say, Perhaps, Isn't True
    Sur le pont Marie
    On the Pont Marie
    Dimanche et fetes
    Sundays and Holidays
    En bas des marches
    At the Bottom of the Steps
    Le Paysage est derrière la porte
    The Landscape Is behind the Door
    Sous l’orme
    Under the Elm
    Dune
    Dune
    Un Dimanche à Monfort l’Amaury
    A Sunday in Monfort l’Amaury
    La Cage
    The Cage
    Prose des Buttes-Chaumont
    Prose des Buttes-Chaumont
    Archives indéchiffrables
    Undecipherable Archives
    Urbs
    Urbs
    Dans le ventre de la baleine
    In the Belly of the Whale 5
    Blues
    Blues
    Quatorze Millions d’années-lumière
    Fourteen Million Light-Years
    Après l’orage
    After the Storm
    Diamant noir
    Black Diamond
    Capsule
    Capsule
    Lac rouge et noir
    Red and Black Lake
    Pêle-mêle
    Pell-Mell
    L’Heure qu’il est
    What Time It Is
    Une Veuve
    A Widow
    Rien à dire
    Nothing to Say
    Trois Petits Poèmes
    Three Little Poems
    Toten Insel
    Toten Insel
    Toutes les questions sauf une
    Every Question but One
    Passant la frontière
    Passing the Frontier
    Ganymède
    Ganymede
    Une Nuit sur la mer Morte
    A Night on the Dead Sea
    Le Paysagiste
    The Landscapist
    Des Nuits et des corps
    Of Nights and Bodies
    Collage
    Collage
    Poème
    Poem
    Entr’acte
    Entr’acte
    Nocturne américain
    American Nocturne
    Entre elle et moi
    Between Her and Me
    Récitatif et air des larmes
    Recitative and Aria of the Tears


    Oh, lac / Oh, Lake


    Litanies
    Litanies
    Avant, pendant, après
    Before, During, After
    Gestes obscurs
    Obscure Gestures
    Élégie
    Elegy
    Le Rachat
    The Buying Back
    Carrefour
    The Crossroads
    Poème chocolat
    Chocolate Poem
    Soirée
    Soirée 161
    Solitude brisée
    Broken Solitude
    Mairie du Quinzième
    Town Hall, Fifteenth Arrondissement
    Bastille
    Bastille
    Allée-venue
    Coming and Going
    Sans rime ni raison
    Without Rhyme or Reason
    Dix Ans par exemple après
    Ten Years for Example After
    Oh, lac . . .
    Oh, Lake . . .
    Sérénité
    Serenity
    Vin
    Wine
    D’un domaine privé
    From a Private Domain
    Une Visite
    A Visit
    Ballade
    Ballad


    Uncollected Poems


    Eau calme
    Calm Water
    Connivences
    Collusion
    Petit matin
    Early Morning
    Histoire non naturelle
    Unnatural History
    Musique
    Music
    Carrière
    Career
    L’Essentiel d’un visage se lit un jour de gel
    The Main Thing in a Face Can Be Read on a Freezing Day
    Ciel scintillant
    Scintillating Sky
    Les Soirées de Rochefort
    Evenings in Rochefort
    Arbre
    Tree
    Perspective
    Perspective
    Cause commune
    Common Cause
    Pygmalion
    Pygmalion
    Psyché
    Psyche
    Le Père-Lachaise
    Père-Lachaise
    Quel enfant?
    What Child?
    Complainte de l’amant
    The Lover’s Complaint


    Appendix I: Translation with Lost French Original
    Bridge Passed


    Appendix II: Poem Written in French and English
    Tchat


    Appendix III: Variant French and English Texts
    L’Heure de musique
    The Hour of Music
    Calendrier
    Calendar


    Appendix IV: Bibliography
    Periodical and Anthology Publications for Ashbery
    Translations of Martory Poems
    Previously Unpublished Translations
    Poetry Books and Other Publications by Pierre Martory


    Notes on the Editors



    Pierre Martory
    Pierre Martory was born in Bayonne in 1920 and spent much of his childhood in Morocco. He entered the School of Political Science in Paris in 1939, and in June 1940 escaped from Paris on the last train to leave before the Germans arrived. After a brief stay in prison in ... read more
    John Ashbery
    John Ashbery is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, most recently Quick Question (January 2013). He is the recipient of many honours, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur ‘genius’ award. Born in Rochester, New York, he was educated at Harvard and Columbia. In ... read more
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Selected Prose John Ashbery,
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