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Edited by Anthony Rudolf, John Naughton and Stephen Romer
Translated by Anthony Rudolf, John Naughton and Stephen Romer
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ISBN: 978 1 784100 75 9
Categories: 20th Century, French, Translation
Published: October 2017
216 x 135 x 27 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
France’s greatest poet of the last half century, Yves Bonnefoy wrote many books of poetry and poetic prose, as well as celebrated critical essays on literature and art (to which a second volume will be devoted). At his death in 2016 aged ninety-three, he was Emeritus Professor of Comparative Poetics at the Collège de France. The selection for this volume (and the second one) was made in close collaboration with the poet. The lengthy introduction by John Naughton is a significant assessment of Bonnefoy’s importance in French literature.
Bonnefoy started out as a young surrealist poet at the end of the Second World War and, for seven decades, he produced poetry and prose of great, and changing, depth and richness. In his lines we encounter ‘the horizon of a voice where stars are falling, / Moon merging with the chaos of the dead’. Fellow poet Philippe Jaccottet spoke of his abiding gravité enflammée.
Bonnefoy knew what translation demands, having himself translated Shakespeare, Donne, Yeats, and Keats; Petrarch and Leopardi from Italian; and, from Greek, George Seferis. This volume is edited and translated by three of Bonnefoy’s long-time translators –Anthony Rudolf, John Naughton, and Stephen Romer – with contributions from Galway Kinnell, Richard Pevear, Beverley Bie Brahic, Emily Grosholz, Susanna Lang, and Hoyt Rogers.
A dual language edition.
'... an exhilirating sense of a consciousness expanding into the phenomena of the universe, a genuine encounter between self and Other which is at the very least quivering on the edge of our conceptual knowledge.'
Martyn Crucefix, Agenda
'Throughout this lovely volume, Bonnefoy emerges as a person of huge and searching empathies, whose lifelong quest was towards a larger truth.'
Ian Pople, the North
'Although his early surrealisms might have allowed him to explore his unconscious, the 'conscious' that these later poems explore seems warmer, more carefree.'
Ian Pople, the North
'The editors and translators have done a wonderful job in the selection and simplicity of the selections. This is a book to appeal to both admirers of Bonnefoy's work and the general reader who is looking toward engaging with a lifetime of poetic output.'
Andrew Taylor, Stride Magazine
Praise for Yves Bonnefoy 'What Bonnefoy has to say is consistently exciting... This is a book to challenge lazy ideas about the purpose(s) and nature of poetry and to open its readers' eyes and minds... I cannot recommend the book too highly'
Glyn Pursglove, Acumen Magazine
'Expertly and economically edited... an indispensible read'
Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
Praise for Anthony Rudolf 'His poems are charged with the love of beauty: in paint, in the poetry he admires, and in women. His longing is almost impersonal in its intensity.'
Elaine Feinstein, JQ
'It moves us through time and space to the long view of a life's work...European Hours is an open book of secrets, and the remarkable intimacy Rudolf has spun through it that binds the reader to the poems.'
Paul Pines, American Book Review
'For Rudolf, writing and painting especially, but also music, are exploratory tools that enable him to probe more deeply into his own self, his relationships, as well as all those other selves that are not ''himself.'' For he is obviously also par excellence a poet and an intellectual attracted to otherness, to what he is not.'
'Every poem like a new geometry - of surprises. A strange voice of cat's cradles in a Kafkaesque half-light - very strange and unpredictable.'
Praise for Stephen Romer 'Stasis is the great enemy of a mind as active as Romer's and his poems are often a means of avoiding it, except when by some conjuring trick they attempt to arrest time... This is a book of elegant benedictions that allow for ecstasy and its opposite, and are fitting, memorable companions for either.'
Declan Ryan, TLS
'Reading Romer's poetry will leave you with a sense of calm and clarity because this long serving poet has developed a technical control that allows even for mysticism without rattling the bodily cage too much'
Claire Crowther, Magma
'A characteristic blend of self-examination and what feels like a classically trained sense of beauty, clarity and proportion. There is something Bergman-esque about Romer's work.'
'Stephen Romer has achieved a breakthrough in these new poems. The death of his father has torn away a veil, releasing a fresh energy and vision.'
Hugo Williams 'If Tribute is haunted by aphasia, exile and the loss of continuity, those fears are shadows that give body to the essences more insistently dwelt upon, and these are apprehended with a depth of spiritual resource that is almost mystical.'
Clive Wilmer on Tribute, in Times Literary Supplement 'Austerely eloquent treatments of lost love and the complexities of family are juxtaposed with reflections on art and poetry - exactly the civilised range of interests that might strike fear into the incurious. Readers open to Romer's scrupulous, passionate music and the conversational intimacy of his address will gather rich rewards, however.'
Sean O'Brien, Culture, 11 January 2009
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