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Edited by Stephen Romer, Anthony Rudolf and John Naughton
Categories: 20th Century, French, Language, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (456 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2020)
Yves Bonnefoy (1923-2016), a major poet, was equally a seminal essayist and thinker. This companion volume to Yves Bonnefoy: Poems contains what he regarded as his foundational essays, as well as a generous selection from all periods. In his art criticism, as in his literary essays, Bonnefoy manages that rare thing: to impart metaphysical urgency to each discreet encounter with a painting or a poem, born of his constant quest for intensity, for 'presence'. Whether he is examining an early Byzantine fresco, a Shakespeare play, a Bernini angel, a drawing by Blake, a poem by Rimbaud, the exigency, the high seriousness and the challenge is the same: to affirm presence, and finitude, against all forms of life-sapping conceptual thought. If they cannot always deliver ecstasy or hope, the great poets, argues Bonnefoy, are pledged to 'intensity as such', sustained by 'une mélancolie ardente'.
'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 Yves Bonnefoy '... 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 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 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.'
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