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New and Selected Poems
Edited by John Naughton and Anthony Rudolf
Translated by John Naughton and Anthony Rudolf
Categories: 20th Century, French, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (264 pages)
(Pub. Apr 1996)
So we will walk on the ruins of a vast sky,
The far-off landscape will bloom
Like a destiny in the vivid light.
The long-sought most beautiful county
Will lie before us land of salamanders.
Look, you will say, at this stone:
Death shines from it.
Secret lamp it is this that burns under our steps,
Thus we walk lighted.
Yves Bonnefoy, celebrated translator and critic, is widely considered the most important and influential French poet since World War II. Named to the Collège de France in 1981 to fill the chair left vacant by the death of Roland Barthes, Bonnefoy was the first poet honored in this way since Paul Valéry. Winner of many awards, including the Prix Goncourt in 1987 and the Hudson Review’s Bennett Award in 1988, he is the author of six critically acclaimed books of poetry.
Spanning four decades and drawing on all of Bonnefoy’s major collections, this selection provides a comprehensive overview of and an ideal introduction to his work. The elegant translations, many of them new, are presented alongside the original French. Several significant works appear here in English for the first time, among them, in its entirety, Bonnefoy’s 1991 book of verse, The Beginning and the End of the Snow, the 1988 prose poem Where the Arrow Falls, and an important long poem from 1993, Wind and Smoke.
John Naughton’s introduction looks at the evolution of Bonnefoy’s poetry from the 1953 publication of On the Motion and Immobility of Douve, which established his reputation as one of France’s leading poets, through the 1993 publication of The Wandering Life and its centerpiece, Wind and Smoke. Naughton traces thematic issues – the interplay of light and darkness, the struggle for identity, the importance of place, the sacredness of simple things – as they appear in Bonnefoy’s work, and situates each volume of poetry in the context of Bonnefoy’s entire oeuvre. Biographical information provides important context for readers as they discover or rediscover the poems.
Making available in English the most significant works of a contemporary master, and introduced by one of his most thoughtful critics, New and Selected Poems is a rich collection for all lovers of poetry.
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
'... 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 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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