New and Selected Poems

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Yves Bonnefoy, celebrated translator and critic, is widely considered the most important and influential French poet since World War II. Named to the Collége 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 in this dual-language edition 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." Together with poems from such classic volumes as "In the Lure of the Threshold", these new works shed light on the growth as well as the continuity of Bonnefoy's work.

John Naughton's detailed introduction looks at the evolution of Bonnefoy's poetry from the 1953 publication of "On the Motion and Immobility of Douve", which immediately established his reputation as one of France's leading poets, through the 1993 publication of The Wandering Life and its centerpiece "Wind and Smoke."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of the most esteemed of contemporary French poets, Bonnefoy keeps his highly philosophical poetry tangible through a detailed sense of wonder at the universe, as in his famous early poem, "Place of the Salamander'': "How I love that which awaits the hour of its victory/ And holds its breath and clings to the ground.'' Selected from six books of poetry written over four decades, many of these translations are new; much of the work—including the 1991 collection, The Beginning and the End of the Snow—is published in English for the first time. Naughton's stimulating though academic introduction outlines Bonnefoy's movement from the abstractas in his early explorations of a feminine symbol of mortality he called "Douve'' to finding more rooted, joyous inspiration from the French countryside he inhabited for years. Since the 1980s, Bonnefoy's prose poems, such as "Where the Arrow Falls", maintain in a more narrative form his unique, opulent alloy of natural imagery and existential questioning. The English and French versions face; translators besides the editors include Galway Kinnell and Richard Stamelman, all of whom have delivered the English with measured clarity. Oct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226064581
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1995
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Yves Bonnefoy is a poet, critic, and professor emeritus of comparative poetics at the Collège de France. In addition to poetry and literary criticism, he has published numerous works of art history and translated into French several of Shakespeare's plays.

Anthony Rudolf is a poet, literary critic, editor and translator. He is the author of The Arithmetic of Memory, among other books, and founding publisher of Menard Press. Since 2000 he has had an academic career, first at London Metropolitan University, and later at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Westminster. In 2004, he was appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture and, in 2005, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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Table of Contents

Theatre (I-XIX)/Theater (I-XIX) 2
Vrai Nom/True Name 14
"La lumiere profonde a besoin pour paraitre"/"If it is to appear, the deep light needs" 14
Vrai Corps/True Body 16
Douve parle (I-III)/Douve Speaks (I-III) 18
"Ainsi marcherons-nous..."/"So we will walk..." 22
"Qu'une place soit..."/"Let a place . . ." 22
Lieu de la salamandre/Place of the Salamander 24
Menaces du temoin (I-V)/Threats of the Witness (I-V) 28
Le Pont de fer/Iron Bridge 34
Les Guetteurs (I-II)/The Watchers (I-II) 36
La Beaute/Beauty 38
L'Imperfection est la cime/Imperfection Is the Summit 38
A la voix de Kathleen Ferrier/To the Voice of Kathleen Ferrier 40
"Aube, fille des larmes, retablis"/"Dawn, daughter of tears, restore" 42
Une Voix/A Voice 42
Delphes du second jour/Delphi, the Second Day 44
Ici, toujours ici/Here, Forever Here 44
"La voix de ce qui detruit"/"The voice of what destroys" 46
L'Ete de nuit (I-IX)/The Summer's Night (I-IX) 50
L'Ecume, Le Recif/The Foam, the Reef 58
"Bouche, tu auras bu"/"Mouth, you will have drunk" 60
"Prestige, disais-tu..."/"The spell, you said . . ." 62
Une Pierre ("Il desirait, sans connaitre")/A Stone ("He desired, without knowing") 62
Le Lieu des morts/The Place of the Dead 64
Une Pierre (Je fus assez belle")/A Stone ("I was quite beautiful") 66
Une Pierre ("Ta jambe, nuit tres dense")/A Stone ("Your leg, deepest night") 68
Une Pierre ("Orages, puis orages")/A Stone ("Storm after storm") 68
Une Voix (Nous vieillissions)/A Voice ("We grew old") 70
La Chambre/The Bedroom 72
L'Arbre, La Lampe/The Tree, the Lamp 74
Le Myrte/Myrtle 76
La Lumiere du soir/The Light of Evening 78
Une Voix ("Combien simples, oh fumes-nous")/A Voice ("How simple we were then") 78
La Lumiere, changee/The Light, Changed 80
Une Pierre ("Le jour au fond du jour")/A Stone ("Day at the heart of day") 80
La Parole du soir/Speech at Evening 82
Le Livre, pour viellir/The Book, for Growing Old 84
Art de la poesie/The Art of Poetry 84
La Terre/The Earth 88
L'Epars, L'Indivisible/The Scattered, the Indivisible (selections) 112
L'Adieu/The Farewell 122
Le Miroir courbe/The Convex Mirror 126
Passant aupres du feu/Passing by the Fire 130
Dedham, vue de Langham/Dedham, Seen from Langham 132
La Barque aux deux sommeils/The Boat of the Two Dreams (I-IV) 140
La ou retombe la fleche (1988)/Where the Arrow Falls 147
La Grande Neige/The Heavy Snow 160
Les Flambeaux/The Torches 176
Hopkins Forest 180
Le Tout, Le Rien/The Whole, the Nothingness 184
La Seule Rose/The Only Rose 188
De vent et de fumee/Wind and Smoke 196
Selected Bibliography 205
Index of Titles and First Lines 209
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