Second Simplicity: New Poetry and Prose, 1991-2011


Yves Bonnefoy, who will soon attain the age of ninety, has gratified his readers during the past two decades with the most prolific and innovative period of his splendid lifework. This volume presents in English and French an inviting array of his recent writings, carefully selected for their literary quality as well as their broad appeal. It features several works never published before and many that have never been translated into English. The first anthology of Bonnefoy's work to ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (16) from $5.48   
  • New (8) from $5.48   
  • Used (8) from $5.90   
Sending request ...


Yves Bonnefoy, who will soon attain the age of ninety, has gratified his readers during the past two decades with the most prolific and innovative period of his splendid lifework. This volume presents in English and French an inviting array of his recent writings, carefully selected for their literary quality as well as their broad appeal. It features several works never published before and many that have never been translated into English. The first anthology of Bonnefoy's work to appear since 1995, this collection reflects the poet's powerful engagement with the New England landscape; its quiet woods and fields have helped to shape to the pared-down aesthetic of his recent years. The book is the first to showcase not only the poetry for which Bonnefoy is justly renowned but also his inventive compositions in prose. Appropriately, the book alternates more traditional verse with freer forms, just as the author has done in several major works of the past twenty years; that symbiotic approach is one of the hallmarks of this latter phase of his art. Superbly translated by Hoyt Rogers, the collection is organized chronologically, revealing clearly how the poet continues to extend and refine his scope and style. Rogers provides a masterly introduction in which he analyzes aspects of Bonnefoy's recent writings and the "second simplicity" that characterizes his late work.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Galassi
"The final exemplar of a poetic legacy that begins with Baudelaire and Mallarmé, Yves Bonnefoy is the last figure standing in a monumental tradition that has shaped modern European literature. This lovingly supple and authoritative presentation by Hoyt Rogers of the rich, endlessly rewarding later phase of the great poet’s work forms an invaluable contribution to our own poetry."—Jonathan Galassi
Marilyn Hacker
"Hoyt Rogers displays extraordinary skill as a translator of this oeuvre, given the precision and imaginative daring of his choices, his metrical ear, and his multilayered knowledge of Yves Bonnefoy’s work."—Marilyn Hacker                          
Richard Howard
"As the foreword to his lucid and responsible translations of Yves Bonnefoy's late work reveals, Hoyt Rogers has mastered the grand cumulus of ulterior translation, criticism, commentary, and biographical circumstance which so formidably confronts, and possibly daunts, the interpreter as well as the common reader, so that indeed Second Simplicity is for seasoned practitioners of this master not only a sort of precocious capstone of the still-rising edifice of the Great Work, but for newcomers to Bonnefoy an excellent, even an ideal, entrance to this writer’s vast creation."—Richard Howard
On the Seawall - Ron Slate
Second Simplicity . . . reveal[s] Bonnefoy’s remarkable inventiveness and desire to accommodate whatever form of address is called for, whether in verse or prose.”—Ron Slate, On the Seawall
Paul Auster
"Yves Bonnefoy is one of the rare poets in the history of literature to have sustained the highest level of artistic excellence throughout an entire lifetime—now more than half a century of work, and still counting. These recent poems, superbly translated by Hoyt Rogers, attest to his enduring greatness."—Paul Auster
Wall Street Journal - Micah Mattix
“Mr. Bonnefoy [is] often lauded, and rightly so, as France's greatest living poet.”—Micah Mattix, Wall Street Journal
Arts Fuse - Jim Kates
“[A] handsome edition of Bonnefoy’s recent work . . . a stunning presentation of a major poet.”—Jim Kates, Arts Fuse
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300176254
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Series: Margellos World Republic of Letters Series
  • Edition description: Bilingual
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 2.40 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Yves Bonnefoy, poet, essayist, translator, and art historian, is widely admired as France's greatest living poet. He lives in France. Hoyt Rogers's poems, stories, and essays, as well as his translations from French, German, and Spanish, appear in a wide variety of books and periodicals. He lives in the Dominican Republic.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Second Simplicity of Yves Bonnefoy xi

From Début et fin de la neige (Beginning and End of the Snow) 1

« Première neige …» ("First snowfall …") 2

Le miroir (The Mirror) 4

La charrue (The Plow) 6

Le peu d'eau (A Bit of Water) 8

Le jardin (The Garden) 10

L'été encore (Summer Again) 12

«On dirait» ("It's like …") 14

Noli me tangere (Noli Me Tangere) 16

«Juste avant l'aube …» ("Just before "dawn …") 18

Les flambeaux (The Torches) 20

Hopkins Forest (Hopkins Forest) 24

La seule rose (The Only Rose) 30

From La vie errante (The Wandering Life) 37

Impressions, soleil couchant (Impressions at Sunset) 38

De vent et de fumée (From Wind and Smoke) 40

Une pierre (A Stone) 52

Le canot de Samuel Beckett (Beckett's Dinghy) 54

From Les planches courbes (The Curved Planks) 63

Une pierre (A Stone) 64

Une pierre (A Stone) 66

Une pierre (A Stone) 68

Une pierre (A Stone) 70

Une pierre (A Stone) 72

Une pierre (A Stone) 74

Une pierre (A Stone) 76

Une pierre (A Stone) 78

Une pierre (A Stone) 80

« Passant, ce sont des mots …» ("Passer-by, these are words…") 82

La pluie sur le ravin (Rain Falls on the Ravine) 84

La maison natale (The House Where I Was Born) 88

Les planches courbes (The Curved Planks) 112

From Dans un débris de miroir (In a Shard of Mirror) 119

Trois souvenirs de Borges (Three Recollections of Borges) 120

From La tongue chaíne de 1'ancre (The Anchor's Long Chain) 145

Ales Stenar (Ales Stenar) 146

L'Amérique (America) 154

Le peintre dont le nom est la neige (The Painter Named Snow) 170

Les noms divins (Naming the Divine) 174

Le tombeau de Leon-Battista Alberti (Alberti's Tomb) 184

Le tombeau de Charles Baudelaire (Baudelaire's Tomb) 186

L'arbre de la rue Descartes (The Tree on Descartes Street) 188

L'invention de la flute à sept tuyaux (The Invention of the Seven-Pipe Flute) 190

Le tombeau de Giacomo Leopardi (Leopardi's Tomb) 192

Mahler, Le chant de la terre (Mahler, The Song of the Earth) 194

Le tombeau de Stéphane Mallarmé (Mallarmé's Tomb) 196

À l'auteur de « La nuit » (To the Author of "Night") 198

San Giorgio Maggiore (San Giorgio Maggiore) 200

Sur trois tableaux de Poussin (On Three Paintings by Poussin) 202

Ulysse passe devant Ithaque (Ulysses Passes Ithaca) 204

San Biagio, à Montepulciano (San Biagio, at Montepulciano) 206

Une pierre (A Stone) 208

Le tombeau de Paul Verlaine (Verlaine's Tomb) 210

Un souvenir d'enfance de Wordsworth (A Childhood Memory of Wordsworth's) 212

Remarques sur l'horizon (Remarks on the Horizon) 214

Une variante de la sortie du jardin (Leaving the Garden: A Variant) 226

Une autre variante (Another Variant) 236

From Raturer outre (Crossing Out and In) 245

Une photographie (A Photograph) 246

Encore une photographie (Another Photograph) 248

Un souvenir (A Memory) 250

Le nom perdu (The Lost Name) 252

Le pianiste (The Pianist) 258

From L'heure presente (The Present Hour) 263

Voix entendue près d'un temple (Voice Heard near a Temple) 264

Bête effrayée (Scared Animal) 270

Première ébauche d'une mise en scène d'Hamlet (First Sketch for a Staging of Hamlet) 274

Hamlet en montagne (Hamlet in the Mountains) 280

Select Bibliography 288

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)