Heralded as one of France’s greatest poets, Yves Bonnefoy has been dazzling readers since the publication of his first book in 1953. He remains influential and relevant, continuing to compose groundbreaking new work. Though Bonnefoy recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday, many are calling these past two decades his most impressive yet.
His latest book of poetry and prose,The Digamma, fits wonderfully into his impressive oeuvre, offering his signature style of simple but powerful language with fresh new grace. A key passage of the title piece of the book depicts the figures of Nicolas Poussin’sThe Shepherds of Arcadia, which Bonnefoy has identified as crucial to the artist’s evolution. The sustained reference to Poussin’s iconography serves to ground the text in the lost civilizations of antiquity. Subtly, it brings out the underlying theme of the entire collectionin the ambivalent world we inhabit, being and non-being is fundamentally one.
As a leading translator of Shakespeare in France, Bonnefoy’s fascination with the master playwright is displayed in “God in Hamlet” and “For a Staging of Othello,” two poems in prose which belong to an ongoing series of meditations on the plays. The collection also includes haunting reflections on children, nature, origins of art, and vanished cultures.
About the Author
Yves Bonnefoy (1923–2016) is recognized as the greatest French poet of the past fifty years. By the time of his death, he had published eleven major collections of poetry in verse and prose, several books of tales, and numerous studies of literature and art. Hoyt Rogers translates works from French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Hoyt Rogersis the author of a poetry collection,Witnesses, and a volume of criticism,The Poetics of Inconstancy. He translates from the French, German, and Spanish.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Hoyt Rogers
God in Hamlet
Leaving the Garden, in the Snow
The Works of the Unconscious
Voice in the Sound of the Rain
More on the Invention of Drawing
For a Staging of Othello
The Great Voice
The Digamma: A Final Note