The Rest of the Voyage: Poems

The Rest of the Voyage: Poems

Paperback(Bilingual Edition)



Winner of the Robert Fagles Prize for contemporary poetry in translation

Eléna Rivera's translation of Bernard Noël's The Rest of the Voyage is at once original and remarkably faithful—indeed, its originality lies in the care and music the translator has brought to her commitment to follow Noël's forms as closely as possible. Rivera succeeds beautifully in setting the rhythms of the French original into English. The succession of poems has a fluency that becomes as mesmerizing as any mode of transport, for Rivera is remarkably adept at varying the lines, landing with emphasis or muting the effect as she follows the speed and light of Noël's themes. Those themes are no less than a meditation on the traveler's encounter with landscape in the late twentieth century. Noël takes on distant shots and close-ups, moving too quickly to see particulars or so slowly that objects become abstractions, conveying the smells, tastes, and sounds of each location in wholes and parts, reflexively considering what is invisible to a visitor, and meditating on the ancient theme of the voyage of life with great vividness and freshness. Noël is one of the most distinguished living writers in France. Yet Rivera's is the first translation of his poetry into English, and her work thus remedies an unfortunate weakness in English-language letters." —Susan Stewart, from the introduction

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Bernard Noël is a cerebral, urban-realist mystic caught up by the extraordinary in everyday language as it passes by, carried in things themselves. He captures the instant of wonder, filled with longing, lust, and above all necessity, grounding it in earthy satisfaction.” —New Pages

“[Rivera's] introduction is essential for understanding the decisions that make for the extraordinary beauty of this difficult work. Rivera has not elided its complexities; instead, she has passed the work's challenged on to the reader. Put simply, the book is about the soundless and irreparable damage of time's glacier-like passage over human monuments of faith and bad taste. ” —Booklist

“At last, the uncanny brilliance of Bernard Noël in a striking English translation attentive to the rhythms, Noël's impulsive catlike jabs, and sound patterns of the French. In Eléna Rivera's translation, Noël's poems evoke place as the event of the present in all its palimpsestic fullness. Knowing that time is where 'language is swept up and blown away,' Noël anchors his faith in now, in its lists, fragmented sketches and koans, in its endlessly opening doors, its libraries in ashes, and, significantly, in the body itself, which we discover, he writes, as a form of the incompleteness of the present. With unstoppable energy, its poems saturated in acetylcholine, The Rest of the Voyage lights up our ongoing moment in the blurred panorama of our lives.” —Forrest Gander

Library Journal

French poet Noël (The Face of Silence), winner of the Grand Prix National de la Poésie, here contemplates time, memory, history, death, and, especially, our voyage toward self-discovery. The book is divided into three sections, each expanding on the experience of seeing, whether actually or figuratively. In the face of history's grand narrative, the poet takes a more personal approach, liberating us from time's accumulation of stories by clearly delineating the diverse voices he presents. This is the poet as creator, casting his sight on objects visible and invisible to bring them to the fullness of life: "it isn't important to have a green thumb/ but to be able to bring through the branches/ this flowering of air that we call being." Noël's various techniques include cinematic scenes, theatrical monolog, detailed historical accounts, and photographic shots to create a vivid text. Poet-translator Rivera, winner of the Robert Fagles Translation Prize for this book, skillfully captures the energy and beauty of the original. VERDICT Noël's poetry brings a deep sense of life to the elusive relationship between the self and reality. For all readers.—Sadiq Alkoriji, Broward Cty. Lib. Syst., Pembroke Pines, FL

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781555976002
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Edition description: Bilingual Edition
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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