Yves Bonnefoy was one of the greatest living voices of contemporary French poetry. In this, his sixth book published by Seagull Books, he explores in profound new ways the mysteries of human consciousness. Readers find snatches of conversations—overheard, dropped without any possible conclusion—each pregnant with half-hidden, half-visible meaning. Limpid, punctuated with silences, the poems of Ursa Major are like stones picked up, turned over and set back down on the edge of life.“Countless voices traverse us; endless, almost, as the meanders of dreams or the starry scintillations of summer nights. Only listen, and a few words rise from the murmur, referring to precise things, making allusions one would like to understand, offering opinions perhaps worth mulling over.” With these words Bonnefoy introduces the collection, newly rendered into English by the master translator Beverly Bie Brahic. This deeply moving sequence of prose poems invites readers to attend to the multitudinous voices that carry on their conversations within us, to trust them—“just as on summer nights we would lie down in the grass of the meadow, behind our houses, to go forth among the millions of stars with a feeling of falling.”
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.
Beverley Bie Brahic is a poet and translator. A Canadian, she lives in Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has published two collections of poetry and translations of French writers, including Apollinaire, Francis Ponge, and Hélène Cixous.