‘BONNEFOY’S PROSE AND poetry constitute a two-track adventure that has few equals since Baudelaire and Leopardi,’ writes Anthony Rudolf. ‘The extraordinary energy and potency of the prose — “sa gravité enflammée” in the fine phrase of Philippe Jaccottet — is the result of a tension. This tension is, to simplify, between presence and concept: concepts, like number, are arrogant excarnations born of gnostic duality, denying presence, finitude, mortality and death.’
Yves Bonnefoy, often acclaimed as France’s greatest living poet, has published nine major collections of verse, several books of tales, and numerous studies of literature and art. He succeeded Roland Barthes at the Collège de France. (Barthes had been Professor of Literary Semiotics. Bonnefoy was Professor of Comparative Poetics, and is now Emeritus.)
His work has been translated into scores of languages. In addition to his work as a poet, he is a celebrated translator of Shakespeare, Yeats, Keats, and Leopardi.
Most recently, he has added to his long list of honors the European Prize for Poetry (2006) and the Kafka Prize (2007). His latest books to appear in English are an anthology, Second Simplicity: New Poetry and Prose, 1991-2011 (US link) (Yale University Press, 2012), Beginning and End of the Snow (US) (Bucknell, 2012), The Present Hour (US), and The Digamma (both from Seagull Books). He lives in Paris.
This Fortnightly dossier contains commentary by Anthony Rudolf and Alan Wall, and new translations of Bonnefoy by Mr Rudolf, Hoyt Rogers and Beverley Bie Brahic, along with a portfolio of work by Paula Rego.
‘Hier régnant désert (1958), L’Improbable (1959) and Rimbaud par lui-même (1961) changed my life nearly fifty years ago, and remain potent, as transformative elements in life always do. When I read them, I knew I must have a life on the page, because the page is where the forms of life speak to us most deeply.’
The Arrière-pays and The Present Hour, two new books by Yves Bonnefoy, use memory and image to create ‘dream-like vividness and immediacy’.
Three translations by BEVERLEY BIE BRAHIC.
Three translations by HOYT ROGERS.
A portfolio by PAULA REGO and two translations by ANTHONY RUDOLF.
Added to this dossier:
Translated by Hoyt Rogers. Published December 2014.