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Sonnets of Music and Memory.

SHAKESPEARE AND BONNEFOY

By HOYT ROGERS.

I.

WE CAN ATTEMPT to make sense of poetry by talking about scansion, versification, diction, rhetoric, influence, tradition, metaphor, mythology, structure, deconstruction, and a host of other topics that inform the field of poetics. But in the end, we cannot make sense of poetry, any more than we can make sense of life: all we can do is let both of them make sense of us, through the union of music and memory.

As soon as we read a sonnet by our greatest author, we realize how firmly we lie in poetry’s grasp. Consider 31:

Thy bosom is endearèd with all hearts
Which I by lacking have supposèd dead,
And there reigns Love and all Love’s loving parts,
And all those friends which I thought burièd.
How many a holy and obsequious tear
Hath dear religious love stol’n from mine eye
As interest of the dead, which now appear
But things remov’d that hidden in thee lie.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live,
Hung with the trophies of my lovers gone,
Who all their parts of me to thee did give:
That due of many, now is thine alone.
Their images I lov’d, I view in thee,
And thou (all they) hast all the all of me.

The poem accosts us with such immediacy that “I” become both you and myself.  I am the compendium of all the lovers dead, and I am the voice that addresses me—two persons of the same loving nature. At first we think we are two, the lover and the beloved. But there is a third person as well, as in Augustine’s De Trinitate: the love itself that passes between us. We are mirrored in each other, but the light between us makes our faces join. The gazes that merge, the words that interlace within the Word, are the Holy Spirit of poetry itself: “and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” The terms “holy” and “religious,” the images of burial and resurrection, press irresistibly the springs of our response.  Stirred to the depths of our being, we answer poetry’s call: still more so, since its music echoes memories we “take” to be our own; and in its primary meaning, a “sonnet” is simply a short song—derived via the Romance languages from “sonus,” the Latin for sound.

YVES BONNEFOY:
A Memorial Tribute.

ESSAYS & TRANSLATIONS By Hoyt Rogers: Introductory Note | Sonnets of Music and Memory | Paths to Speech | Three Poems from Together Still.
By Anthony Rudolf:
Devotions | Two Visits to Paris.

An appeal, first of all, that is telling and brief: and yet, stepping back from our heady fusion with the poem, we realize the concetto it sets forth is quite straightforward. The lover’s past loves—whether literally dead or as good as dead—are reborn in the beloved. “There reigns Love,” in the loved one’s heart. The phrase echoes “qui regna Amore” in Petrarch’s canzone on the blossoms of spring—it, too, intoned in the bittersweet key of remembrance. Many modern spellings of Shakespeare surely pertain, just as Orlando Gibbons need not always be played on a virginals or a harpsichord. But in my view, as an engaged reader rather than a scholar, current editions err when they lower-case Love in the sonnet’s third line—a departure from Q, the first printing of 1609. Certainly, love in the abstract is meant; but also the physical shape of young Eros, whose body “parts” incarnate love, like those of the beloved.

The tears of suffering exacted by the dead flow again as tears of joy, the tribute owed to the poet’s new love. But the earlier “deaths,” like the embodiment of Love, hover in an atmosphere of ambiguity. The former beloveds may literally have died, or “died” to the speaker because of indifference, theirs or his. The final sonnet of the sequence apparently addressed to the young man, number 126, is only twelve lines long, as if to mark the abruptness of passion’s end; and its last verse hinges on the word “quietus.” The withering of love is a cause for grief; but even before its passing, desire can be felt as a “death in life.” Renaissance poets often apply the devotional schema of ascetic renunciation to an amorous context. By choosing to worship Eros instead of God, at least for the span of their rapt fascination, they stress their heroic commitment to human love in all its transient glory.

Shakespeare underscores this grandiose mundaneness with a financial term, “interest,” to evoke the tears demanded by the dead. The imposition almost seems like usury—“stol’n,” “removed”—and the cynical language of The Merchant of Venice, where money equals love as well as hate, lurks in the background. We have only to think of Shylock’s sense of betrayal at his daughter’s theft, of Antonio’s ardent self-sacrifice for his protégé’s debt, of Bassanio’s greedy longing for Portia’s wealth. In sonnet 31, the tears of the past have been “hidden” like coins in the beloved. His breast contains the remains of all the poet’s former loves: a tomb, it doubles as a banking vault. Inside it, the deceased have been reified; they are hung up like “trophies,” reduced to mere “things.”

THIS UNSETTLING COMPLEX of metaphors leads us to the strangest, most magnificent verse of the poem: “Thou art the grave where buried love doth live.” Here ambivalence reaches a perfect equilibrium. The breathing body of the beloved incorporates the dead; in his vibrancy he has devoured them, subsumed them, become them. But at the same time, he himself is already a sepulcher, already what his youth, and the love felt toward him by the lover, will become: a charnel house. It is a coup de théâtre akin to one of the most affecting scenes in Shakespeare, when Romeo speaks of the “light’ning before death” over Juliet’s dormant flesh. This play is often considered coeval with the sonnets, and in many ways it might be said to reenact them on the stage.

The tears are “stol’n from mine eye.” But perhaps “eye” is also a pun: it is all in the “I” that the gathering of mirages takes place. Though the past beloveds are avowedly dead and buried—in whatever sense (or varying senses) may be meant—I, the lover, will now insist on returning them to a semblance of life. Behind this intention lies a crushing weight of experience; and in fact, all the sonnets addressed to the youth are voiced by a man of greater age (though “old” is but a subjective term). Only he could have accumulated so many previous loves; only he could have written sonnet 73, comparing himself to a bare, autumnal tree and to the ashes of a fire. And only he could be so helplessly enthralled, in number 18, by the alien advent of spring. If many of the sonnets were written around the time of Romeo and Juliet, then their author would have been in his early thirties—“elderly” as compared to the protagonists of the play.

For his “lovers gone,” the speaker has shed “holy and obsequious” tears. “Obsequious,” because here that word is an adjectival form of “obsequies,” funeral rites. The poet offers up a service for the dead, a requiem mass, meant not only for them but for himself, the aging lover. The poem is cast in a “religious” light, since love is a religion with its own beliefs, its own demands of sacrifice. Ultimately, profane love and spiritual love are the same: cannibalism sublimated into communion, the ravenous ingestion of the divine, even as it consumes us. The lover, like the priest, is always saying: this is my body—but also, this is your body. And at the pitch of his sacred elevation of the host (“hoc est enim corpus meum”)—with a similar solemnity—he expresses what Stephen Spender has called the “grave evening demand for love.”

The final couplet delivers a terrible blow: “their images I lov’d, I view in thee.”  The lover has been through all this before, and he knows that his previous loves were even less than “trophies” or “things”:  in fact they were only projections. He feels the routine undertow of the illusory, just as death lies waiting once more beneath the bogus renascence of this poem.  The word “images” lends a disquieting resonance to the phrase “hidden in thee lie”:  the sad, self-mocking realization that these “things,” these “trophies” called lovers only “appear” to be; they are “stol’n” from me again, they are “hidden” in you again, in a perpetual round of disappearance. And now we hear the latent significance of the punning word “lie.”  That buried love could live in you again may seem true to me now—though it is also (or surely will be one day, like all my tributes to lovers past) a lie.

It is the achieved metonym of life itself, which always seems so full of meaning, and at the same time so utterly meaningless.

The poem is the realm in which all these contradictions maintain a crystalline balance, nothing canceling anything out and each “part” giving sense to the whole—while at the same time negating it. All my “parts” are your “parts” and their “parts”: the members of our temporal bodies gathered up and resurrected in the “glorious body” of the poem, the “pneumatic body” of paradise.  It is the achieved metonym of life itself, which always seems so full of meaning, and at the same time so utterly meaningless. The secret of its splendor is that the evanescence of each moment gives it a poignant depth. “Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara”; or to approximate Kobayashi Issa’s words:  “The world of dew is a world of dew—and yet, and yet.”

“That due of many, now is thine alone.” Wrongly, without the slightest doubt, I cannot help but hear the pivotal term as a wistful play on the word “dew,” one of the “quibbles” that Elizabethans prized so highly. Without pretending that Shakespeare meant it as such, I claim that maverick interpretation as a reader’s privilege, which is not necessarily the same as a scholar’s. Every poem changes each time it is read. The reader beholds the “trophies” of others’ earlier readings and his own, and says once again: “thou (all they) hast all the all of me.” The polyvalence of the final line, the blurring of persons it triggers, its skewed syntax that verges on breakdown, invoke fidelity and imposture, plenitude and dearth.

But no, for one rebellious moment we will force the issue, and twist the poem by the arm to make it conclude as we wish, hoping against all hope: “now is thine alone.”  We treat it savagely because—as in the throes of love—we must hate it to some degree for refusing us what it promises, for turning a vision of rebirth into a shrine for the dead, for unmasking the truth we had longed to believe as a cunning lie. But that is what this world does to each and every one of us in the end, and that is why poetry, like death—precisely because its scope of lines is limited, as brief as a series of heartbeats—gives life back to us intensified. Above the chorus of voices in that funeral dirge for past loves, an overtone rings out, a cry as joyful and wrenching as this moment:  now, now, and now again.

II.

SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS DRAMATIZE and dissect the vagaries of a passion—of two or more passions, perhaps—errant, elusive, baffling, but always driven forward by the restless energy of erotic love. As I have noted, the cycle mainly addressed to the “lovely boy” (as he is called in sonnet 126) ends as abruptly as it began: the poet stresses that rude truncation by cutting the sonnet to only twelve lines. In Q, lines thirteen and fourteen are marked as parenthesized blanks, emphasizing the lover’s liquidation, his ultimate nonentity. In number 126 as in number 31, the cold language of commerce glints from the key word “audit”; despite his unnaturally enduring beauty, the young man must one day be “rendered” by nature as a debt to death, the “quietus” of line twelve.

Throughout the sequence, Shakespeare fairly revels in the ravages of time. While it wreaks decay on him, the older man, it will also avenge him on the insouciant youth, who is—to paraphrase Yeats—“his heart’s victim, and its torturer.” In a dazzling array of theses and antitheses, these sonnets epitomize the corrosive subversion of Petrarchism, as it passed from starry idealism of the beloved to the mocking bitterness of anti-Petrarchism. In a few decades, from Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella to the surly portrait of the “Dark Lady,” Elizabethan verse had recapitulated a centuries-long shift in Continental verse. Yet of course, the decadence of Petrarchism did not signal the long-range decline of the sonnet—especially in the English-speaking world—much less of love poetry as a whole.

By way of demonstrating that continuity—so vastly overarching that it can encompass the widest extremes—we have only to reach far forward, to another culture, another language, and another age. The same procedure might apply to myriad examples, but here I would like to broach only one: a radically different treatment of the verse-form, and many of the themes, of Shakespeare’s sonnets, by one of his chief admirers outside the English-speaking world. In the sonnet-sequences composed by Yves Bonnefoy during the closing years of his life—and particularly in the final one, “Together Music and Memory”—we find the Shakespearean matrix of tones and images discreetly revisited, and at the same time deeply transformed. While Shakespeare’s lyric voice is “elderly” only in relation to the young man, Bonnefoy wrote these verses when he was over ninety years old. These are poems of love in the most crepuscular sense, a retracing of earlier days at the brink of night; but they also herald, unexpectedly, a preternatural dawn.

In Bonnefoy’s late poems, the sonnet form itself instills a certain serenity, which almost allows the words to write themselves, without recourse to the drastic metaphors or convoluted syntax of his youthful Surrealist phase.

Shakespeare is not the only English-language author who has exercised an influence on Bonnefoy. In fact, it might be argued that there is a succession of Anglophone imprints on his verse in the last quarter-century, until the very eve of his death in 2016. In the first stage, Dickinson, Frost, and Yeats come to the fore; but in the final phase, Shakespeare predominates—Shakespeare at his most transparent, as in sonnets 18, 31, or 73. In Bonnefoy’s late poems, the sonnet form itself instills a certain serenity, which almost allows the words to write themselves, without recourse to the drastic metaphors or convoluted syntax of his youthful Surrealist phase. In the preface to Crossing Out and In, a collection made up entirely of sonnets, and completed in 2010, he elucidates: “Words, words as such, their own aural reality authorized by this primacy of form, have established links among themselves I never suspected.” Here authorship modestly submits to a process of elimination—though as we know, “ars est celare artem”; traditionally, one reason for adopting a taut verse-form like the sonnet has been that its structures suggest myriad ways of moving the poem forward—of marshalling its music and focusing its semantic charge.

Revealingly, Bonnefoy’s increasing recourse to the sonnet in his later years parallels a cumulative project: his integral translation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, completed over several decades, and which culminated in their publication by Gallimard in 2007. Among the many other superlatives attached to his name, Bonnefoy was the most distinguished translator of Shakespeare in France, with a dozen plays and all the lyric poems to his credit. As has often been pointed out, in many respects his oeuvre is an antiphon to that of his Renaissance forebear—despite its more obvious links to the French poets he most esteemed, from Alfred de Vigny to the Symbolists to Pierre-Jean Jouve. The last-named was one of Bonnefoy’s immediate masters, and it is no coincidence that in 1955 the older poet had published a much-discussed translation of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Yet whereas Jouve tends to impose his personal poetics on his French versions, Bonnefoy follows the originals more faithfully; and in his own poetry, he does not hesitate to hark back to Renaissance antecedents, even at the risk of an anachronistic note. In 2011, in The Present Hour, to cite but one example, he offers us several sonnets on Amor and Psyche which clearly reflect the topoi of much earlier poetry, from Petrarch to the Baroque, and of Shakespeare’s last two sonnets in particular: the “anacreontic” 153 and 154, with their whimsical allegories of Cupid.

It may be merely an English-speaker’s point of view, but I would infer that Bonnefoy’s interchange with poetry in our language also engendered a more general facet of his late manner, the gradual approximation of his French to the rhythms of English verse. In section IX of “The House Where I Was Born,” he even goes so far as to insert some original lines of Keats directly into his own: tellingly, they harmonize without a hitch, despite the surface disparity. In fact, the poet’s assimilation of our language often assists Anglophone translators of his work, just as it does in the case of Borges. Repeatedly, Bonnefoy has voiced his attachment to the iamb, the characteristic metrical foot of our poetry. In another poem from The Curved Planks (2001), he praises the basic rhythm most of us take for granted, hearing it anew as only a foreigner could:

Two syllables, a short and then a long:
The iamb hesitates, but also yearns
To leap beyond the breath that merely hopes
And enter into all that meaning gives.

Given his many decades of praxis in the art of translation—not only of Shakespeare, but also of Donne, Keats, and Yeats—it should hardly surprise us that Bonnefoy’s prosody often transposes iambic tetrameter or pentameter, despite the resistance of French to marked patterns of stress.

ALL THE TRENDS listed above come to a head in the poet’s late style. Indeed, perhaps the most striking feature of The Anchor’s Long Chain (2008) is a sonnet cycle (“Nineteen Sonnets, Almost”) unprecedented in Bonnefoy’s work. These lapidary poems reflect his aesthetic maturity, crystallizing themes he has advanced before; but they also demonstrate his youthfulness, his daring impulse to experiment with a verse-form some might consider outdated, especially in France. Taking up where nineteenth-century practitioners like Barrett Browning had left off, several generations of our principal modern poets, from John Berryman to Marilyn Hacker, have renewed the tradition with emotional clout and coruscating flair. But besides Jacques Réda, most remarkably in his Sonnets de Dublin, none of Bonnefoy’s leading French contemporaries cultivated the form; and though a younger writer, Hédi Kaddour, recently embraced it, his incisive snapshots of Paris life have even less in common with Bonnefoy’s poetic vision than Réda’s sonorous lines.

We must look to Jorge Luis Borges—whom Bonnefoy resembles in various ways, not the least of which is his deep attachment to English—for the closest analogy. Both come to the sonnet late in life, and both use it to invoke cultural predecessors who have haunted their imaginations. Borges commemorates Whitman, Emerson, Spinoza, Heine, Cervantes, and Milton, among others. Bonnefoy erects monuments in verse—in some cases “tombeaux” (“tombs”), reminiscent of Mallarmé’s—to Baudelaire, Verlaine, Leopardi, Wordsworth, and Mallarmé himself. But while Borges limits himself mainly to portraits of writers, Mallarmé’s diverse exercises in the genre—“médaillons” or “hommages,” in prose or in verse—pose as early models for Bonnefoy’s sonnets, by depicting painters and composers as well as authors.

Inevitably, the composer Bonnefoy brings to the fore in his sonnet-cycle is Mahler, particularly Das Lied von der Erde. This is an allegiance which dates back to the author’s discovery of Kathleen Ferrier, the English contralto, whose extraordinary voice—overshadowed by her premature death in 1953—affected him profoundly. Five years later, in 1958, he paid tribute to her in his poem “To Kathleen Ferrier’s Voice,” in which he limns her as a gray presence at twilight, who draws upon a flowing spring of eternal peace—images subtly drawn from the text of Mahler’s work, a mosaic of Chinese poems compiled by Hans Bethge, and further adapted by Mahler himself. One of Ferrier’s most momentous achievements was her rendition of The Song of the Earth—and especially the final movement, “Der Abschied,” which seemed to Bonnefoy and to many others like her own farewell to the earth. In The Anchor’s Long Chain, the sonnet entitled “Mahler, Le Chant de la terre” ineluctably alludes to the singer’s fate as well:

She comes out; but night has not fallen yet,
Or else it is the moon that fills the sky.
She walks, but also melts away: nothing
Is left of her face—nothing but her song.

Desire to be, you must renounce yourself:
This is what the things of earth demand—
So trustingly, that each of them reflects
The shimmering peace of this dream.

She moves forward, and you grow old.
Keep advancing, under interwoven trees,
And you’ll glimpse each other, now and then.

O music of words, utterance of sound,
Bend your steps toward each other as a sign
Of complicity, at last… and of regret.

In an artful balance—not unlike the fusion of the singer with the sea in “The Idea of Order at Key West”—the moon is both a changing light and a progressive musical voice, moving with the human observer from experience into old age, the realm of memory. It is a symbol of poetry’s confluence with the natural world, in its unceasing rhythm of death and rebirth.

No single musical opus has remained more significant to his poetry than Das Lied von der Erde, which informs this final set of seven sonnets just as vividly as it had haunted the earlier poems.

This complex of imagery and meaning reaches its ultimate expression in Together Still; here Bonnefoy gifts us his last sonnet-cycle—and to my mind, his finest: “Together Music and Memory.” Wordsworth was another of his guiding spirits, and the title recalls the English poet’s assertion that poetry “takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.” But besides peaceful recollection, the other pillar on which the sequence rests is music. Naturally, Bonnefoy was well aware of the signal role of music in Shakespeare. His plays contain or allude to well over a hundred songs, many of which were probably performed with instruments as well as voices, as part of the entertainment. The passages on music in Twelfth Night (Heveningham’s paraphrase of the first line was set to music by Purcell) and The Merchant of Venice (lushly orchestrated for sixteen singers by Vaughn Williams) are world-renowned. But Shakespeare’s sonnets also contain many references to music, sustained most thoroughly in numbers 8 and 128. In his writings, Bonnefoy has often emphasized the primacy of the aural element in verse, most notably in his lengthy essay of 2007, “The Alliance of Poetry and Music.” Throughout his oeuvre, Mozart is a recurrent touchstone, especially Don Giovanni. But no single musical opus has remained more significant to his poetry than Das Lied von der Erde, which informs this final set of seven sonnets just as vividly as it had haunted the earlier poems.

From the start, as the title implies, the fundamental rapport between music and memory dominates the sequence. The first sonnet describes the place where two lovers first met: it poses, at least, as a memory of that occasion: an evening concert in an unspecified place. While the composition played is not named either, a hint is given that the poet will take up later on: “The work knew much about them both; / It spoke to what they dared not be.” The lovers are portrayed as physically and emotionally drawn to each other; yet at the same time, they hover in a more abstract space, as an allegory that pairs music with memory. As the second sonnet clarifies:

And what they will give birth to is a voice.
Like the seedling from the seed, it will
Release itself from matter. Suddenly
A cry, more than the cry, will be a word.

The third sonnet reveals that these words take on an order, that of a measured beat akin to poetry or music, the “steady breath” underlying speech or song:

Body that loved the peace of the other body,
Barely visible in those hours before dawn.
Yet more than what is visible: the endless
Measure of the spirit—its steady breath.

But it is the fourth poem in the series which comes closest to identifying that song with the final movement of The Song of the Earth, “Der Abschied”: the longest section of Mahler’s work, devoted to the farewell of two friends. The first quatrain of the sonnet distinctly mirrors several of the Chinese verses the composer set to music:

The water of the spring was no more
Than its voice; the leaves, but their rustle—

Since night fell. Taking that path, we sought

In vain to start anew what once had been.

In the interplay of music and memory, music instills an acceptance of the past, and of the fact that it will not return. Still, memory preserves it as a vanished present, a living absence:

It was music’s compassion, holding
Our hand, that guided us step by step,
In the dampness of high grasses
Now covering the vanished here.

A similar peace, uniting absence with presence, resignation with hope, reigns over the fifth sonnet; while in the sixth, the musical imagery becomes more and more accentuated:

And it is true, my love: when all is fading,
Something remains. Together, our fingers
Are touching strings, in the invisible.
Our desires, our memories awaken them.

What is music? The imminence
Of this island, that is and does not exist;
Undiscovered, wandering in the mind—
And suddenly glimpsed, almost the shore.

Here the second and third lines of the first quatrain could be construed as a direct allusion to Shakespeare’s sonnets. For example, compare lines nine and ten of number 8: “Mark how one string, sweet husband to another, / Strikes each in each by mutual ordering.” Or lines three and four of number 128, which portrays the lover playing the virginals: “…thou gently sway’st / The … concord that mine ear confounds.”

But in the final sonnet of Bonnefoy’s sequence, the Mahler leitmotiv returns with full force—though amplified by an essential new element (already adumbrated, as we have seen, in the second sonnet):

Where all was decided: what was that place?
Three times farewell, and then no voice.
The silence grew, rising like a peak:
The absolute or nothing, we knew not.

But the singer was in tears—ascending
The music, understanding by degrees
What it most wanted. She sensed,
In that other world, the breathing of a dawn.

On summits, the sky can be a rose. It is
Snow. Or else it is this child, desired
By the mind from century to century.

The final sounds took him in their arms;
Nothing could be heard but his faint breath.
The voice was dying; song had given birth.

The “marriage of true minds” explored by the sonnet-sequence purportedly began at a concert, but the “place” of the lovers’ meeting cannot really be determined as a time or a location: it is deeper than that; it is a destiny. The phrase “three times farewell” in line two seems to refer to the threefold repetition of the word “ewig” (“forever” or “eternally”) at the end of “Der Abschied,” in the verses added to Bethge’s text by Mahler. The poet’s own farewell to his love and to his life becomes merged with that of the composer (who died two years after completing this opus), and that of Kathleen Ferrier, the most likely inspiration for the female singer invoked by Bonnefoy. In the final bars of the Das Lied von der Erde, the voice slowly lapses into silence while singing “ewig,” and Mahler’s indications in the score require that the entire passage should be “morendo” (“dying” or “fading”), and ultimately “gänzlich ersterbend” (“completely dying out”).

But beyond renunciation and death, in “Together Music and Memory” we also witness the birth of a mysterious child, “desired / By the mind from century to century.” Significantly—and in contrast to most writers in their latter years—Bonnefoy’s oeuvre has often focused on children during the past two decades, though they were virtually absent from it before. This should suffice to remind us that despite the manifold allusions to Mahler and Ferrier, it would be misguided to limit the scope of this sonnet-sequence to them alone. In Bonnefoy’s first major poetry collection, Of the Movement and Immobility of Douve (1953), the feminine protagonist of the title has always remained enigmatic. In an interview late in life, the poet adduced that he himself had never fully grasped her identity, but that now he had finally concluded she was none other than poetry itself (“elle-même”: a personification aided, of course, by the feminine gender of the word “poésie”). In his last sonnet-cycle, a similar phenomenon is at work. On the highest level, the “voice” Bonnefoy aims to invoke is the creative act, arising from a union of music and memory; and once that fusion has been accomplished, “song” becomes autonomous: poetry itself, eternally reenacting its own birth.

This is a fitting farewell—or rather a greeting, perpetually renewed—from one of literature’s greatest poets.


Yves Bonnefoy. Before his death in July of 2016, Yves Bonnefoy had published eleven major collections of verse, several books of tales, and numerous studies of literature and art. He is recognized as the greatest French poet of the last fifty years, and his work has been translated into scores of languages. In addition, he himself was a celebrated translator of Shakespeare, Yeats, Keats, and Leopardi. He received the European Prize for Poetry (2006) and the Kafka Prize (2007), among many other honors.  His latest anthology in English, Second Simplicity: New Poetry and Prose, 1991-2011 was published by the Yale University Press in 2012. Yves Bonnefoy: Poems will be published by Carcanet Press in 2017, to be followed in 2018 by Yves Bonnefoy: Critical Essays.

Hoyt Rogers is the author of a book of verse, Witnesses, and a volume of criticism, The Poetics of Inconstancy. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in many periodicals. He translates from the French, German, Italian, and Spanish. He is a contributing editor of The Fortnightly Review and has published dozens of translations, including the Selected Poems of Borges and three books by Yves Bonnefoy: The Curved Planks, Second Simplicity, and The Digamma. With Paul Auster, he published Openwork, an André du Bouchet reader, at the Yale University Press in 2014. His translations of Bonnefoy’s Rome 1630 and Together Still, the author’s final poetry collection, are forthcoming from Seagull Books. He lives in the Dominican Republic and Italy.

→ See alsoWriting to Shakespeare‘ by Yves Bonnefoy, translated by Hoyt Rogers. A detailed index of work by and about Yves Bonnefoy appearing in The Fortnightly Review is here.

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