Skip to content

Index: Portfolio: André du Bouchet

Translating André du Bouchet.

Hoyt Rogers: ‘…there’s no such thing as a perfect translation. If readers have little or no French, then we owe them—not a word by word translation like those old interlinear texts we used to crib with in Greek class—but the best poem the translator is capable of making while staying true to the basic meaning, and above all the spirit, of the original. To paraphrase the parting shot of [Peter] Riley’s review, when I am reading a translation of poetry from a language I don’t know, I’d rather be overpaid than shortchanged. I want to know what the poem says; but to some degree, I also want to know what it connotes, what it evokes, and how it would sound if the poet had written it in English. In poetry, some things are lost in translation; but as with Bonnefoy’s version of Yeats, quoted earlier, other things are gained. In any case, there is far more to poetry than a simple string of words.’

The restless openwork of André du Bouchet.

By HOYT ROGERS. I know a wind in purpose strong— It spins against the way it drives. —Melville AN UNJUSTLY NEGLECTED giant of French literature—and obliquely, of several other literatures as well—André du Bouchet was one of the greatest innovators of twentieth-century letters. Trailblazing poet, maverick philosopher, multifarious critic, trenchant stylist, fearless anthologist, daring editor, […]

A portfolio from ‘Openwork’.

André du Bouchet: ‘and so the most beautiful poems have led to some blank texts
like a sheet of blank paper—are available: that is,
they have not ceased to act. Like everything that has begun
to act.

‘I always write to make myself worthy of the poem that is not
yet written.’