Openwork

Poetry and Prose

André du Bouchet; Selected, Translated, and Presented by Paul Auster and Hoyt Rogers

View Inside Price: $26.00


October 28, 2014
368 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300197631
Cloth

A career retrospective of poetry and prose works by one of the under-recognized giants of French literature

André du Bouchet, a great innovator of twentieth-century letters, has yet to be fully recognized by a wide circle of international readers. This inviting volume sets out to remedy the oversight, introducing a selection of du Bouchet’s poetry and prose to English-language readers through the brilliant translations of Paul Auster and Hoyt Rogers. Openwork showcases pieces from the author’s entire trajectory, beginning with little-known pieces from the 1950s, followed by major poems from the 1960s, and concluding with works written or rewritten in the poet’s later decades.
 
Throughout his life, du Bouchet devoted himself to long walks in his beloved French countryside, jotting down entries in notebooks as he rambled. These notebooks—more than one hundred all together—have emerged as signal works in their own right, and their musings are well represented in this anthology.
André du Bouchet (1924–2001) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest French poets of the twentieth century. He was also a prolific essayist on contemporary art and a versatile translator, producing French versions of Shakespeare, Hölderlin, Joyce, Mandelstam, and Pasternak. Paul Auster is known worldwide for his novels, as well as his films, memoirs, essays, and poetry. He is also an authority on French literature and a noted translator from the French. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. Hoyt Rogers is a poet, writer of stories and essays, and translator from the French, German, Italian, and Spanish. He divides his time between the Dominican Republic and Italy.

 “Standing in the day”: the uprightness of du Bouchet's poetry and the clarity of each of its parts as they are surrounded by the essential space about them and within them: that spaciousness and silence could not be better captured than it is here. No one has ever written poetry like this, but it wasn't about writing poetry, rather, living it.
--Mary Ann Caws, Editor, Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry
 

In this finely edited selection of the poetry and prose of André du Bouchet, two distinguished translators, Paul Auster and Hoyt Rogers, enable our eyes and ears to absorb a profoundly authoritative language world of elemental and majestic beauty. Fragmentary, stripped down, elliptical, difficult at times (but never obscure), this language world presents an unmistakable individual in an unmistakable landscape – sometimes violent, always solitary, often displaced. Du Bouchet’s peers are Hölderlin and Emily Dickinson, Beckett and Celan, Oppen and Kafka as well as, in a parallel non-verbal universe, Alberto Giacometti. Readers of du Bouchet, in their human solitude, will be strangely comforted by this path-finding existential companion, reporting back after each stage of his lifelong journey.
--Anthony Rudolf, translator of Yves Bonnefoy and author of Silent Conversations: A Reader’s Life

“An exciting addition to contemporary French poetry available in translation . . . [Hoyt Rogers’] introduction [is] the most far-reaching essay on du Bouchet that I have ever read in English.”—John Taylor, Arts Fuse

“The translations themselves are marvelous. . . . Here we have a poet whose lines often contain worlds . . . a master of the image . . . a pure pleasure to read.”—Micah Mattix, Books and Culture

‘This collection is both necessary and overdue. It is an introduction which will hopefully lead people to be aware of the extent of du Bouchet’s work and the inexhaustible mass of intelligent perceptual investigation it passionately delivers.’—Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review.
 

Longlisted for the 2015 Best Translated Book Award, poetry category -- organized by Three Percent, a resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester.
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