In the Shadow's Light

Yves Bonnefoy, Author, John Naughton, Translator
Yves Bonnefoy, Author, John Naughton, Translator University of Chicago Press $34 (190p) ISBN 978-0-226-06447-5
Paperback - 190 pages - 978-0-226-06448-2
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In the moving poem ``The Farewell,'' Bonnefoy asks a loved one if, ``in the language called poetry / There is only one word for designating / The morning and the evening sun.'' The poet himself answers in the affirmative yet proceeds to expand his statement by way of an image: poems are ``brambles'' springing up ``among the stones,'' or what the poet sees as the words of a poem. In the fascinating interview, conducted by Naughton ( The Poetics of Yves Bonnefoy ), that ends this volume, Bonnefoy says that ``poetry is an experience of what goes beyond words,'' engendering a ``fleeting perception'' of a ``state of . . . unity'' in which the soul is ``at peace.'' Brambles, then, like poetry, stimulate our senses, or, as the poet says in ``The Well, the Brambles,'' they ``scratch our faces,'' making us aware of the beauty around us. These enlightening and often exhilarating poems seek to use language to go beyond language, to encompass whole states of feeling, and to achieve a fusion of antitheses--hope and despair, darkness and light, life and death. Bonnefoy ( Concordance Poemesstet per BIP ) has been awarded France's prestigious Prix Goncourt. This is a bilingual edition. (Feb.)
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