The Curved Planks

Yves Bonnefoy, Author, Hoyt Rogers, Translator, Richard Howard, Foreword by
Yves Bonnefoy, Author, Hoyt Rogers, Translator, Richard Howard, Foreword by , trans. from the French by Hoyt Rogers. Farrar, Straus & Giroux $22 (229p) ISBN 978-0-374-18494-0
Paperback - 229 pages - 978-0-374-53075-4
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The first poetic associations of Bonnefoy, an octogenarian French poet often mentioned in the same breath as Paul Valéry, were with the French surrealists, but he has long since been a maverick of French verse, crafting stanzas as simple as they are resonant and rooted in everything from modernism to medieval song. This sequence, composed of short series of poems that take in every form from prose to rhyme, centers, as Richard Howard notes in a baroque preface, on renewal, taking the myth of Ceres as a point of origin: "she still/ Stops at night/ Under rustling trees,/ And knocks at closed doors." Hoyt—who provides a long afterword, a translator's note and a bibliography—offers a translation that is solid and clear, and that allows for play among word and phrase senses: "the limitless space of clashing currents, of yawning abysses, of stars." (Apr.)

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