RELATED CATEGORIES

The Curved Planks Poems

Yves Bonnefoy; Translated from the French by Hoyt Rogers; Foreword by Richard Howard

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374530750

9780374530754

Trade Paperback

256 Pages

$16.00

Request Exam Copy Request Desk Copy
For decades readers and critics have acclaimed Yves Bonnefoy as France's greatest living poet. His most recent book of verse, The Curved Planks, crowns an oeuvre that has won him the highest international honors. More than any other single work, this sequence embodies the astonishing variety of Bonnefoy's art. A rich fabric of themes, styles, and genres, it balances aesthetic complexity with heartfelt directness.
 
This bilingual edition of The Curved Planks sets the French text alongside English versions by the noted translator Hoyt Rogers, who has collaborated closely with Bonnefoy in crafting poems that re-create the freshness and vision of the originals. This volume also includes a foreword by the renowned poet and critic Richard Howard and two comprehensive essays by the translator; all assist in introducing the English-language readers to Bonnefoy's profound poetic gift.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Curved Planks

“[Bonnefoy] is a poet of small epiphanies: some long-ago summer evening when the night forgot to fall while a lone child played on the road and a distant voice kept calling him.  This is the secret of his lyricism, the memory of a fragment of time touched by eternity that  he cannot let go.  Is this one obsession enough for a lifetime of poetry?  In a few of his finest poems, Bonnefoy makes us believe that it is.”—Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

"Yves Bonnefoy is one of the rare poets in the history of literature to have sustained the highest level of artistic excellence throughout an entire lifetime—more than half a century now, and still counting. These recent poems, superbly translated by Hoyt Rogers, attest to his enduring greatness."—Paul Auster
 
"Yves Bonnefoy represents contemporary French poetry at its classic best: sober and yet soaring, full of invocation and desire: 'Let this world endure . . . Let this world remain.' This volume—thanks to Hoyt Rogers, Richard Howard, and the input of Bonnefoy himself—is a splendid celebration of the depths of this particular craft, whose curved planks of its prow are shaped like a mind."—Mary Ann Caw, Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, the Graduate School of the City University of New York
 
"I have been deeply impressed, reading Hoyt Rogers's translations of Yves Bonnefoy's Les planches courbes. They are much more than English versions of these strong and delicate originals—they are re-creations that became distinct poems in our language, a true and loving homage to their source."—Alastair Reid
 
"The Curved Planks is the crowning achievement of a major French poet who has much to say to our troubled times: Yves Bonnefoy continues to explore the possibilities of hope, to assay the significance of the here and now, to chronicle the dual 'presence' of emptiness and plenitude. Hoyt Rogers has composed fluent, engaging translations that reveal a profound respect for the original poems—and for the man who wrote them."—John Taylor, author of Paths to Contemporary French Literature
 
"The first poetic associations of Bonnefoy, an octogenarian French poet often mentioned in the same breath as Paul Valry, 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.'"—Publishers Weekly 
 
 
 
Table of Contents
Foreword by Richard Howard

LA PLUIE D'ÉTÉ
SUMMER RAIN

Les rainettes, le soir
Tree Frogs, at Evening

I. Rauques etaient les voix
At evening, the tree frogs

II. Its s'attardaient, le soir
They lingered, at evening

Une pierre
A Stone

Une pierre
A Stone

La pluie d'été
Summer Rain 
     I. Mais le plus cher 
     Yet the dearest 
     II. Et tôt après le ciel
     And soon after, the sky

Une pierre
A Stone

Une pierre
A Stone

Les chemins
The Paths 
     I. Chemins, ô beaux enfants 
     Paths, O beautiful children 
     II. Et vite it nous menait 
     
And quickly he would lead us 
     III. Cérès aurait bien dû
    
Ceres, all sweat and dust

Hier, l'inachevable
Yesterday, Without End

Une pierre
A Stone

Une pierre
A Stone

Que ce monde demeure!
Let This World Endure
     I. Je redresse une branche
    
I right a broken branch
     II. Que ce monde demeure
    
Let this world endure
     III. Que ce monde demeure!
    
Let this world endure 
    
IV. Oh, que taut d'évidence
    
Let so pure a presence
     V. Que ce monde demeure
    
Let this world endure
     VI. Bois, disait celle qui
    
Drink, she said
     VII. Terre, qui vint à nous
    
Earth, who came to us
     VIII. Et encore: l'été
    
And again: summer will last

Une voix
A Voice
     I. Tout cela, mon ami
    
All that, my friend
     II. Et puisse être le ciel
    
The sky's way of being

Une pierre
A Stone

“Ye déplace du pied..."
"Among other stones..."

"Un même effacement..."
"The same effacement..."

Une pierre
A Stone

Une pierre
A Stone

"Passant, ce sont des mots..."
"Passerby, these are words ..."

"Sur la Pierre tachée..."
"On the moss-stained ..."

LA PLUIE SUR LE RAVIN 
RAIN FALLS ON THE RAVINE
     I. Il pleut, sur le ravin
    
Rain falls on the ravine
     II. Pluie des matins d'été
    
Rain of summer mornings
     III. Je me lève, je vois
    
I get up and see

À MÈME RIVE 
TOWARD THE SAME SHORE
     I. Parfois prend le miroir
    
Between sky and room
     II. Rêver: que la beauté
    
Dreaming that beauty
     III. Et plus tard on l'entend
    
And later you hear him

LA VOIX LOINTAINE 
THE FARAWAY VOICE 
     I. Je l'écoutais, puis j'ai craint
    
I listened, then feared
     II. Ou bien je l'entendais
    
Or else I was hearing her
     III. Et je l'aimais comme I aime ce son 
    
I loved her voice as I love that sound
     IV. Et la vie a passé
    
So life has passed
     V. Elle chantait, mais comme se parlant
    
She sang, as though speaking to herself
     VI. Et nul n'a bu au verre
    
And no one drank from the glass
     VII. Ne cesse pas, voix dansante
    
Never cease, dancing voice
     VIII. Ne cesse pas, voix proche
    
Never cease, nearby voice
     IX. Elle chantait: <<Je suis
    
She sang: "I am
     X. Et ombre elle était bien
    
Shadow she was
     XI. Elle chantait, et j'ai eu 
     She sang, and her words

DANS LE LEURRE DES MOTS 
IN THE LURE OF WORDS
     I. C'est le sommeil d'été
    
Again this year
     II. Et je pourrais
    
And presently

LA MAISON NATALE 
THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN
     I. Je m'éveillai
    
I woke
     II. Je m'éveillai
    
I woke
     III. Je m'éveillai
    
I woke
     IV. Une autre fois
    
Another time
     V. Or, dans le même réve
    
In the same dream
     VI. Je m'evéillai 
     I woke
     VII. Je me souviens
     I remember
     VIII. J'ouvre les yeux
    
I open my eyes
     IX. Et alors un jour vint
    
Then came the day
     X. La vie, alors
    
Life, then
     XI. Et je repars
    
And I start out again
     XII. Beauté et vérité
    
Beauty and truth 

LES BLANCHES COURBES 
THE CURVED PLANKS

L'ENCORE AVEUGLE 
STILL BLIND

L'ENCORE AVEUGLE 
STILL BLIND
     I. Les théologiens
    
The theologians 
     II. Dieu
    
God

L'OR SANS VISAGE 
FACELESS GOLD
     I. Et d'autres
    
And others
     II. Mais d'autres
    
But others
     III. Ils me parlent
    
They speak to me

JETER DES PIERRES 
THROWING STONES
Rouler plus vite
Driving Faster

Rouler plus loin
Driving Farther

Jeter des pierres
Throwing Stones

Afterword by Hoyt Rogers

Translator's Note

Bibliography

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Yves Bonnefoy has published numerous studies of literature and art, as well as an extensive dictionary of mythology. His work has been translated into many languages, and he is a celebrated translator of Shakespeare and Yeats. He lives in Paris.
Read the full excerpt
BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Yves Bonnefoy; Translated from the French by Hoyt Rogers; Foreword by Richard Howard

  • Yves Bonnefoy has published seven major poetry collections, numerous studies of literature and art, and an extensive dictionary of mythology. His work has been translated into many languages, and he is a celebrated translator of Shakespeare and Yeats. He lives in Paris.
     
    Hoyt Rogers translates poetry and other literary works from the French, German, and Spanish. He is also the author of a book of poems, Witnesses, and a volume of criticism, The Poetics of Inconstancy. He lives in the Dominican Republic.
  • Yves Bonnefoy Copyright Martine Franck
BACK