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Poems and Selections from the "Livre"
Stéphane Mallarmé; Blake Bronson-Bartlett, trans.; Robert Fernandez, trans.

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2015 • 232 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry - French

$17.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7580-7
$13.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7581-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

In the latter part of Azure, Bronson-Bartlett and Fernandez venture into the darkest patch of the Mallarméan forest—the notes that he made toward his projected ‘great work’ (usually... [continued in Reviews below]”—Alex Ross, New Yorker

A vibrant new translation of a modernist poet

During his lifetime, Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–1898) was recognized as one of the greatest living French poets. He wrote extensively on themes of reality and his desire to turn away from it, marrying form and content in revolutionary ways that departed drastically from the more tightly controlled French tradition. Despite his status as one of the first modernists, much of Mallarmé’s radicalism has been lost in translation. Finally, in this new collection by Blake Bronson-Bartlett and Robert Fernandez, the magic and mastery of form and diction, so striking in Mallarmé’s French verse, comes to life in English. Drawing from Poésies (1899), Un coup de dés (A Cast of Dice), and the “Livre” (the “Book”—the overarching conceptual work left unfinished at the death of the poet), this collection captures Mallarmé’s true linguistic brilliance, bringing the poems into our current history while retaining the music, playfulness, and power of the originals.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“In the latter part of Azure, Bronson-Bartlett and Fernandez venture into the darkest patch of the Mallarméan forest—the notes that he made toward his projected ‘great work’ (usually called the ‘Livre’). This is the first extended English translation of the notes, and they carry mystification to the breaking point.”—Alex Ross, New Yorker

“Bronson-Bartlett and Fernandez not only showcase Mallarmé’s poetic sensibility, genius, beauty and skill, but their own as well.”—Diane Goodman, American Book Review

“These vivid and utterly convincing translations reopen the poems to controversy, nuance, and innovation. They refresh the poet’s reputation as a sovereign enigma.”—Donald Revell, author of Tantivy

“The best translation is a hundred translations, and Mallarmé, as one of the inaugural monsters of Modernism, needs at least that many even to begin to reveal his complexities. This new one is exceptionally welcome, as it is a poets’ Mallarmé, built of what earlier translators have left out. Bronson-Bartlett and Fernandez give particular freedom to Mallarmé’s radical music as well as to his essential strangeness. The inclusion of a sizable section of Mallarmé’s work-in-eternal-progress, the ‘Livre,’ never before translated into English, makes a substantial contribution to Mallarmé studies, as does their excellent introduction. Not only a must for Mallarmé enthusiasts, but also simply a grippingly great read!”—Cole Swensen

Azure collects previously untranslated and high-octane versions of well-known poems from Mr. Mallarmé's killer oeuvre. In the tradition of Pound's Homage to Sextus Propertius, these trans-vers add a spiritedness and contemporariness to one of our most contemporary of poets. Messieurs Bronson-Bartlett and Fernandez have done heavy lifting with their introduction and for the future of Mallarmé studies.”—Peter Gizzi

From the Book:


Then nothing, bright spray, hymnal holiday,
To show us but this skin;
Dead ahead, impacted sirens
Roll perversely: a log of bodies

We set our course, O rangy
Friends, I already at aft,
You at the glinting fore which breaks
The sea’s membrane of flashes and shivers

A honeyed drunkenness sends me
Fearless into foundering
Forward with poise to toast

Solitude, reef, star
These which gathered, drew resonant
And plumped the naked canvas of our craft

STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ was a poet and critic. Considered an influence on Symbolism, Decadence, and other late nineteenth-century aesthetic movements, Mallarmé’s weekly salons were part of the heart of Parisian intellectual life and drew writers such as Yeats, Rilke, and Valéry. Blake Bronson-Bartlett is a postdoctoral teaching fellow in American Studies at Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany. His scholarship on Walt Whitman in French translation can be found at Robert Fernandez is the author of two collections of poetry, We Are Pharaoh and Pink Reef, and his poems have appeared in Poetry, A Public Space, Court Green, and elsewhere. He lives in Iowa City.

This project is supported in part by an award from
National Endowment for the Arts

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:30:04 -0500