Claire Malroux’s lyrical poetry sings in discord with French Symbolist and Surrealist traditions. This is a book of extraordinary beauty: “love songs,” hard-earned belief and disbelief. She does all this through observation of the natural world, language, and the human spirit. These are urban and pastoral poems. Here’s chamber music and music for a full orchestra. Malroux’s poetry requires a great translator and she has one in Marilyn Hacker, a major, prize-winning American poet.
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Reviews / Endorsements
"Claire Malroux breaks up words the way she'd split flint, grinds them like marble into dust. In another poem she is the awkward alchemist, brewing her own love. In still another, 'the book unwrites itself, whiter than night.' Marilyn Hacker's marvelous translations keep pace
with Malroux's doings and undoings, makings and unmakings: Hacker catches the flash, the violence, the tenderness, the fleshliness and the airiness of Malroux's paradoxical art."—Rosanna Warren
"The personal and universal cataclysms in Claire Malroux's poetry—a maelstrom of love, torment and sweetness—are viewed as though through the calm lens of a dream. All is surging, hushed, violently human. Marilyn Hacker's gifted translation captures the tone flawlessly."—John Ashbery
From the Book:
Birds-cries so close by, right in
The bed. Inexhaustible
Anguish. Bubbles of a poignant sweetness
Penetrate slackened sleep. You'd only need
To stretch out your hand and strangle
Those throats like an alarm-clock's stridence
Signaling the daily round's return
But now your hand won't obey. Has a branch
Come in through the window with its scratchy
Twigs and all their inhabitants?
Meanwhile the cries become incoherent
Words searching out meaning
In a play to which the sleeper dreaming
Out loud has lost the key, recollection
Of one more prison known in a life to come
CLAIRE MALROUX, was born in the south of France, but now divides her time between Paris and Cabourg. She divides her efforts, similarly, between poetry and translation. She is the author of ten books of poems, most recently La Femme Sans Paroles and Suspens. Chambre avec vue sur l'éternité, an imaginative study of Emily Dickinson, was published by Gallimard in 2005.
MARILYN HACKER was born in New York, but now splits her time between New York, where she teaches at City College, and Paris. Her first collection, Presentation Piece, won the National Book Award. She is the author of eleven books, including Desesperanto and Essays on Departure. She has translated many contemporary French poets, including Claire Malroux, Guy Goffette, Hédi Kaddour, and Vénus Khoury-Ghata.