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Notebook Fragments, 1952–1954
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Published: Fri Feb 15 2019
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Notebook Fragments, 1952–1954

Translated from the French by Eric Fishman


                                                       my daughter—you will not recognize her.
                                                       you’ll say—there’s air
                                                       a hill—birds singing the end of a day—
                                                       all that’s impalpable, recognizable
                                                       —and that will be my daughter
                                                       appearing in a poem


                                             my poem runs ceaselessly
                              in front of me
                                             as if the edge of the air
                                                  had caught fire


                    I scratch out the day, like
                    a shard of glass
                                                            or voice


what poetry withers needs no water            what it dries
                                                                                           sheds light
                                                     water slower than stones


André du Bouchet
(1924–2001) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest French authors of the twentieth century. Not only a groundbreaking poet, he was also a prolific translator from the English, German, and Russian, as well as an art and literary critic. During his lifetime he published nearly seventy volumes: from dozens of volumes of verse, to works on Giacometti and collaborations with Miró, to translations of Faulkner, Shakespeare, Joyce, and Pasternak. In the late sixties he co-founded—with Yves Bonnefoy, Jacques Dupin, and Paul Celan—the influential literary journal L’Éphémère. Among many other honors, he was awarded the National Poetry Prize in 1983.

Eric Fishman is an elementary school teacher, writer, and translator. His compilation Outside: Poems by André du Bouchet, co-translated with Hoyt Rogers, is forthcoming this spring. (1/2019)

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