(For the Feast of Fools)
She was asleep: her finger trembled, with no amethyst on it
and bare, under her shirt: after a sad sigh,
it halted, lifting the linen to her navel.
And her belly seemed to be the snow
where, while a sunbeam gilds the forest again,
the mossy nest of a bright goldfinch might have fallen.
Among women whose love is a dried-out orange
that keeps an old perfume when the gilded nectar is gone,
I sought the Infinite that makes man sin,
and found only a Gulf the enemy of sleep.
— The Infinite, proud dream that cradles in its swell
each star and every heart just like a fine sand!
— a Gulf, spiked with sour brambles, where
a fetid stream of make-up mixed with wine rolls on!
O mystical, o bleeding, o amorous woman
mad with the scent of candles and of incense, not knowing
what Demon warped you that evening when, in misery,
you licked a picture of the Sacred Heart,
your knees, calloused by dreamlike prayers,
I kiss them, and your feet that would becalm the sea;
I want to plunge my head between your stringy thighs
and weep my error under your bitter hair-shirt;
there, my saint, drunk on ecstatic perfumes,
in the oblivion of the black Gulf and of dear Infinity,
having sung very softly my long canticles,
I will put my pain to sleep on your young flesh.
Wednesday 28 January 2015, 18:30 – 20:30
Room 246 (Senate House)
London WC1E 7HU
In celebration of all things translation Alba Londres is excited to present this lecture by Peter Manson: The Poem’s Inverse: From Mallarmé in English to English in Mallarmé and Back.
Drawing on his personal threads into and out of translation, the lecture will chart the various functions that translation have played in his own history of ‘being somebody who writes’. It will be a rare chance to hear Peter talk about his work here in London and there will be chance for questions and discussion after.
See this page at the School of Advanced Studies for details.
New from Blart Books in London:
English in Mallarmé
by Peter Manson
With an introduction by Ellen Dillon.
English in Mallarmé
Manson reveals English words hiding within the original French text of Mallarmé’s poems.
“These pages are strewn with shreds of words: unevenly dispersed, semantically uncomfortable in each other’s company, they stumble together to make momentary meaning before drifting apart on the white space of the page.”
(The rest of Ellen Dillon’s preface can be read by clicking here and then following the “Preview” link below the book cover.)
Click here for a sample poem.
84pp, £7.00 in UK (see website for overseas rates). ISBN 978-1-326-06629-1. November 2014.
Available post-free from The Book Depository.
Thanks to Stephen Emmerson and Lucy Harvest Clarke.
Readers in search of more conventional translations of Mallarmé’s Poésies may prefer The Poems in Verse from Miami University Press. I’m just saying.
Reprint. Appropriation (&) Literature
Just received my copy of this new anthology of Appropriation Literature, edited by Annette Gilbert and published by Luxbooks in Wiesbaden. The anthology includes illustrated samples from 126 works by 90 authors, with a bilingual commentary in German and English. It includes some pages from my English in Mallarmé pdf from ubu.com.
A print edition of English in Mallarmé is due soon from Blart Books in London.
Albert Guillaume’s wonderful Siouxsie Sioux-alike illustration for Mallarmé’s poem Éventail, from the Gil Blas illustré of 4 juin 1892.