Interlitq publica ensaio em Inglês “Louis Calaferte’s Le Sang violet de l’améthyste” de John Taylor, um colaborador para a edição 11 e edição 15 da Interlitq
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Louis Calaferte’s Le Sang violet de l’améthyste
When a friend who has never read Louis Calaferte (1928-1994) stands before a bookcase housing over a hundred volumes by this French writer, poet, playwright, and diarist, he or she inevitably asks: where to begin? It is easy to suggest Calaferte’s moving first book, Requiem des innocents (1952), his erotic novel Septentrion (1963), or his short narratives depicting female sexuality, La Mécanique des femmes (1992); and, as complements, perhaps his memoir of the Second World War in Lyon, C’est la Guerre (1993), or the exposition of his Christian anarchist philosophy, L’Homme vivant (1994). Depending on the friend, some of Calaferte’s plays, collected in six volumes at the Éditions Hesse, might be more suitable. Or his poetry, but Calaferte’s prolificacy can be intimidating in this genre as well: the Éditions Tarabuste alone has issued over thirty titles.
As for myself, whenever I have taken on this informal advisory role, I have recommended Le Sang violet de l’améthyste ever since it appeared posthumously at Gallimard in 1998. First of all, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst enables one to break the critical habit of returning to the same handful of books; and notably the first one, Requiem des innocents, little matter how engaging and timely this memoir of growing up in an impoverished quarter of Lyon remains. Too often, critics (and well-meaning enthusiasts) mechanically cite this title, retell the story of the encouragement that Calaferte received from the writer Joseph Kessel, and then almost forget what has been written ever since then and awaits them on their desks. The same applies to Septentrion, the graphic eroticism and bold anarchistic underpinnings of which caused it to be legally restricted—in one of the rare cases of censorship in postwar France—to a “not for commercial sale” status for twenty-one years (1963-1984). The long-banned book thus has its own diversionary story to tell, and it should be told, but it can also divert attention away from what is essential: the contents of the book and its exceptional style. Of course, the two novels fully deserve their critical reputations, and especially Septentrion, which deepened Calaferte’s approach and marked a new departure for him. But this is not my topic here.
The near-exclusive emphasis that is placed on them overlooks the glaring bibliographical fact that Calaferte, as far as prose is concerned, soon became essentially an author of short prose. Early books like Satori (1968) and Rosa Mystica (1968) already reveal the propensity to brevity and narrative fragmentation that informs nearly all his subsequent writing. Instead of expanding or amplifying, as a novelist or even a short story writer must do, Calaferte increasingly strives for formal compression, aphoristic acuteness, vivacity, tightness in a syntax that sometimes becomes less linked to that of colloquial speech, as well as—in apparent contrast—multifarious characters, narrative viewpoints, emotions, ideas, scenes, settings, and styles. Similarly, his poems are not only often short but also diversified in form, tonality, and contents. After the first decade of his literary career (during which he also publishes the novel Partage des vivants in 1953), his prose enters into broad generic categories like “poetic prose” or simply “short prose.” (By the way, this latter novel, long out of print, has recently been reissued by the Éditions Tarabuste; and its narrative structure, sometimes built out of scenes not always connected to each other by smooth transitions, reveals that the author’s sensibility was already oriented towards short prose.) He abandons the novel and ignores more traditional forms of the short story, two rare counterexamples of which constitute his book Campagnes (1979), which in turn is called a récit (narrative), in the singular. Indeed, he often produces books to which no conventional labels—novel, short-story collection, and even the rather vague and thus useful term récit—can be applied. If one wishes to grasp the whole writer, one must incorporate much more into the picture; and this much more is multifaceted, ever-moving, and often consists of what one might call “brevities” linked to other “brevities.” These brevities are organized in such ways that the book, or the sequence of texts, delves, and from several angles, into its subject matter.
Hence the special significance of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst. The book displays the gamut of Calaferte’s styles and themes, as well as several facets of his literary sensibility. There are poems (in various forms), short prose narratives (also in various forms), “notes” rather like some of those that fill his sixteen published Carnets (Notebooks), aphorisms, single sharp images removed from any explanatory context, and quotations ranging from verse by Emily Dickinson (whom he translates for the occasion) to a description found in Jean-Baptiste La Curne de Sainte-Palaye’s Mémoire de l’ancienne Chevalerie considérée comme un établissement politique et militaire. The latter represents one of several similar discoveries made among the old editions that this very modern author also loved.
Calaferte juxtaposes erotic depictions with alchemical concepts, philosophical speculations, seemingly personal memories, a few observed or imagined childhood scenes and—most unexpectedly—laconic monologues spoken by Polyphemus, the Homeric Cyclops. The settings otherwise shift, though not uniquely, between two metaphorically antipodal cities, London and Venice, which respectively represent northern Europe—think of Septentrion once again—and southern Europe. The reader believes that the author is or has been in “ornate” Venice and “cottony” London, but this autobiographical effect may well be deceptive. Such is the case elsewhere, notably in the short prose texts that employ a narrative “I” in L’Incarnation (1987), Promenade dans un parc (1987), or Memento mori (1988).
And Time, too, is a central mystery in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst. Several historical periods are called up, and they thus extend—though in no linear order—from archaic Greece (with its resonant archetypal myths), through the Middle Ages, to the narrator’s present, which is our present. Yet taken as a whole, the texts also seem to form the “present” of dreaming or, even more convincingly, of insomnia: those moments, minutes, or hours that parade by with their chaotic (and chronologically non-linear) images, memories, stories, aspirations, and thoughts, before the final two sentences can be spoken or heard: “Fear nothing. Fall asleep.”
Other stylistic techniques or thematic ingredients that enter into The Violet Blood of the Amethyst have been used before by Calaferte, yet differently: for example, in the poetry collection Londonniennes (1985), the cruel narratives of Portrait de l’enfant (1969), the dialogues in Calaferte’s plays (and in some of his prose works, even going as far back as Requiem des innocents and Partage des vivants), not to mention the erotic vignettes of The Way It Works with Women (the English title of La Mécanique des femmes). In this sense, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is a sort of distillate; or a collection of distillates, depending on one’s appraisal of the unity, or disunity, of the book. Implicitly asserting its coherence, Calaferte himself specifies in his fifteenth notebook, Dimensions (2009), which covers the year 1993, that The Violet Blood of the Amethyst also constitutes a “landmark,” “marker,” or “indicator.” The writer refers (on December 23rd) to this book (and Les Fontaines silencieuses) as “book-bearings [livres repères] that are also poetic books [and] stand in a sort of zone parallel to the public.” He also emphasizes their “high sincerity,” which is a manner of stating their personal importance to him and the authenticity of his intent, though not, strictly speaking, any precise autobiographical inspiration. With respect to this latter critical question, time and again the reader must meditate on the first sentence of the book: “I call ‘world’ that which does not resemble me.”
Calaferte’s initial efforts to write The Violet Blood of the Amethyst go back to 1989, five years before his death. In the thirteenth notebook, Situation (2007), which covers the year 1991, he mentions (on September 23rd) that the first pages had been written two years beforehand and then laid aside; and he observes that they have a “dreamlike vein,” a remark hinting at the possibility that the sequence mirrors dreaming or insomnia. On the same day, he records his wife Guillemette’s insightful reaction to these pages: “a fantastical and kaleidoscopic vision of our wounded and furiously eroticized world”—a statement putting the accent on what is outside, exterior: the world. This constitutes one of the essential dichotomies of the book. However, Calaferte adds that, for the time being, only the “entrancing” or “spellbinding” nature of the project entices him. Four days later, he abandons the manuscript once again in order to concentrate on The Way It Works with Women. Ultimately, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst will be mostly written after that book and before C’est la guerre and at about the same time as the posthumously published volumes Maître Faust (2001) and Les Fontaines silencieuses (2005).
Calaferte would work swiftly and intensely once inspiration had grasped him. His Notebooks recount sometimes rather long fallow periods, followed by prolonged bursts of exceptional creative energy. Several times in his Notebooks he writes of the importance, for a writer, of patience, of knowing how to “wait.” The composition of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is no exception. As his fourteenth notebook, Direction (2008), reveals, he was pondering the project again by February 26th (1992). A little less than three weeks later, on March 15th, he recommences work on its “fine mosaic.” Typically, by March 19th, he has already produced fifty pages; and by March 29th he sees the end: “Begun on March 15th, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is finished today. I need to put it in order, which is a fastidious task. I would like this odd book to have the perfection of jewelry work.”
“Finished” thus means that the creative inspiration has run its course. There is still much work to be done which, presumably, engages the analytical intellect more than it does the other mental, emotional, and artistic qualities that have fuelled the composition of the individual pieces. This goal of ordering the texts seems to have been attained by June 26th, as a remark about the “mise au net” of the book and Maître Faust suggests. Two months later finds him continuing to translate poems by Emily Dickinson, the main tutelary figure of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, which also reproduces lines by Martial, Propertius, William Blake, and others. In his labors to bring Dickinson into French, Calaferte chooses fifty-five poems from her work because of their “at once mystical and esoteric resonance.” He hopes to “penetrate the magic, religious, and esoteric meaning of [Dickinson’s] fascinatingly complex oeuvre.” This same challenge faces the reader of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst.
Calaferte’s own phrases—“fine mosaic,” “jewelry work”— define this challenge on the structural level. To what extent is the book intricately arranged? Is it a mosaic, an artistic form that demands more attentive ordering and precise craftsmanship than a collage, let alone a simple collection of texts? A mosaic forms a pattern. Is there a “pattern” visible in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst? Back in 1991, when the author rereads the pages drafted in 1989, he notes (in Situation) that the initial construction of the book is “completely arbitrary” and that this “alarms” him.
At the minimum, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is a commonplace book. Historically, the genre goes back at least as far as the thirteenth-century Italian zibaldone. Such hodgepodges collect sayings, maxims, topics, arguments, opinions, truisms, sundry quotations, and even drawings. They gather a writer’s findings, what has influenced him (or what he wishes will influence him), what has amused him, what seems instructive, and thus reflect as much the whims and intentions of his mind as his practical writing routines (and, possibly, his search for inspiration). The English word “commonplace” translates the Latin locus communis (“widely applicable argument or thesis”), which in turn renders the Greek koinos topos. The playwright Ben Jonson’s Timber: Or Discoveries (1640), for instance, is a commonplace book that includes experimental drafts, mini-essays, maxims, reflections, and examples of other genres. And so is, more or less, Leopardi’s Zibaldone, compiled by the Italian poet and thinker (1798-1837) between 1817 and 1832. (Calaferte never saw the first full French translation of this book, which appeared in 2003.) Quoted on two occasions in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, Leopardi put together an enormous journal particularly focused on philosophical ideas. But the Italian poet’s Zibaldone is no truly representative example of the genre in that a commonplace book might comprise introspective jottings, but it is essentially open to the world in that it gathers what the writer comes across, not what he himself produces in terms of personal writings. This is not the case for Leopardi’s masterwork. And there is a sense of usefulness to a commonplace book: it can be consulted by the author or by others. The Violet Blood of the Amethyst fits this definition, but there is much more to it.
An examination of the original manuscript confirms this. Calaferte wrote the first drafts of the short texts in a big notebook that also includes the daily jottings of his journal (which would become the volume Direction) and parts of a second book, Maître Faust. The texts in this original manuscript were typed up, then cut up and rearranged. The order in which they appear in the notebook differs greatly from that of the original French edition of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst. In addition, the manuscript reveals that the author originally intended to call the texts “La Fontaine silencieuse.” In other words, Calaferte inverted the titles of the two books.
The second epigraph gives the crucial hint as to why Calaferte rearranged the texts. “Unum in uno circulo sive vase” means “one thing in one circle or vessel.” Already, a quest for unity is announced. Calaferte found the quotation in a footnote (about the hermetic Tractatus aureus) in Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychologie et alchimie (French translation, 1970). The same Latin phrase is repeated in Jung’s Dreams, to which Jung adds another footnote that provides the original context of the phrase: “The circumambulation has its parallel in the [. . .] ‘circulation of spirits of circular distillation, that is, the outside to the inside, the inside to the outside, likewise the lower and the upper; and when they meet together in one circle, you could no longer recognize what was outside or inside, or lower or upper; but all would be one thing in one circle or vessel [my italics]. For this vessel is the true philosophical Pelican, and there is no other to be sought for in all the world.’”
This circularity, or unity, is difficult, if not impossible, to find because the world is full of disparities, conflicts, contradictions, oppositions. Calaferte hints that he has structured the texts of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst around this dilemma, not only by means of his second epigraph, but also when he refers almost offhandedly (and in parentheses) to “Apuleius’s contradictory cross. Alterutrae.” The key term “alterutrae” means “alternates,” but it is used by Apuleius (in his logical treatise, Peri Hermeneias) in the sense of “contraries,” “opposites,” “contradictions.” Apuleius was also fascinated by oppositions and potential unity. Similarly, although Heraclitus is not mentioned in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, Calaferte elsewhere cites the pre-Socratic philosopher’s related ideas; for example, the fragment: “Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.” This is one of the deepest movements, or leitmotivs, in Calaferte’s entire oeuvre.
When reading The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, it is stimulating to keep in mind such “contraries” and, even more so, alchemists’ searches to efface or dissolve the dichotomies of “inside” / “outside” and “lower” / “upper.” On the one hand, the book displays or reveals what is “outside,” in the “world,” as is suggested by the aforementioned first line: “I call ‘world’ that which does not resemble me.” But equally forcible is the impression that the book brings out what is “inside” a mind, be this mind the creative author’s or—less autobiographically—a particular narrative “mind” that expresses not only some of its idiosyncrasies but also and especially representative elements of what Jung called “the collective unconscious”; that is, a mind employing a narrative “I” that would encompass more, as it were, than its strictly autobiographical circumscription; more than its “contents” based on personal experiences (of sundry mental and physical varieties); a mind that would be as much a receptacle as a fountainhead.
This narrative “I” in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is compounded by the presence of other “I’s.” Sometimes even Polyphemus sounds like the poet: “I am the visionary of what remains unaccomplished.” For this declaration expresses the thematic thrust of the book and resembles, in fact, the aforementioned characteristic movement or leitmotif in Calaferte’s oeuvre: the elaboration of what is heading for some kind of “accomplishment” or ending; and this movement in fact seems to end with the previously mentioned solemn, soothing injunction: “Fear nothing. Fall asleep.” An accomplishment that marks an ending or, rather — if one takes the author’s hints — signifies that the alchemical circle has been formed once again, that the cycle has been renewed, that “accomplishment” implies continuity. Furthermore, Polyphemus tries to perceive who or what is stalking him, who or what will kill him. Does the Cyclops thus represent the author, who was writing this book as the signs of his fatal illness were becoming ever more pressing? This matters little. Polyphemus represents the fundamental condition of any human being: that of facing finitude, death.
The Violet Blood of the Amethyst is likewise permeated by the notion of a “return,” a desire associated with Ulysses, who is Polyphemus’s protagonist. The oft-evoked “sea” (mer)—with its tantalizing French homophone mère (mother) that is especially audible because of the conspicuous lack of definite and indefinite articles—is linked to this wish for a “return” and therefore to Ulysses the wanderer. Return implies circularity, once again, and recalls the archaic and mythological image of a snake biting its tail—the ouroboros, which is mentioned early on in The Violet Blood of the Amethyst and which is also the title of the bold “chant” written by Calaferte in an invented language in 1964, excerpted by Maurice Nadeau for Les Lettres Nouvelles in 1965, and reissued by the Éditions Tarabuste in 1995. This archaic image seems to materialize when the final sentence—about the narrator’s falling off to sleep—rejoins the first sentence that announces the separation of the world and the narrative “I” (or the ego tout court) and thus acknowledges almost an awakening or a birth. The Violet Blood of the Amethyst likewise records halts and detours made during a journey—the journey of writing, of life (in its physical and spiritual aspects), an itinerary such as experienced Ulysses with all his multifaceted symbolism—aimed at gaining insight into an eternal cycle which promises to turn disparities and contraries back into sameness, oneness. Ulysses will be obliged to blind — essentially, to kill — Polyphemus. In The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, Polyphemus and Ulysses are essentially one and the same figure.
Similarly, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst—like other books by Calaferte—sets off what is “lower” against what is “upper,” and points to or relates attempts to reconcile the two levels. Roughly stated, this vertical dichotomy involves a physical, natural, and/or sexual level and a mental and/or spiritual level. This spiritual or metaphysical level is nearly always present in Calaferte’s writing, in one way or another. Here it is announced from the onset, in the first epigraph: “All then, in a word, who have spoken of divine things, both Barbarians and Greeks, have veiled the first principles of things, and delivered the truth in enigmas, and symbols, and allegories, and metaphors, and such like tropes.” His use of The Song of Songs is also emblematic in this respect. Some passages state the dichotomy directly:
Weight of the earth. Incommensurable mass. Heavily laden with desire.
Bodies are offered in their vulnerable opacity.
Come—so that I may relieve you—so that together we may relieve ourselves.
So that, through contradiction, we learn how to elevate ourselves.
So that before returning to our mud, we rise through the levels of ether.
Analyses such as the preceding take Calaferte at his word in regard to epigraphs and key phrases found in the texts themselves. But are these exegeses going too far? Calaferte doubted that it was possible to analyze poetry. In Choses dites (1997), in regard to Verlaine’s famous line “les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne” (literally, “the prolonged sobbing of autumn violins”), he maintains: “That is what poetry is. It is nothing else. . . You receive it. Without explanation.” The title Le Sang violet de l’améthyste is “poetic” in this direct, immediate sense, not least in its surreal, oxymoronic, and mystical qualities; perhaps it essentially represented for Calaferte little more than a poetic trouvaille. The author’s thoughts about the title are delineated nowhere in the Notebooks. This being said, the title itself expresses an extraordinarily rich dichotomy, even several dichotomies. The “violet blood” is contained in, flows through, the solid rock of the “amethyst,” a gem which is fashioned from a fixed internal geometry and which, in Greek mythology and history, is symbolically associated with meditation, mental clarity, and peace of mind. The etymology of the word (Greek a-methystos “not drunk, not intoxicating”) could not be clearer; the gem was thought to ward off both literal and metaphorical inebriation. “Blood” has its own spectrum of contrasting symbols, ranging from bodily passion and the blood of Christ to life. And one must never neglect the importance of this key-word—Life—for the author of L’Homme vivant. In brief, the title forthwith suggests a struggle between Apollonian and Dionysian elements (to borrow Goethe’s and Nietzsche’s vocabulary), between an ideal serenity and life in its surging, inebriating, chaotic physicality. In Choses dites, this concrete poem expresses one side of the equation:
The amethyst represents the other side. And this is why the title, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst, sums up Calaferte’s entire oeuvre. Taken as a whole, Calaferte’s oeuvre reveals a multifaceted literary sensibility, one aspect of which is pursuing truth not merely through poetry (and playful poetry), but also through logic, the precise alignment of words: syntax. This intellectual and stylistic intention is especially present in his aphoristic writings, in countless analytical passages of his Notebooks, as well as in some passages of The Violet Blood of the Amethyst.
The symbolic balance of the French title is thus crucial and argues for the decision to render it literally. The translation problem revolves around the color “violet.” Generally speaking, when a French speaker perceives the color “violet,” an English speaker perceives the same color as “purple.” The adjective “pourpre” exists in French, even as “violet” exists in English, but when we say “purple,” the French speaker will see and say “pourpre” if and only if there is a pronounced reddish hue to the purple; otherwise, it will be “violet” in French. Moreover, descriptions of the gem “amethyst” in geology manuals give the color of the quartz as “violet” if the manual is French and most often as “purple” if the manual is English, even if (in English) a specific “amethyst violet” hue of purple exists and is described as being, once again, a reddish purple. Specifically, to cite Websters, amethyst violet is “a variable color averaging a moderate purple that is redder and duller than heliotrope or manganese violet, bluer and duller than cobalt violet, and darker and slightly stronger than average lilac.” A variable color, indeed!
Yet the arguments for rendering “violet” as “violet,” and not as the somewhat more natural “purple,” ultimately win out. The English “purple” as well as the thereby different French “pourpre” both connote imperial or regal rank, power, and wealth. Such considerations do not enter into Calaferte’s symbolic matrix whatsoever, even negatively when he pays tribute to the impoverished poets Luíz Vas de Camoens, Thomas Chatteron, and James Thomson. Calaferte describes the blood of the amethyst as being neither “pourpre,” nor “rouge,” nor “bleu” (which has still other connotations), but rather as “violet,” which, as a “French” color, strikes a balance between blue and red. Less heavily laden with symbolism, violet is associated with Christian mystical unions of various kinds, with amorous fusion, as well as with submission—a theme present in some scenes—and melancholy. Qualifying blood with this adjective fashions a thought-provoking subtlety, a symbolic intricacy. Moreover, the word “violet” and its derivative “violine” appear only once each in the actual texts, yet “violent” recurs several times. A coincidence? It is hard to believe so when one reads Calaferte’s remarks in his Notebooks about creating a “fine mosaic” and crafting “jewelry.” Furthermore, Calaferte perhaps had a particular affinity with the letter “v,” or attributed a special symbolic significance to it, as the countless fricative “v-sounds” in the invented language of his poem Ouroboros suggest. “Blood” appears often and variously. “Amethyst” shows up not even once, as if the gem were the form, the internal crystalline geometry, through which the texts—the violet and sometimes violent blood—were flowing, giving life to the form, to the book, constructing it. Unum in uno circulo sive vase. . . Ultimately, the alchemical phrase says all. The Violet Blood of the Amethyst seeks wholeness and gives it a form.
Translating Calaferte is no easy matter. Besides the difficulties of rendering a few quotations originally penned in older French and of finding equivalents for the French translations that the author uses for some Latin verse and that also sometimes possess archaic diction, his style itself exhibits idiosyncrasies. Most striking of all is the near-systematic suppression of articles at the beginning of many sentences and invocations, most conspicuously for the key word mer. This absence of definite and indefinite articles can suggest jotting down notes (as in a commonplace book), but beyond this stylistic habit, and because of it, physical matter surges forth in all its immediacy, substantiality and timelessness. I have nearly always mirrored Calaferte’s French in such cases and have attempted to remain as close as possible to the word order, all the more so in that logic—the conflict of contraries and their potential resolution—and thus syntactic logic are at stake in the book. Although he is an author inclined to realistic, even clinical precision, Calaferte also introduces various philosophical abstractions that call for careful scrutiny before finding English equivalents. Writing about Dickinson and implicitly about his project to translate her, Calaferte underscores in Direction, on September 23, 1992, the necessity of “bringing out her intelligence, her knowledge, the depth and gravity of her thinking, her singular temperament, her mysticism, her anguish before death.” Communicating that necessity, while translating this emblematic book, has been my goal.
This essay is a slightly abridged version of the text introducing Taylor’s translation, The Violet Blood of the Amethyst (forthcoming from Chelsea Editions in New York).
“From Darkness to Light (Louis Calaferte),” Paths to Contemporary French Literature, volume 1, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2004, pp. 152-160.
“Belief, Magic, Miracle”: Louis Calaferte as Poet,” Paths to Contemporary French Literature, volume 2, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2007, pp. 185-198.
Sobre Louis Calaferte: Louis Calaferte (1928-1994) was one of most prolific and controversial French writers of the twentieth century. Consisting of over ninety titles, his published oeuvre includes some forty poetry collections, six volumes of collected plays, an extraordinary rich series of notebooks, several books of short prose, and much-debated novels such as Requiem des innocents (1952), Septentrion (1963), or La Mécanique des femmes (1992)—the latter published in an English translation at Northwestern University Press as The Way It Works with Women. Drafted at the very end of his life and issued posthumously, Le Sang violet de l’améthyste (1998) offers an essential key to the unity of this multifarious body of work. An interconnected sequence of poems, short prose narratives, quotations, and aphorisms, the book brings out all his characteristic themes and displays his various writing styles. John Taylor has received a grant from the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation to translate this book as The Violet Blood of the Amethyst (forthcoming from Chelsea Editions).
Sobre John Taylor: John Taylor received a 2011 NEA grant for his project to translate Georges Perros’s Papiers collés and a second grant, from the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation, to translate Louis Calaferte’s Le Sang violet de l’améthyste. He has recently translated books by Philippe Jaccottet (And, Nonetheless, Chelsea), Pierre-Albert Jourdan (The Straw Sandals, Chelsea), and Jacques Dupin (Of Flies and Monkeys, Bitter Oleander Press). Taylor’s most recent collection of personal writings is The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos), and he has a new book, If Night is Falling, forthcoming with the Bitter Oleander Press in April, 2012. He is also the author of the three-volume essay collection, Paths to Contemporary French Literature (Transaction), as well as Into the Heart of European Poetry (Transaction).