Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Poets
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
DaybreakNew and Selected Poems
by Claire Malroux, translated from the French and with an introduction by Marilyn Hacker
For more than four decades Claire Malroux has blazed a unique path in contemporary French poetry. She is influenced by such French poets as Mallarmé and Yves Bonnefoy, but her work also bears the mark, and this is unusual in France, of Anglophone poets like Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, and Derek Walcott. A prominent translator of poetry from English into French, Malroux is one of those rare poets whose work is informed by a day-to-day intimacy with a second language in its greatest variations and subtleties. Her poems move between an intense but philosophical and abstract interiority and an acute engagement with the material world. This bilingual selection by the award-winning poet and translator Marilyn Hacker presents Malroux’s oeuvre, from her early lyric poems to an excerpt from A Long-Gone Sun—a poem-memoir of life in southern France before and during World War II—to new and uncollected poems, including an elegiac sequence written after the death of her life partner, the writer Pierre Silvain.
Here's one of the finest poets now writing in France in the magnificent new translation of Marilyn Hacker. Claire Malroux is a name every devoted reader of poetry will want to know. She reminds us that lyric poetry can speak of our lives in the way that nothing else can.
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.
Here is the journey of a soul toward its truth. A refusal of despair, a clash with an absence, a trembling before the multiple: these are Claire Malroux’s greatnesses. “You must persevere,” she says to us, for beyond the disorder and conflict, at the threshold of language, is the meaning of our existence. “You must persevere.”
Like Dickinson, Malroux tends toward fragmented narratives and vivid imagery; often, her poems sound at once melancholy and breathless, as echoes might…. In Daybreak, Hacker offers readers a striking, panoramic view of Malroux’s body of work.
—Lily Meyer, Poetry Foundation