Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Poets
Publication Date: October 20, 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 forged a unique path in contemporary French poetry, informed by the French tradition, by poets such as Yves Bonnefoy and Mallarmé, and, more unusually, by the Anglophone tradition, especially Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, and Derek Walcott. A preeminent translator of English poetry into French, Malroux claims as a signal event in her literary life her discovery in 1983 of Dickinson’s poetry, which she describes as “an encounter with the uncanny” and the awakening of a “personal affinity.” 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. In almost every poem there is a characteristic and unsettling amalgam of past and present that collapses distance and incarnates through metaphor.
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 from two sequences of elegies written after the death of her life partner, the writer Pierre Sylvain.
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.