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The Poem as Installation Art
Translated by Cole Swensen
The North Face of Juliau, Six
Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson
Rob McLennan's Blog (25 March 2017)
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Overyellow is part of a series that Nicolas Pesquès has been writing over the past twenty-five years; beginning with a mountain that he sees outside his study window in the Ardèche region of France, Pesquès uses an evocation of nature to reflect upon the nature of language and its tendency to separate us from immanent experience. The overyellow of the title refers to the brilliant color of the fragrant English broom that flowers all over the mountain every June. Subtle inter-relations of various powers, from the personal to the universal, create a meditative weave that accommodates both vivid imagery and philosophical speculation.
A bit in the way that Cezanne used Mont Sainte-Victoire as an anchor that allowed him a greater range of artistic exploration, Pesquès returns again and again to his mountain to keep his free-wheeling linguistic experimentation well-grounded, creating a dynamic between concrete presence and abstract investigation that, by carefully avoiding equilibrium, keeps both poles in invigorating play.
About the Poet
Nicolas Pesquès (www.nicolas-pesques.fr) is the author of some fifteen volumes of poetry, the two most recent published by Flammarion. His work over the past twenty years constitutes a long meditation on the nature of language considered in relation to a mountain, Juliau, in south-central France. Two previous volumes from this series have been published in English translation—Physis (Parlor Press, 2006) and Juliology (Counterpath, 2008).
About the Translator
Cole Swensen (www.coleswensen.com) is the author of sixteen books of poetry, most recently Landscapes on a Train (Nightboat, 2015) and Gravesend (University of California, 2012). Her work has won the National Poetry Series, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and the S.F. State Poetry Center Book Award and has been short-listed for both the National Book Award and the L.A. Times Book Award. This is her 20th book-length translation of contemporary French experimental work. She has won the PEN USA Award in Literary Translation and has been short-listed three times for the Best Translated Book Award and once for the National Translation Award. She teaches at Brown University.