Second Simplicity

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I was completely unfamiliar with French poet Yves Bonnefoy, but this wonderful volume, Second Simplicity, leaves me with no doubt as to why he is lauded as one of France’s greatest. Translator and editor Hoyt Rogers, with direct input from the poet himself, has selected poetry and prose from the latest twenty years of Bonnefoy’s work. The selections arc and come full circle in their themes, making, from diverse volumes, a unified work. The poems are full of luminosity and silence; for example, in many poems Bonnefoy uses snowfall as a metaphor, and perfectly captures the resounding silence of the first snowfall blanketing the world. In the introduction, Hoyt Rogers explains many of the metaphors and some of the background for both the prose and poetic pieces; the introduction is helpful and informative, especially from a literary analysis perspective, but I recommend opening directly onto the poetry (come back to the intro at the end, if you like) and allow the poet’s moods to flow over and around you; allow yourself the pleasure and joy of discovery and awakening as you first encounter these moving, beautiful words. I hope there will be many more translations to come.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Yale University Press
Publish Date 2013-Oct-08
ISBN 9780300198188 Buy this Book
Issue April 2014
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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