Archive for the ‘French poetry’ Category

Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss

July 10, 2010

Here’s Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss.


Charles Baudelaire's The Abyss translated by R J Dent

The poem is from R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books.


Charles Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil translated by R J Dent


Details can be found here: http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html


The Abyss has been set to music by the Finnish composer/musician Outi Tarkiainen.


The first performance of The Abyss was in Helsinki in September 2009.


Here’s the video clip:


Translation © R J Dent 2009/Music © Outi Tarkiainen 2009

And here are the lyrics:


Charles Baudelaire’s The Abyss


Pascal had his abyss that followed him.

Everything is abyss: action, desire, dream – word.

I feel the wind of fear pass frequently

through my thick hair, which often stands on end,

up and down, everywhere, into the depths,

through silence, space, captivating, ugly…

During my nights, a god with clever hands

draws never-ending multi-shaped nightmares

and I’m afraid of sleep – it’s a big hole

full of horrors that lead to the unknown.

Windows show me infinity. Seeing

it, my hurt mind suffers from vertigo.

How I envy the sense of nothingness;

I’m never free of numbers or of beings.

Translation © R J Dent (2009)


www.rjdent.com



Advertisements

Charles Baudelaire’s The Albatross

July 10, 2010

Charles Baudelaire's The Albatross translated by R J Dent

Here’s Charles Baudelaire’s The Albatross.


The poem is from R J Dent’s translation of The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books.


The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise by Charles Baudelaire translated by R J Dent

More details can be found here: http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html


The Albatross has been set to music by the Finnish composer/musician Outi Tarkiainen.


The first performance was in Helsinki in September 2009.


Here’s the video clip:



Translation © R J Dent 2009/Music © Outi Tarkiainen 2009


And here are the lyrics:


The Albatross


Often, for amusement, the sailing crew

catch that bird of the seas – the albatross;

companion on our voyage, it follows

the ship as it slides through the sea’s abyss.


When this once-great sky king has been dumped,

awkward and ashamed, onto the ship’s boards,

it pitifully drags its great white wings

along its feathered sides like useless oars.


This graceful voyager through shades of blue,

once beautiful, is now clumsy and weak;

one sailor mocks the cripple who once flew,

another stubs a pipe out on its beak.


The poet is just like this prince of clouds;

beyond range, above storms – these are his haunts;

exiled on Earth amidst a jeering crowd,

his giant wings won’t permit him to walk.


Translation © R J Dent (2009)


www.rjdent.com



Gérard de Nerval: The Disinherited

May 31, 2009

Translated by R J Dent

disinherited

I’m sorrowful, widowed, disconsolate,

the Prince of Aquitaine whose tower’s in ruins;

my lone star’s dead – my constellated lute

carries a black and melancholy sun.


In the night of the grave, you consoled me;

gave me Naples and the Italian sea;

the flower that so pleased my distressed heart;

the arbour where the vine and rose entwine.


Am I Cupid or Phoebus?… Lusignan or Byron?

My forehead’s still burning from the queen’s kiss;

I’ve dreamed in the caves where the sirens swim…


Twice victorious, I’ve crossed Acheron;

modulating – on Orpheus’s lyre –

the sigh of the saint and the fairy’s cry.


The Disinherited

By Gérard de Nerval

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

www.rjdent.com

r j dent logo

Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

January 14, 2009

The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

by Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent

 

baudelaire flowers of evil

‘A brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’

 

Here’s my new book. It’s a translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, published by Solar Books on November 9th 2008. According to the blurb it’s ‘a brand new translation that vividly brings Baudelaire’s masterpiece to life for the new millennium’.


 

 

The translation was a labour of love; it started years ago, when I studied Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal as an undergraduate. I realised how inaccurate the available translations were, and promptly set about translating twenty or so of the best poems, particularly the banned ones. In the process, I very quickly came to admire Charles Baudelaire’s poetic voice. It was refined and dignified, and yet very daring. I now understand these contradictions, if that’s what they are.


 

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

 

 

I found the translation process itself very interesting. Because Baudelaire’s writing is very visual, it was almost like time-travel; I wandered around 19th century Paris, absorbing the sights, sounds, scents; was taken into the bedrooms of many dusky women, all of them sprawled across their beds, dressed only in jewels and perfume.


 

When I had finished the translation, I was back in the 21st century. I couldn’t wait to get back to Baudelaire’s Paris. The translation process itself was very much like archaeology. I had the French text and I would work at it steadily, uncovering its buried English meaning, word by word, line by line, until finally, the whole poem would stand naked before me in all its pristine glory. That’s Baudelaire’s poetry for you. If only all translation work was like that.


 

Incidentally, I very much enjoyed translating the introductory essay by Guillaume Apollinaire, which is now published for the first time in English.


 

Solar Books has done a great job with The Flowers of Evil. With it they’ve included a new version of Artificial Paradise, which is a series of Baudelaire’s reflections on wine, hashish and opium.


 

Odilon Redon’s cover picture, which he painted specifically for The Flowers of Evil, perfectly captures the zeitgeist of Baudelaire’s 19th century Paris.

 


 

 

The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

Charles Baudelaire

Translated by R J Dent


 

 

SOLAR BOOKS

ISBN-10: 0-9799847-7-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-9799847-7-8

Publication date: November 2008

 


 

 

It can be ordered from Solar Books at:

http://www.solarbooks.org/solar-titles/flowersofevil.html

 

 

 

or from Amazon.com at:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236890663&sr=8-1


 

 

 

or from Amazon.co.uk at:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1

 

 

 

 

 

Details of this book and my other works can be found at:

www.rjdent.com

 


 

r-j-dent-logo1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris, Baudelaire, Beckett, Moonstone Silhouettes, the Seine and the Three Graces

January 11, 2009


Paris in December, 2008. Visiting Charles Baudelaire’s grave was paramount. I put my translation of Baudelaire’s poem Landscape on his grave. I covered it with a copy of the cover of my recently-published translation of Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise.

The Flowers of Evil (Translated by R J Dent)


It was a very moving moment, made all the more poignant by the fact that a steady stream of people visited his grave. People came in ones and twos to pay their respects and/or leave offerings. I knew Baudelaire was considered an important literary figure in France, one who is still ignored and derided in England, but I had no idea that he was so revered by the French.

Charles Baudelaire


There are three names on the gravestone, there being just the one stone for the family plot. The name at the top is Jacques Aupick, Baudelaire’s stepfather, a man that Baudelaire hated. Next is Charles Baudelaire’s name. Beneath his name is Caroline Archenbaut Defayes, Baudelaire’s mother, a woman he loved dearly.

Baudelaire should really be in his own grave and have his own gravestone. Either that or a new stone should be cut that puts Charles Baudelaire’s name at the top – after all, he’s the reason that people go to that particular grave.

Charles Baudelaire's grave © 2009 R J Dent archive

In the same cemetery, I found Samuel Beckett’s grave.

Samuel Beckett's grave © 2009 R J Dent Archive


It was simple and unadorned. And no one visited it. It was all very Beckett-ian.

Samuel Beckett


Later that day I walked along the left bank of the Seine, then had coffee and croissants in a riverside café.

Seine (left bank) ©  2009 R J Dent archive


Continuing my theme of pretention, I spent a part of that day proof-reading and editing my latest poetry collection, Moonstone Silhouettes. The collection needed proofing and editing so I took it with me to France, simply so that I would always know that it had been edited in Paris. Now Moonstone Silhouettes will always be tinged with memories of Paris, December 2008.

moonstone silhouettes - r j dent


On another day I went into the Louvre and stood in front of the Three Graces. It’s my favourite sculpture. I found it by accident – having forgotten it was in the Louvre. I was wandering through the less-crowded rooms, trying to avoid the Mona Lisa/Venus de Milo/Da Vinci Code mob – and doing a very good job of it – when I went into a cool, spacious room and almost fell over the Three Graces. There they were – right in front of me – and all three looking quite lovely too. Obviously I wanted to touch them and I did reach out a hand – but at the last minute, sense, or lack of nerve, prevailed and I stood there simply staring in awe at those beautiful stone nymphs.

The Three Graces - Louvre


Obviously there’s a lot more, but that’s all I’m sharing at present. Paris was wonderful, a delightful experience, full of wonders, marvels and deep emotions. Every time I stepped outside in Paris, I could feel the air crackle with the electricity of life.

Paris at night ©  2009 R J Dent archive


Paris is a city for the eternally young. I will go back – and I’ll probably edit and proof-read another book of mine while I’m there. I might even touch the Three Graces. They won’t mind.

Au revoir.


rjdent-logo

© R J Dent (2009)

www.rjdent.com


Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise translated by R J Dent is available from:

http://www.amazon.com/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239004510&sr=1-14

or:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Artificial-Paradise-Solar-Nocturnal/dp/0979984777/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217774414&sr=1-1


Moonstone Silhouettes by R J Dent is available from:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonstone-Silhouettes-R-J-Dent-ebook/dp/B004MME1GG/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394900815&sr=1-6

Moonstone Silhouettes

December 25, 2008

Moonstone Silhouettes by R J Dent

This is R J Dent’s latest poetry collection, entitled Moonstone Silhouettes.

R J Dent says: ‘In this collection, which I edited in Paris, I’ve focussed mostly on the ethereal and the mystical, although there are a few elegies for lost friends, and one or two poems in praise of major writers who have influenced me.’

‘The landscapes that I describe range from the exotic (Ancient Greece and modern France) to the bizarre and the out-and-out surreal. The characters that I describe are often strange and other-worldly.’

Included in this new collection are translations of poems by Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Ibycus and Sappho. There are also elegies for four great writers: Jean Genet, Anna Kavan, Charles Baudelaire, and Tarjei Vesaas.

 

Here’s the back cover:

Moonstone Silhouettes - back cover

 

 

And here’s a link to five poems from Moonstone Silhouettes:

http://www.rjdent.com/moonstone.htm

 

R J Dent says: ‘With Moonstone Silhouettes I’ve tried to create a poetry collection in which each poem is a door that opens into another world – hopefully a beautiful world you can enter through the poem and which you can stay in for a while and enjoy – a world where warmth, beauty, joy, laughter, pleasure, happiness and eroticism co-exist peacefully and harmoniously.’

 

Moonstone Silhouettes is available from: 

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moonstone-Silhouettes-ebook/dp/B004MME1GG/ref=la_B0034Q3RD4_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1361655767&sr=1-6

 

or from R J Dent’s office:

 info@rjdent.com

Further  information regarding R J Dent’s book-length translations of Alcaeus, Lautreamont, and Charles Baudelaire is available at: www.rjdent.com

 

Moonstone Silhouettes

Poems by R J Dent

© R J Dent (2013)

 

 

 

www.rjdent.com

rjdentlogo

 

In Praise of Jeremy Reed

November 30, 2008

 

Jeremy Reed is one of the UK’s most prolific and skilful poets, yet he remains unknown to a great many readers. For some reason, Jeremy Reed’s work is often overlooked or ignored in favour of the work of far less talented writers.

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed has written a vast number of poetry collections, novels, short stories and non-fiction works. His music biographies include studies of Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Brian Jones and Marc Almond. His literary biographies include studies of Rimbaud, Genet and Anna Kaven, amongst others.

 

asoe-ak-jr

He is a translator of great subtlety and versatility. He has translated key texts by Novalis; Rimbaud; Bogary; Genet; Cocteau; Montale – to name only a few.

 51hf-Vp2giL__SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_

Reed’s poetry is some of the most beautiful and insightful poetry ever written, particularly the collections: Patron Saint of Eyeliner; Red-Haired Android; Kicks; Voodoo Excess, West End Survival Kit, and This Is How You Disappear.

 west_end_kit

If you are unfamiliar with Jeremy Reed’s poetry, then start with a copy of Kicks or Patron Saint of Eyeliner.

 

psoe-jr

If you want to start with his fiction, then try reading his novel Diamond Nebula, or even Dorian, his sequel (of sorts) to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey.

 

dorian-jr

If you prefer non-fiction, then A Stranger on Earth – The Life and Work of Anna Kavan is a good place to start, as is Lou Reed: Waiting For the Man. Also worth looking at is Another Tear Falls – A Biography of Scott Walker; Born To Lose – A Biography of Jean Genet; and Delirium – An Interpretation of Arthur Rimbaud.

 

delirium-jr

Here is a partial bibliography:

NOVELS:

The Lipstick Boys

Blue Rock

Red Eclipse

Inhabiting Shadows

Isidore (a novel about Lautréamont)

Red Hot Lipstick (erotic stories)

When the Whip Comes Down (a novel about De Sade)

The Pleasure Chateau (an erotic trilogy)

Chasing Black Rainbows (a novel about Artaud)

Diamond Nebula

Dorian (a sequel to The Picture of Dorian Grey)

Boy Caesar

The Grid

Here Comes the Nice


untitled

POETRY:

Target

A Long Shot to Heaven

The Isthmus of Samuel Greenberg (1976)

Saints & Psychotics

Bleecker Street (1980)

A Man Afraid

By the Fisheries (1984)

Nero (1985)

Selected Poems (1987)

Engaging Form (1988)

Nineties (1990)

Brigitte’s Blue Heart

Claudia Schiffer’s Red Shoes

Turkish Delight

Red Haired Android (1992)

Kicks (1994)

Sweet Sister Lyric (1996) 

Saint Billie (2000)

Black Sugar

Patron Saint of Eyeliner (2000)

Dicing For Pearls

Heartbreak Hotel (2002)

Duck and Sally Inside (2006)

Orange Sunshine (2006)

This is How You Disappear (2007)

Bona Drag (2009)

West End Survival Kit (2009)

Black Russian: Out-Takes 1978-9 (2010)

Piccadilly Bongo (2010)

Bona Vada (2011)

Whitehall Jackals (with Chris McCabe) (2013)

Nothing But a Star (2013)

The Glamour Poet Versus Francis Bacon (2014)

Sooner or Later Frank (2015)

Voodoo Excess (Rolling with the Stones) (2015)

Red Light Blues (2016)

jr ve rjd

TRANSLATIONS:

The Coastguard’s House (Eugenio Montale)

Tempest of Stars (Jean Cocteau)

The Complete Poems (Jean Genet)

Praries of Fever (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

All That’s Left to You (Ghassan Kanafani)

On Entering the Sea (Nizar Qabbani)

The Sheltered Quarter (Hamza Bogary)

Hymn to the Night (Novalis)

 untitledz

NON-FICTION

Heart on my Sleeve

Madness: The Price of Poetry

Angels, Divas and Blacklisted Heroes

Caligula – Divine Carnage (with Stephen Barber)

Dead Brides (Edgar Allan Poe) – Introduction 

Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll) – Introduction

The Songs of Maldoror (Lautreamont) – Postscript

Lipstick, Sex and Poetry (autobiography)

Bitter Blue (autobiography)

4 Poets & A Play (John Ashbery, Thom Gunn, John Weiners, Francis Bacon) (2012)

The Dilly – A History of Piccadilly Rent Boys (2014) 

 

images

 

POETRY/PHOTOGRAPHY

Pop Stars (1995) – with Mick Rock

Big Orange Day (2010) – with Lisa Wilkerson

Exploding into Colour (2012) – with Lisa Wilkerson

9781783055692

BIOGRAPHIES:

The Last Star (Marc Almond

Another Tear Falls (Scott Walker)

Waiting For the Man (Lou Reed)

The Last Decadent (Brian Jones)

Born to Lose (Jean Genet)

Delirium (Arthur Rimbaud)

A Stranger on Earth (Anna Kavan)

The King of Carnaby Street (John Stephen)

 

untitled

Jeremy Reed collaborates with musician/dj/electronica maestro Itchy Ear on a performance poetry/music/spoken word project called The Ginger Light.

 

the-ginger-light1

The Ginger Light’s youtube channel is:

http://www.youtube.com/user/TheGingerLight

And here’s a fantastic promotional film of The Ginger Light in action – putting the fire back into poetry readings:

 

And here’s a link to The Ginger Light’s debut CD, Big City Dilemma, released by Cherry Red Records:

http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=3884

I would recommend listening to The Ginger Light or reading one of the above books. Jeremy Reed is a unique voice in literature. His work seems to be a fusion of the decadent, the erotic and the surreal. He is definitely worth reading.

 

Jeremy Reed’s website is:

http://jeremyreed.co.uk/index.html

 

In Praise of Jeremy Reed

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

Photo of Jeremy Reed by John Robinson

 

www.rjdent.com

 

r-j-dent-logo

 

Translating Baudelaire

November 7, 2008

abandoned-city


It is an abandoned city by the sea;
the wide streets are deserted and empty,
the houses hold nothing but silences,
and the pale sun-lit autumn air resounds
with echoes of a strident, vibrant past.


As I walk between ornamental parks
and vast buildings, seeing their perfection,
smelling the sea scents and the rich perfumes,
hearing the faint echoes of then, combined
with the wave rush and shingle drag of now,
I know you are reclining in a fine-
ly furnished room, immaculately dressed
and feeding a cat in between each line.


Translating Baudelaire
© R J Dent (2003 & 2009)


Translating Baudelaire is a much anthologised poem which has appeared in Braquemard, The Colour of Light and Best Poems & Poets 2003. It is included in R J Dent’s new poetry collection, Moonstone Silhouettes.


www.rjdent.com


r-j-dent-logo6




Pascale Petit’s The Zoo Father

September 27, 2008

 


If there’s one poetry book you should most definitely own, it’s Pascale Petit’s The Zoo Father. Her writing is powerful, haunting and ethereal, but also very visual – almost strikingly so.


Her other books, The Wounded Deer, The Huntress, Heart of A Deer, The Treekeeper’s Tale and What the Water Gave Me are all excellent, although The Zoo Father is her most disturbing work. However, all of her books are absolutely brilliant. Every word counts.


In The Zoo Father, the poems that are about the narrator’s relationship with her abusive father are riveting and utterly compelling. A tremulous Ambit review of The Zoo Father begins: ‘Pascale Petit’s poems are rather scary.’ Yes, they are. They are also challenging, confrontational, disturbing and powerful. What more could anyone want from modern poetry?


Pascale Petit

Pascale Petit

Imagine Sylvia Plath on acid and you’ll have some idea of what Pascale Petit’s writing is like. I’ve just read her new collection The Treekeeper’s Tale, and it’s wonderful.


For more information on Pascale Petit and her work, you should have a look at her website, which is:

http://www.pascalepetit.co.uk/


In my opinion, everyone should read Pascale Petit’s work, particularly The Zoo Father.


Written by R J Dent (Sept 2008 – revised August 2010)


www.rjdent.com


rjdent-6