Love and Its Concretions

Volume 2 ~ 2004

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Yves Bonnefoy and the Art of Translation

Hoyt Rogers

In a letter sent me during the course of this project1, Yves Bonnefoy aptly describes the image of the boat as “a fundamental metaphor” of his work. Unfortunately for the translator - to paraphrase Mallarmé ­translations are made not with images, but with words. The French word bateau corresponds fairly well to the English boat. Suggesting something smaller than a ship, they both apply to a wide variety of craft, and both have a no-nonsense ring to them. But the word consistently used by Bonnefoy is barque, which he calls “one of the most beautiful in the language.” In its semantic range, it parallels bateau; the problem lies in the subtler realm of tone, of connotation. Though simple and unpretentious, the term possesses a deep poetic resonance that English approximations cannot match. The feminine gender adds to its aural allure, in the literal sense that qualifying adjectives must generally include an extra consonant at the end—or a mute e, like the word itself. In French scansion, when followed by a consonant the mute e is softly voiced, like the ghost of a vowel. To borrow an image from Bonnefoy’s tale “The Curved Planks,” it makes “faint thumps” as though the barque and its attendant adjectives were “bumping gently against the dock, or a stone.”

Here I am not splitting hairs, as any student of prosody will readily concur. Like every great poet, Bonnefoy is acutely attuned to the delicate music of speech, the way each shading of sound conveys an incontrovertible meaning. The reason the word barque is so evocative, he writes, is that “between the consonants the vowel forms the same dark hollow we see in a boat between the curved planks of the prow and the stern.” Lacking an identical twin for barque, I have had to settle for boat in the versions that follow. Still, in the impossible enterprise of translating verse, at times a fullness can spring from dearth. In this instance, Bonnefoy reminds me that boat has accumulated a lyric connotation through such precedents as “the unforgettable lines of Wordsworth from The Prelude”; and he cites:

One summer evening (…) I found
A little boat tied to a willow tree
Within a rocky cove, its usual home.

This easy familiarity with English poetry seems characteristic of Yves Bonnefoy, whose knowledge of our literature few can equal. His kinship with our poets is visceral and profound, as one of the most touching passages in The Curved Planks attests:

Then came the day that I first heard
The extraordinary verse of Keats,
Evoking Ruth “when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn.”

I did not have to grapple
With the meaning of these words,
Since it was in me from my childhood.
I only needed to recognize and love
What had returned from the depths of my life.

More than a question of themes, his identification with the masters of our language extends to the aural textures of their work, as we would expect from a poet so aware of the tonal nuances in his own. In section III of “The Faraway Voice,” he expresses his particular devotion to the iamb, the characteristic foot of English verse:

Two syllables, a short and then a long:
The iamb hesitates, but also yearns
To leap beyond the breath that merely hopes
And enter into all that meaning gives.

Here as elsewhere in Bonnefoy’s poetry now and then, the prosody of his French approaches English rhythms with remarkable closeness. Significantly, in the same passage he compares the short syllable of the iamb to a “hollow,” rejoining his description of the “hollow” at the heart of the word barque. Just as Wordsworth’s boat dimly haunts the imagery of The Curved Planks, the English iamb weaves through its versification like an understated counterpoint.

Unlike Borges, Bonnefoy did not absorb the “second music” of a foreign tongue from his family. Building on the instinctive rapport he felt for those lines by Keats, he has developed his affinity with our language through many decades of recasting English verse into French. In fact it could easily be argued that he is not only the greatest living poet, but also the greatest living translator of poetry in France. Thus far he has produced brilliant renderings of no less than nine of Shakespeare’s plays, as well as a large number of his sonnets and longer poems. He has also received acclaim for his accomplished versions of Donne and—not surprisingly—Keats. Throughout this large corpus of translations he displays an uncanny ability to echo the iambic beats of the originals, despite the natural recalcitrance of French to marked accentuation. As I noted earlier, this extensive praxis has undoubtedly affected the prosody of his own poetic work. His knack for transposing images from one language to another is equally impressive, given the tendency of French vocabulary towards a higher degree of abstraction than the English lexicon. His eminence in the translating field was further confirmed by the publication of the bilingual Forty-Five Poems of Yeats in 1989, a series he had been accumulating for many years. To my mind, this is the most intelligent selection ever made of Yeats's verse, well worth owning even for those who have no French. But for those who do, it is nothing short of a revelation. It epitomizes that “re-creative” process Bonnefoy has propounded in his essay “The Translation of Poetry.” Given his eloquence on the subject, any comments of my own would seem superfluous, and so I would like to summarize his remarks.

He begins by asking the basic question: “Can we translate a poem?” In a literal sense, he concludes, we cannot. The original relies on all the givens of its language, and these must largely be jettisoned. “But that is all the better,” he suggests, “since a poem is less than poetry: doing without it spurs us on.” Instead of replicating the work, we should try to go back to its source. As he explains in the key passage of the essay:

We should relive the act that produces the poem—the very act that also founders there. Its frozen form is but a trace of the poet’s first intention, his primal intuition (call it a longing, an inkling, something universal). By releasing that impulse, we may be able to renew it in another language, all the more authentically because the poet’s own dilemma will arise again for us. The language of our translation, like that of the original, will paralyze the questioning that is our speech. Here is the conundrum we face: while language is a system, the speech of poetry is presence. Yet by grasping that fact we can draw closer to the author, perceiving more clearly the tyrannies he must endure, the mental strategies by which he counters them—and also the fidelities he needs. Unavoidably, words will try to lure us into their own way of being. Starting out as the helpmates of a good translation, soon they champion the bad poem our translation has become. They cripple the experience through bondage to a text. We have to proceed with caution: the ontological rightness of our new-found images matters much more than whether they match term by term, in a skin-deep resemblance, those of the original. It is an onerous task, but in return we are assisted by the author we translate—if he is Yeats, if he is Shakespeare or Donne. Instead of sitting as before over a mass of text, we revisit its source, where possibilities bourgeoned. We set out on a second crossing, this time with the right to be ourselves.

Though Bonnefoy wrote these words in 1976, before he had composed the majority of his translations, they are already distillations of a past and future master of the art.

All the same, the translator’s craft is best revealed by concrete examples rather than general principles; he gives several in his essay, one of which I will quote a little further on. But first a personal recollection, from an English-speaker’s point view, may help to illustrate how deftly Bonnefoy puts his precepts into practice. In August of 1987 I spent a week with him in Ireland; that summer he had been invited to lecture at the International School in Sligo, while completing his translations of Yeats. The afternoon of our arrival he read me his version of that perennial favorite, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” to try it out on a native “Anglophone.” I must confess my skepticism that anyone, even he, could render this magical incantation—fraught with old German word—into a Romance language. But as soon as I heard his solution to the fourth line, I was not only convinced, I was moved. “And live alone in the bee-loud glade”: that second phrase, peculiar and vivid, seems truly untranslatable. To my surprise, Bonnefoy had mysteriously transposed its strange cadence into French: “Et dans ma clarière je vivrai seul, devenu le bruit des abeilles.” (Literally: “And in my clearing I will live alone, become the sound of bees.”) Those final words capture not only the music (based on sprung rhythm and impure internal rhyme), but what is far more difficult, the striking oddness of the original. The ingenious twist by which the lyric self has “become the sound of bees” discards the obvious sense in favor of a dynamic renovation. The superficial meaning of the line is somewhat altered, but its poetic rightness resounds anew from “the deep heart's core.”

To cite another instance of his skill, as it was brought home to me that memorable day in Ireland, I must mention his crucial choice of the verb vaincre (vanquish ) to render break at the end of “Byzantium”—“the other Byzantium poem,” as we wryly called it. Bonnefoy was concerned at the time that he might have departed too drastically from the semantic content of the text. But as I assured him, this substitution not only saves the fierce percussion of the original, it also clarifies—though not too much—its convoluted syntax. Ideally, transference to another tongue should enrich, not impoverish a work. In his translations from the English, Bonnefoy accomplishes such feats of discernment again and again, so that many of them rival the originals. Not only do his versions of Shakespeare, Donne, Keats or Yeats enhance our understanding of those poets, they are splendid poems in their own right, signal additions to French literature.

As such they also form an integral part of Bonnefoy’s creative achievement. In the bibliographies at the end of his books, he always makes a point of listing his translations along with his other titles. Another passage of the essay quoted above states the credo behind that gesture:

In a practical sense, if translation is not just a copy and a technique, but a questioning and an experience, it can only be inscribed—only be written—in the duration of a life, and by invoking all the acts and aspects of that life. This does not mean that the translator has be a “poet” in his or her own right. But it undoubtedly implies that if he does write himself, he will be unable to divide his translations from his works.

He goes on to recount that in translating Yeats’ poem “The Sorrow of Love,” he rendered “labouring ships” as “vaisseaux qui boitent/ Au loin” (literally: “vessels that limp/ Afar”). In his opinion, that solution failed to retrieve the ambiguities of the original, and yet it imposed itself on his mind with a strange insistency. Eventually, the phrase would resonate in his own poetry. First he wrote some verses directly inspired by the metaphor, but soon he felt compelled to destroy them “so [his] translation could live”: it would be hard to imagine a greater tribute to the validity of the craft. The fruitful symbiosis between translation and creation did not end there. Directly or indirectly, In the Lure of the Threshold and many of Bonnefoy’s subsequent poems refer to Odysseus’ ships leaving Troy and his divagations on the way to Ithaca. The defeated city represents both a scene of destruction and a point of departure. To take an example from The Curved Planks, its pivotal poem “In the Lure of Words” begins with an extensive allusion to Odysseus and closes with a related metaphor: a perilous voyage of discovery that is also a journey home. In The Wandering Life—a title that speaks for itself—“Of Wind and Smoke” develops the Trojan motif at length, only to culminate in a terse and somber envoi:

These pages are translations. From a tongue
That haunts the memory I have become.
Its phrases falter, like what we recollect
From early childhood, long ago.
I built the text again, word for word:
But mine is only shadow. Now we know
All origin is a Troy that burns,
All beauty but regret, and all our work
Runs like water through our hands.

The full stop in the first line mimics the French: Bonnefoy’s punctuation emphatically stresses the identity of creative work and translation, even though in this haunting coda they both partake of a tragic hollowness. Whatever the context, when a poet of his stature calls his own verses “translations,” he confers a high accolade on the translator’s art.

Taking the process one step further, I can affirm that my familiarity with Bonnefoy’s renditions into French has helped me translate his work into English. For example, the freedom with which he reshapes Shakespeare’s sonnets into poems of up to twenty verses has encouraged me to rearrange the lines of some of his strophes, particularly the longer ones. On a more elusive plane, in many of his versions of Yeats he adopts a distinctly Baudelairian tone: I am thinking especially of his somber and magnificent rendition of “Her Vision in the Wood,” and in a different strain, his poignant recasting of “The Wild Swans at Coole.” Given Bonnefoy’s avowed closeness to Yeats, I have done my best to tilt some of my translations toward the Irish poet’s style—above all when Bonnefoy’s Yeatsian rhythms and motifs make that slant almost unavoidable. In other passages, where he meditates on “beauty and truth” or employs the simple diction linked with the child motif, Keats becomes the natural paradigm for the English version just as he seems to have been for the French. Bonnefoy’s affinity with these authors does not make the task any easier; after all, his own voice predominates throughout, unmistakably. The translator should not nurse facile self-delusions about “transposing the French back into an English original.” Obviously, the ambitious goal of translating one great poet and imitating another at the same time is doomed to failure—the most we can hope for is a modest coloring, a hint of what might have been. But as Bonnefoy remarks in his essay, all poetry falls short of putting its deepest impulses fully into words: there again, the translator’s experience must reenact that of the author. Needless to say, in stirring up poetic crosscurrents of this kind, the translator is also declaring his or her own allegiances. As the repeated Baudelairian note in Bonnefoy's versions proves, translators retain their loyalties within their literatures as well as outside them.

A final illustration may serve to clarify what I mean. In the Foreword I mentioned “The Only Rose,” the culminating poem of Beginning and End of the Snow, in which the poet makes a winter pilgrimage to Florence, the city that deeply influenced his youth. During a snowfall there he retreats even further back in time, recollecting a meadow full of bees where he played as a boy of ten. Plunged in that reverie, he enters a dimly illumined church:

I move forward under the archway of a door.
Snowflakes whirl, blurring the line
Between the outside and the inside of this room
Where lamps are lit—themselves
A kind of snow, flickering
High or low amid this night:
As though I had reached another threshold.
And beyond it is that same humming of bees
In the sound of the snow. What they said,
The unnumbered bees of summer, seems
Reflected by the lamps, and without end.

And how I would love
To run, as in the bee-loud days, kicking
The pliant ball, for it may be
That I am sleeping now, and dreaming, and following
Those childhood paths.

In these lines the interconnection between translation and creation comes full circle. The images, rhythms, and verbal music of the French original echo the English text of “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” as well as Bonnefoy’s translation of the poem. In remembering the sounds of his childhood, he was also recalling both Yeats’ peculiar cadences and his own. Accordingly, when I translated “The Only Rose” I felt justified in backlighting the palimpsest as much as possible. In French the key phrase toward the end of the passage reads “au temps de l’abeille”—literally, “in the time of the bee.” As I pointed out earlier, Bonnefoy transposed Innsifree’s “bee-loud glade” into “devenu le bruit des abeilles,” modifying the strict semantic content with a related metaphor. Following his cue, I rendered his own phrase as “the bee-loud days,” memorializing his version of Yeats, the original from which it sprang, and their fusion with his new creation “The Only Rose.” In a sense I was mirroring the triple metaphor that hovers here among the bees, the lamps, and the snow. As Bonnefoy says, a translation should allow us to relive the source of a poem, to cross over and come back again. Etymologically, the Greek equivalent of “translation” is “metaphor”: both words mean transference, the displacement of meaning from one context to another. The translated poem is best understood as an extended metaphor that shifts the terms of the original into a different linguistic field. If poetry is essentially the art of metaphor—of image to image, word to word, sound to sound—then translation participates in its basic creative act.

As for my own versions of Bonnefoy, I must obviously despair of returning him the compliment he has paid to our native tongue. But at least I have tried to apply his methods, seeking the inner rather than the outer significance of his words, bending the imagery when English diction demands it, and in general, upholding the spirit over the letter. At the same time, I have conscientiously observed the “fidelities” he mentions in his essay. The reader must judge whether I have taken too many liberties, or too few. In a translation as in any other work, the transposing writer’s own identity will intervene with far greater insistence than might be expected, no matter how neutral he or she strives to be. This is not only normal, but salutary. As Bonnefoy observes in the introduction to his Yeats volume:

In translating these poems I have been obliged to go over my thoughts again, to revive dormant intuitions, to meditate on poetry as a whole, to tighten the strings of my own instrument. Here again, my experiences, my memories, my longings, have been invested more than ever in my reading of someone else. And my translations have been impinged upon as well by my blindness, my impatience or my ignorance: that is pernicious, of course, but it does tend to restore a certain consistence to the words, the layered grain of authentic poetry. Here we may point to an advantage, alongside the undeniable dangers. The more a translation interprets a poem by making it explicit, the more it reflects the translator, with all his or her differences from the author. But to be truly faithful, we have to be free. And do we have any freedom if we are not entitled, every now and then, to leap ahead of ourselves as we read? To translate does not mean to repeat: it means to be won over; and that only happens when we put our own thoughts to the test as we proceed.


Works by Yves Bonnefoy:

  • Du mouvement et de l’immobilité de Douve (Of the Movement and the Immobility of Douve), Mercure de France, 1953.
  • Hier regnant desert (Yesterday’s Wilderness Kingdom), Mercure de France, 1958.
  • Pierre écrite (Written Stone), Mercure de France, 1965.
  • Dans le leurre du seuil (In the Lure of the Threshold), Mercure de France, 1975.
  • Poèmes (1947-1975) (Poems [1947-1975]), Mercure de France, 1978 (Poésie/Gallimard, 1982).
  • Ce qui fut sans lumière (In the Shadow’s Light), Mercure de France, 1987.
  • Début et fin de la neige, suivi de Là où retombe la fleche (Beginning and End of the Snow, followed by Where the ArrowFalls), Mercure de France, 1991
  • La Vie errante, suivi de Une autre époque de l’écriture (The Wandering Life, followed by Another Era of Writing), Mercure de France, 1993 (Poésie/Gallimard, 1997).
  • Ce qui fut sans lumière, suivi de Début et fin de la neige, Poésie/Gallimard, 1995.
  • L’Encore aveugle (Still Blind), Festina Lente, 1997.
  • La Pluie d’été (Summer Rain), La Sétérée, 1999.
  • Le Coeur-espace (The Heart-Space), Farrago, 2001.
Essays, Tales:
  • Peintures murales de la France gothique (Mural Paintings of Gothic France), Paul Hartmann, 1954.
  • L’Improbable (The Improbable), Mercure de France, 1959.
  • Arthur Rimbaud, Le Seuil, 1961.
  • La Seconde Simplicité, Mercure de France, 1961.
  • Un rêve fait à Mantoue (A Dream in Mantua), Mercure de France, 1967.
  • Rome, 1630: l’horizon du premier baroque (Rome 1630: The Horizon of Early Baroque), Flammarion, 1970, 1994.
  • L’Arrière-pays (The Hinterland), Skira, 1972 (Flammarion, 1987; Poésie/Gallimard, 1998).
  • L’Ordalie (The Ordeal), Galérie Maeght, 1974.
  • Le Nuage rouge (The Red Cloud), Mercure de France, 1977 (Folio/Essais Gallimard, 1995).
  • Rue Traversière (Cross Street), Mercure de France, 1977.
  • L’Improbable, suivi de Un rêve fait à Mantoue, edition corrigée et augmentée (revised and expanded edition), Mercure de France, 1980 (Folio/Essais Gallimard, 1992).
  • La Présence et l’Image (Presence and Image), Mercure de France, 1983.
  • Récits en rêve (Dream Tales), Mercure de France, 1987.
  • La Vérité de parole (The Truth of Speech), Mercure de France, 1988 (Folio/Essais Gallimard, 1995).
  • Entretiens sur la poésie (Conversations on Poetry), Mercure de France, 1990.
  • Alberto Giacometti, Flammarion, 1991.
  • Aléchinsky, les Traversées (Alechinsky, the Crossings), Fata Morgana, 1992.
  • Rue Traversière et autres récits en rêve, Poésie/Gallimard, 1992.
  • Remarques sur le dessin, Mercure de France, 1993.
  • Palézieux, Skira, 1994 (with Florian Rodari).
  • La Vérité de parole, et des essais du Nuage rouge, Folio/Essais Gallimard, 1995.
  • Dessin, couleur et lumière (Drawing, Color, and Light), Mercure de France, 1999 (Folio/Essais Gallimard, avec les autres essais du Nuage rouge).
  • La Journée d’Alexandre Hollan (Alexandre Hollan’s Day), Le Temps qu’il fait, 1995.
  • Shakespeare et Yeats, Mercure de France, 1998.
  • Lieux et destins de l’image (Places and Destinies of the Image), Le Seuil, 1999.
  • La Communauté des traducteurs (The Community of Translators), Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 2000.
  • Baudelaire: la tentation de l’oubli (Baudelaire: The Temptation of Forgetting), Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2000.
  • L’Enseignement et l’exemple de Leopardi (The Teaching and Example of Leopardi), William Blake and Co., 2001.
  • André Breton à l’avant de soi (André Breton Ahead of Himself), Farrago, 2001.
  • Le Théâtre des enfants (The Children’s Theatre), William Blake & Co., 2001.
  • Jules César, Mercure de France, 1960 (new edition 1995, preceded by “Brutus, ou le rendez-vous a Philippes” [“Brutus, or the meeting at Philippi],” Folio/Théatre Gallimard, 1995).
  • Hamlet, suivi d’une “Idée de la traduction” (“An Idea of Translation”), Mercure de France, 1962 (new edition, 1988).
  • Le Roi Lear, Mercure de France, 1965 (new edition, 1991, preceded by “Comment traduire Shakespeare?” [“How to Translate Shakespeare?”]).
  • Roméo et Juliette, Mercure de France, 1968.
  • Hamlet/Le Roi Lear, preceded by “Readiness, Ripeness: Hamlet, Lear,” Folio/Gallimard, 1978 (new edition, 1988).
  • Macbeth , Mercure de France, 1983.
  • Roméo et Juliette/Macbeth, preceded by “L’Inquiétude de Shakespeare” (“Shakespeare’s Disquiet”), Folio/Gallimard, 1985.
  • Quarante-cinq poèmes de Yeats, suivi de La Résurrection (Forty-Five Poems by Yeats, followed by Resurrection), Hermann, 1989 (Poésie/Gallimard, 1993).
  • Les Poèmes de Shakespeare, preceded by “Traduire en vers ou en prose” (“To Translate in Verse or in Prose”), Mercure de France, 1993.
  • William Shakespeare: Vingt-quatre sonnets, Thierry Bouchard, 1995.
  • Le Conte d’Hiver (The Winter’s Tale), preceded by “Art et Nature: l’arrière-plan du ‘Conte d’hiver’” (“Art and Nature: the Backdrop of The Winter’s Tale”), Mercure de France, 1994 (Folio/Théâtre Gallimard, 1996).
  • La Tempête, preceded by “Une journée dans la vie de Prospéro” (“A Day in the Life of Prospero”), Folio/Théâtre Gallimard, 1997.
  • Antoine et Cléopâtre, preceded by “La Noblesse de Cléopâtre” (“The Nobility of Cleopatra”), Folio/Théâtre Gallimard, 1999.
  • Quaranta sonetti di William Shakespeare, Giulio Einaudi, 1999 (trilingual edition with translations by Bonnefoy and Ungaretti).
  • Othello, preceded by “La tête penchée de Desdémone” (“The Bowed Head of Desdemona”), Folio/Théâtre Gallimard, 2001.
  • Keats et Leopardi, Mercure de France, 2000.
  • Dictionnaire des mythologies et des religions des sociétés traditionnelles et du monde antique, (Dictionary of Mythologies and Religions of Traditional Societies and the Ancient World), Flammarion, 1981.
Translations of Bonnefoy and Other Works Cited:
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “And with one hand…” (final passage of In the Lure of the Threshold), in Notes from Europe, number 2/78, 1978.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, The Act and the Place of Poetry, Foreword by Joseph Frank and Introduction by John Naughton, University of Chicago Press, 1989.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “The Branch,” translated by Hoyt Rogers, in Tin House, volume 3, number 1, 2001, pp. 91-92.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, Early Poems 1947-1959, translated by Richard Pevear and Galway Kinnell, Ohio University Press, 1993.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, In the Shadow’s Light, translated by John Naughton, with an interview with Yves Bonnefoy, The University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, The Lure and the Truth of Painting: Selected Essays on Art, edited by Richard Stamelman, University of Chicago Press, 1995.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, New and Selected Poems, edited by John Naughton and Anthony Rudolf, University of Chicago Press, 1995.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “On Branches Full of Snow,” translated by Hoyt Rogers, in Poetry New York, Number 9, 1997, pp. 48-49.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “The Only Rose,” translated by Hoyt Rogers, in Nimrod, volume 39, number 2, 1996, pp. 50-51.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “Selected Poems” (“Hopkins Forest,” “All, Nothing,” “A Stone,” “The Myrtle Tree,” “A Voice,” “Fragment from ‘Of Wind and Smoke’”) and “Some Remarks on the Translation of Poetry,” translated and with a preface by Hoyt Rogers, in the Cumberland Poetry Review, volume 16, number 2, 1997, pp. 1-24.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “Summer Again” and “The Snow,” translated by Hoyt Rogers, in AGNI, number 41, 1995, pp. 37-38.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, “A Voice,” translated by Hoyt Rogers, in the Harvard Review, number 9, 1995.
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, Yesterday’s Wilderness Kingdom, translated by Anthony Rudolf, MPT Books, 2000.
  • Borges, Jorge Luis, Selected Poems, bilingual edition with translations by Alastair Reid et al., Viking-Penguin, 1999.
  • Caws, Mary Ann, Yves Bonnefoy, Twayne, 1984.
  • De Lussy, Florence, Yves Bonnefoy: Livres et documents, (Yves Bonnefoy: Books andDocuments), exhibition catalogue, Bibliothèque Nationale, 1992.
  • Dickinson, Emily, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Belknap, 1968.
  • Finck, Michèle, Yves Bonnefoy: le simple et le sens, José Corti, 1989.
  • L’Arc, volume 66, 1976 (special issue on Yves Bonnefoy).
  • La Revue nu(e), number 11, 2000 (special issue on Bonnefoy).
  • Mythologies, edited by Yves Bonnefoy, translated by Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago Press, 1991.
  • Naughton, John, The Poetics of Yves Bonnefoy, The University of Chicago Press, 1984.
  • Richard, Jean-Pierre, Onze Études sur la poésie moderne (Eleven Studies of Modern Poetry), Seuil, 1964.
  • Wolfe, Cynthia Griffin, Emily Dickinson, Knopf, 1987.

1. The forthcoming translation of Yves Bonnefoy poems to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Yves Bonnefoy, The Curved Planks, translated with a foreword and an afterword by Hoyt Rogers (Copyright 2003). We thank the publishers for permission to present this excerpt.