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A Poet’s Spring Rap Up: Anne Portugal’s Poetry Paired With Jay-z’s Beats

The French Embassy Book Department wished to close April’s Poet’s Spring festival in a creative collaborative spirit akin to the month's eclectic series of musical, visual, and lyrical showcases.

Living in a constant form of translation, poetry comes to life through the voice of music, and has the power to embody life's perplex moments of emotion, pausing with beats, flowing through syntax and form.

Anne Portugal’s excerpt from Absolute bob (trans. by Jennifer Moxley, Burning Deck, 2008) works surprisingly well with Jay-Z’s rhythmic changes in pace, and follows in the "bobbing" style of Portugal's verse, as stated in the preface, that “tests the ways a poem inhabits sense or nonsense, speeds or slows, slides into forms or undoes them”.

Here, French Embassy Cultural Services’ officer Nicole Birmann reads an excerpt from Anne Portugal's Absolute bob set to the vivacious beats of Jay-Z in a special Sound Cloud rendition:


Excerpt of the poem from Absolute bob (p. 55) featured in the Jay-Z Sound Cloud remix:

A fabrication which interests the modernsWho are a bit mamboHaving nothing to pluck the daisy forNice and woozyFranco-colonial rice factory

SlowIng down choo choo

Passionately mamBo super chooSawn-off shotgunAnd chaos reinforcements