A Poet’s Spring Rap Up: Anne Portugal’s Poetry Paired with Jay-Z’s Beats

May 5, 2014 | By French Culture

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 moderns
Who are a bit mambo

Having nothing to pluck the daisy for
Nice and woozy
Franco-colonial rice factory

Ing down choo choo

Passionately mam
Bo super choo

Sawn-off shotgun
And chaos reinforcements

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