Wrapping Up April's Poet's Spring: Illustration, Music, and Rhyme

May 5, 2014 | By French Culture

Last month the poetry community gathered to celebrate and discuss challenges in poetic literary translation through an eclectic assortment of multilingual artistic orations and debates.

As part of the Poet's Spring Festival, organized by the French Embassy in New York, poets Anne Portugal, Anna Moschovakis, Ben Lerner and Pierre Alferi along with violinist Charlie Burnham came together to celebrate poetry month at the Poets House. The event included several poetry readings followed by an amazing performance by the great musician Charlie Burnham. 

Mark Bishel and Maëlle Doliveux from the School of Visual Arts sketched the proceedings. You can see a few of their drawings below.


To wrap up Poet's Spring, here is another "rap" up of sorts with an excerpt from Anne Portugal's Absolute bob set to the beats of Jay-Z.

For more information on Anne Portugal and Pierre Alféri's work, see World Literature Today's article on the “Translating the Untranslatable” event.


Moroccan poet Rachida Madani kicked off the Poet's Spring Festival, reading from her work, Tales of a Severed Head (trans. by Marilyn Hacker, Yale University Press 2012) at Silvana, a Middle Eastern restaurant and bar, with poet and translator Pierre Joris. Traditional Moroccan band Gnawa Boussou accompanied the poets' readings and were also featured in an article in Voices of New York.

Excerpt from the First Tale in “Tales of a Severed Head”:

Where the woman bleeds, there will never be spring
in the night, in her head, under the pillow
trains pass filled with men
filled with mud
and they all go through her
the whole length of her.
How many winters will pass, how many snowfalls
before the first bleeding letter
before the first mouthful of white bread?

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