Excerpts from And here's the song by Hélène Sanguinetti

Transference, Dec 2017

Translated from French by Ann Cefola

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Excerpts from And here's the song by Hélène Sanguinetti

Excerpts from And here's the song by Hélène Sanguinetti Ann Cefola 0 Part of the Classical Literature 0 Philology Commons 0 Comparative Literature Commons 0 East Asian Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 European Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 French 0 Francophone Language 0 Literature Commons 0 German Language 0 Literature Commons 0 International 0 Area Studies Commons 0 Linguistics Commons 0 Modern Languages Commons 0 Modern Literature Commons 0 Near Eastern Languages 0 Societies Commons 0 Poetry Commons 0 the Reading 0 Language Commons 0 0 Sarah Lawrence College Follow this and additional works at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/transference - Article 7 Ann Cefola Excerpts from And here’s the song YOKE 1 it’s snowing today1 here g butterfly comes down, maybe flower, not snow, to kiss below where no one ever (posed dry lips, so to speak) so much before had been spoken of so much before, today let’s go let’s stay ppfffuuuuuffffff butterfly and flower, No, snow, on snow so steep that no one falls, flies away 1: if this day exists 2017 “What’s the point?” so much before was, no harm to earth and grass, a pebble smashes rolls down Where? hey! hey! someone lights up, frozen, he died and he lives, it is written: many circulate still, nails, beards, hairs Let’s be here let’s go, she’s a good girl she has her checkered dress her favorite, Still kisses the little Red well-ironed clutch i Taken away Gilbert smokes and spits in pnou what woman, hips of a boy Gigi cries (panther paces her eyes) her husband fishing-captain had a small craft and boat2 (panther pnoue weeps in his eyes) 2: possibly a boat Then dogs, their bowls shine in the sun at entrance to their doghouse the sun and one is called Wham, the girl pets it, she has a name, someone knows, not here To be born to several, to love a dream, to be loved by it – – terracotta kitchen tiles Humble. It is snowing on me Who was a peak Was a kind of musk ox, Moss under horns, spit, wind Loving the moon of the night with such wind more than anything to pick up a body crushed for days “was am will be all squirted and all gone” She has slippers of glass or fur? question He wants to marry her so slipper he fucks and fucks again Who receives the most? In Hell the Cloven indignant One can imagine without recoiling one day, Raised up. Lights a candle for You, beautiful Belt, one day, Saint Anthony, Saint Christine, for the eternal living and it smells good So: fishing-captain was Even had a name, someone must know, not here3 Pezzi di pane, scraps of bread, ucello che beve with small jabs of beak spout from head, Bird drinks and swallows Again 3: too little Dust infinite difficulty infinitely deep on the square there is a church with colonnades and also very fine rain He died, it was for nothing, that the robin returned 2017 Hélène Sanguinetti and I have been working together for nearly two decades. In translating Hélène, I stay as faithful to her text as possible. Reading her work is a little like falling down a rabbit hole: unexpected punctuation, mixed verb tenses, awkward juxtapositions, varying fonts, and whimsical drawings drop the reader into a world that enchants and disturbs. To make this journey any less challenging would deprive readers of its newness, and would dilute Hélène’s desire to create language that’s “scraped.” Hélène’s goal is to use language in a way that disturbs and disorients the reader—with the result being the heightened alertness one might feel as one passes through a darkened room, feeling for furniture or a light switch on the wall. This selection represents the first few pages from Hélène’s fourth book, Et voici la chanson (Éditions de L’Amandier, 2012) While the title And here’s the song, inspired by a CD of acoustic guitar I sent Hélène, might suggest frivolity, the text sets up opposing forces—Yoke and Joke—that act as night/day, life/ death, moon/sun, water/thirst, good/evil, and so on. The two engage one another against a backdrop of tragedy and triumph, respectively the Kap Arkona sinking and five-game record of US Olympian Willye White. Hélène’s collage-like approach, cohesive as it is surprising, addresses the political on a collective human scale. Heightened by multiple individual voices, it is studded with jewel-like imagery such as grains of sand or dust, a bird’s beak, or snow falling on snow. This audacious architecture—from broad philosophical and moral themes to intimate human moments and longing—is signature Sanguinetti.


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Ann Cefola. Excerpts from And here's the song by Hélène Sanguinetti, Transference, 2017,