The Rest of the Voyage ,

Eléna Rivera’s translation of Bernard Noël’s The Rest of the Voyage is at once original and remarkably faithful—indeed, its originality lies in the care and music the translator has brought to her commitment to follow Noël’s forms as closely as possible. Rivera succeeds beautifully in setting the rhythms of the French original into English. The succession of poems has a fluency that becomes as mesmerizing as any mode of transport, for Rivera is remarkably adept at varying the lines, landing with emphasis or muting the effect as she follows the speed and light of Noël’s themes. Those themes are no less than a meditation on the traveler’s encounter with landscape in the late twentieth century. Noël takes on distant shots and close-ups, moving too quickly to see particulars or so slowly that objects become abstractions, conveying the smells, tastes, and sounds of each location in wholes and parts, reflexively considering what is invisible to a visitor, and meditating on the ancient theme of the voyage of life with great vividness and freshness. Noël is one of the most distinguished living writers in France. Yet Rivera’s is the first translation of his poetry into English, and her work thus remedies an unfortunate weakness in English-language letters.”

—Susan Stewart, from the introduction

Read three poems from The Rest of the Voyage at Conjunctions

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Selected by

Susan Stewart

publisher

Graywolf Press

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