Introducing French Poet Emmanuel Moses

L’Animal

L’Animal
BY Emmanuel Moses
(Flammarion, 2010)


Translator’s Note

Emmanuel Moses
(Tbilissi, Georgia)

Emmanuel Moses was born in Casablanca in 1959, the son of a French-educated German Jew and a French Jew, an historian of philosophy and a painter. He spent his early childhood in France, lived in Israel from the ages of ten to twenty-five, and then returned to Paris, where he still lives. Author of four novels and eight collections of poems, most recently L’Animal (Flammarion, 2010) and D’un perpetuel hiver (Gallimard, 2009), as well as a translator of contemporary Hebrew fiction and poetry, notably of Yehuda Amichai, he also translates from the German and from the English, including poems by C.K. Williams and younger poets like the recent National Poetry Series winner Donna Stonecipher.

A polyglot whose experience of the world comes as much from travel and human intercourse as from books, from an interrogation of the past which coexists with his experience of the present, Emmanuel Moses is a kind of poète sans frontières.

A polyglot whose experience of the world comes as much from travel and human intercourse as from books, from an interrogation of the past which coexists with his experience of the present, Emmanuel Moses is a kind of poète sans frontières. While some contemporary French poets eschew geographical specificity, a perennial subject of his poems is the crossing and the porosity of actual borders, geographical and temporal. A (Proustian?) train of thought set in motion by the placement of a park bench, the stripe of sunlight on a brick wall, will move the speaker and the poem itself from Amsterdam to Jerusalem, from a boyhood memory to a 19th century chronicle, from Stendhal to the Shoah. A subtle irony permeates Moses’ work, even (or especially) at moments meant to be self-reflective or romantic, an irony applied to the events of history as readily as to the events of a single young or aging man’s life. It is clear in Moses’ poems as in his fiction that the macro-events of “history” are made up of the miniscule events individual existence, or must be perceived as such to be understood.

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

Permalink URL: http://www.cerisepress.com/02/05/introducing-french-poet-emmanuel-moses