Maintenant #94: Pierre Joris

Via Steven Fowler:

“There are figures in poetry whose contribution to the understanding of the medium is so immense it cannot be properly appreciated when they are still practising their thought as a poet, let alone as also a prolific critic, anthologist, teacher and theorist. All the more is this true when their work is as enormous, and relentless, as it is subtle, generous and deft. Even more so again when they have been at this work for over forty five years. Who would hope to engage more in the roots and edges of poetics in one lifetime than Pierre Joris has over his? He has published over forty books. He has translated hundreds of poets, not just offering new understandings of their work in his translations, but often resurrecting, if not creating, an appreciation in the Western World. He is as exceptional a polylingual translator as the late 20th century has seen and is inarguably seminal in his own work for the revelation of multi-lingual writing amongst other things. He has taught thousands of students, never once comprising the fundamentally ethical, rigorous and complex ideas behind his work and his understanding of poetry in general. He has written numerous articles on his contemporaries, and having lived across Europe, Africa and the United States, those who have constituted his peers are an exceptionally plentiful group. Add onto that his editorial co-presiding over one of the most important anthologies ever conceived, the poems for the millenium. His dexterity and depth of understanding is matched only by his generosity, and the immense legacy he has already cemented. It is a great pleasure, in our 94th edition, to introduce our first Luxembourger poet, by birth, who is rather obviously, a citizen of everywhere and nowhere.

Pierre was kind enough to allow us to publish four poems alongside the interview.

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