Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation
French-English bilingual edition
Philippe Jaccottet ’s poetry is meditative, immediate and sensuous. It is rooted in the Drôme region of south-east France, which gives it a rich sense of place. This book brings together his reﬂections on landscape in the prose pieces of Beauregard (1980) and in the poems of Under Clouded Skies (1983), two thematically linked collections which are remarkable for their lyrical restraint and quiet power.
Jaccottet’s poetry is largely grounded in landscape and the visual world, pursuing an anxious and persistent questioning of natural signs, meticulously conveyed in a syntax of great inventiveness. His work is animated by a fascination with the visible world from which he translates visual objects into verbal images and ultimately into figures of language. His poems are highly attentive, pushing the eye beyond what it sees, enacting a rich hesitation between meaning conferred and meaning withheld.
'Jaccottet writes of specific landscapes, particularly of the Drôme area of South [East] France but, like Norman Nicholson writing from Millom in Cumbria, gives it a universal resonance, seeing the world in the turn of the seaons on local stone, the changing light of a particular corner of sky.' - Ian McMillan, on why he chose Under Clouded Skies for The North magazine's feature Top 30 Outstanding Books from the Last 30 Years
Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets: 5
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