Marie-Claire Bancquart (1932-2019) was a prolific and prize-winning French poet, novelist, essayist, and critic. In her poetry, she combines an erudite vocabulary and references to classical literature with an earthy sensibility and a fascination with experiencing the smallest moments of everyday life fully. The deceptive simplicity of her poems lays bare the mysteries underlying the world we inhabit and our very existence. Wendeline A. Hardenberg's careful and skillful translations are sure to broaden the audience for this significant poet as yet too little known outside of France.
Marie-Claire Bancquart (1932-2019) was a prolific and prize-winning French poet, novelist, essayist, and critic, as well as a Professor Emerita of French literature at the Sorbonne. Her final book, De l'improbable, précédé de Mo(r)t, was published by Éditions Arfuyen in 2020.
Wendeline A. Hardenberg studied at Smith College and Indiana University, where she earned master's degrees in Comparative Literature with a focus on translation and Library Science. She is the translator of numerous books, including The Bookshop of Forgotten Dreams by Emily Blaine, Will You Ever Change? by Aurélie Valognes, and Project Anastasis by Jacques Vandroux. Hardenberg's translations have been published in Asymptote, Columbia Journal, Metamorphoses, Tupelo Quarterly, Two Lines, and other places. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
"Deeply philosophical, these poems, originally published in French when the author was in her seventies, focus on the meaning of existence. The poet reminds us that our lives—'seven liters of water wrapped in skin'—are 'small,' but 'the universe [is] in us / us in the universe.' From our 'ephemeral perch on the earth,' writing achieves a kind of immortality, producing 'a few words warmed by the journey, / that scatter outside, vouching / that you gave them a little extra life.' Readers will be grateful to Hardenberg for carefully shepherding these provocative poems into English." - Nancy Naomi Carlson
"Strange and wonderful translations of strange and wonderful poems... Marie-Claire Bancquart's voice is utterly unique; her poems—by turns lyrical and jarring, mystical and forthright, tender and brutal—sing and clamor in your head long after you've read them. Like their French originals, Hardenberg's excellent translations glitter and dart and unsettle; they dodge like wrestlers, then they grab you by the throat and won't let go. This is rich writing to come back to again and again; each time you're ambushed by some startling image or phrase or notion that you hadn't noticed before. A vital book, both in the sense of its aliveness and its urgency." - Bill Johnston