Issue > Poetry
Laura Marris

Laura Marris

Paol Keineg writes poetry and plays, mostly in French, but also in Breton and English. Mauvaises langues (2014) is his twenty-first book. He has translated several English-language poets into French, including Rosmarie Waldrop, Charles Bernstein, Keith Waldrop, and William Bronk. In 1974, he left Brittany for the US where he lived for thirty-five years. He received a Ph.D. from Brown University, and has taught at various universities, including Dartmouth, Brown, and Duke. He returned to live in Brittany in 2009. His recent publications include Des proses qui manquent d'élévation (2018), and Abalamour (2012). Mauvaises langues won the Prix Max Jacob in 2015.

Laura Marris is a writer and translator. Her poems have appeared in The Yale ReviewThe VoltaWashington Square Review, and elsewhere. Her translations have appeared in Asymptote and The Brooklyn Rail. She is a MacDowell Colony fellow and a judge for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award. Her recent translations include Louis Guilloux's novel Blood Dark (New York Review Books), which was shortlisted for the 2018 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and Paol Keineg's Triste Tristan and Other Poems (with Rosmarie Waldrop for Burning Deck Press). She teaches creative writing and serves as Director of the Favorite Poem Project.

From Bad Language

(Translated from the French)

The names in your head,
better carve them out with a knife,
at the spot where winter bites
our children wouldn't imagine

we gave our bodies
the firmness of our convictions:
in thirty years, in twenty, they'll have forgotten it all,
the years of conflict,

the luminaries of the fight.
This first morning of winter
in the orange and blue sky
the moon

advances quickly;
the crows form a skirmish line
like shadow puppets ready to attack.

From Bad Language

(Translated from the French)

The body dies, but that isn't the end of love, the ghosts
whose foreheads we touch in the mirror,

they burrow into our chests,
pretending not to notice the aging skin

that was familiar when it was young,
and are they still capable  

of the closeness that comes with coupling,
or do they go their own ways, single forever,

stupid enough to want more adventures,
and the tender words, when they come back to me,

the hair on my arms stands up.
We have never been immune:

the living don't give up their dead
any more than the dead stop living.











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