Second Simplicity New Poetry and Prose, 1991-2011 Yves Bonnefoy, Hoyt Rogers

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
24 Jan 2012
Yale University Press
320 pages: 197 x 127 x 21mm
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Yves Bonnefoy, now 87 years old, has enjoyed during the past two decades perhaps the most prolific and innovative period of his splendid lifework. This volume presents in English and French an inviting array of his recent writings, carefully selected for their literary quality as well as their broad appeal. It features several works never published before and many that have never been translated into English.

The first anthology of Bonnefoy's work to appear since 1995, this collection reflects the poet's powerful engagement with the New England landscape, where quiet woods and fields have given shape to the pared-down aesthetic of his recent years. This book is the first to showcase not only the poetry for which Bonnefoy is justly renowned but also his inventive compositions in prose. Appropriately, this book alternates more traditional verse with freer forms, just as the author has done in several major works of the past twenty years; that symbiotic approach is one of the hallmarks of this latter phase of his art.

Masterfully translated by Hoyt Rogers, the collection is organized chronologically, revealing clearly how the poet continues to extend and refine his scope and style. Rogers provides a penetrating introduction in which he analyzes aspects of Bonnefoy's recent writings and the 'second simplicity' that characterizes his late work.

Yves Bonnefoy, a perennial favorite for the Nobel Prize, has received numerous international awards, including the Kafka Prize and the European Prize for Poetry. Hoyt Rogers translates literary works from the French, German, and Spanish.

“Mr. Bonnefoy [is] often lauded, and rightly so, as France's greatest living poet.”—Micah Mattix, Wall Street Journal

"As the foreword to his lucid and responsible translations of Yves Bonnefoy's late work reveals, Hoyt Rogers has mastered the grand cumulus of ulterior translation, criticism, commentary, and biographical circumstance which so formidably confronts, and possibly daunts, the interpreter as well as the common reader, so that indeed Second Simplicity is for seasoned practitioners of this master not only a sort of precocious capstone of the still-rising edifice of the Great Work, but for newcomers to Bonnefoy an excellent, even an ideal, entrance to this writer’s vast creation."—Richard Howard


"Yves Bonnefoy is one of the rare poets in the history of literature to have sustained the highest level of artistic excellence throughout an entire lifetime—now more than half a century of work, and still counting. These recent poems, superbly translated by Hoyt Rogers, attest to his enduring greatness."—Paul Auster

"The final exemplar of a poetic legacy that begins with Baudelaire and Mallarmé, Yves Bonnefoy is the last figure standing in a monumental tradition that has shaped modern European literature. This lovingly supple and authoritative presentation by Hoyt Rogers of the rich, endlessly rewarding later phase of the great poet’s work forms an invaluable contribution to our own poetry."—Jonathan Galassi

"Hoyt Rogers displays extraordinary skill as a translator of this oeuvre, given the precision and imaginative daring of his choices, his metrical ear, and his multilayered knowledge of Yves Bonnefoy’s work."—Marilyn Hacker                          

"Second Simplicity is a magnificent collection by Yves Bonnefoy, one of the world’s most important poets, in brilliant translations by Hoyt Rogers. The poems are dramatic and startling, apparently simple as falling snow and actually deep as life and time. Bonnefoy searches for truths beyond language, each truth an adventure in seeing the world anew. His vision is profound and yet bright with promise, for, as he observes, 'Day is breaking, even beyond time.'"—Grace Schulman