Interview with Guy Bennett


To listen to the interview with Guy Bennett, please click here.

Interview Length: 18:41

Guy Bennett is a poet, translator, and essayist. He holds a Ph.D. in French from UCLA. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Last Words (Los Angeles: Sun & Moon Press, 1998), The Row (Los Angeles: Seeing Eye Books, 2000), Retinal Echo (Duration Press, 1999), Without Weight or Light (Cleveland, OH: NeO-Pepper Press, 2006), 32 Snapshots of Marseilles. (Portland: Sacrifice Press, 2010), and Self-Evident Poems (Los Angeles: Otis Books / Seismicity Editions, 2011). He has also translated over twenty volumes, including works by Liilane Giraudon, Mostafa Nissabouri, Michel Leiris, Nicole Brossard, Jean-Michel Espitallier, Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, Jacques Roubaud, F.T. Marinetti, and Mohammed Dib. Bennett is the publisher of Mindmade Books and the co-editor of Otis Books / Seismicity Editions. He is Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Department and in the Graduate Writing program at Otis College of Art and Design.

In this interview, Bennett describes some of the unusual translation projects he has undertaken, including his first book publication, a translation of Italian futurist Giuseppe Steiner’s Drawn States of Mind (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon, 1994), a work of visual poetry, and Valère Novaria’s Adramelech’s Monologue (Los Angeles: Sun and Moon, 2004). He also discusses his affinities with Francophone North African poetry, as well as his most recent translation project, Giovanni Sandri’s only fragments found: selected poems 1969-1998 (Los Angeles: Seismicity Editions, 2014).

This interview was recorded on 17 October 2013 in Béatrice Mousli’s Leavey Library office at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Photo: Diane Ward

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Interview with Éric Giraud


To listen to the interview with Éric Giraud, please click here.

Interview Length: 33:39

Éric Giraud was born in 1966 and studied Literature and Translation in University of Aix-en-Provence (France) and at Uqam (Montreal). He lives in Marseille where he has been in charge of the poetry library at the cipM since 1995 and where he edited the first twelve issues of the Cahiers Critiques de la Poésie. Co-editor of the magazine Issue 12345, author and translator, he has published various books and translated American authors such as Gertrude Stein, Charles Olson, Raymond Federman, Peter Gizzi and Etel Adnan alongside Holly Dye. He has organized conferences on Stein in Montreal/Uqam and Poetry and Cinema in Marseille. In 2014, after having co-edited an essay on Stein, he co-edited a collective essay on the Black Mountain College at Presses Universitaires de Rennes/cipM Publishers with Jean- Pierre Cometti.

In this interview, Giraud discusses cipM’s “Import/Export” poetry exchange, which has brought international poets, mostly from the Maghreb and the Middle East, to Marseille to be translated by French poets, and then sends those poets to the international poets’ home countries to be translated by them there. Giraud began translating American poets while he was also beginning to write and publish his own poems. He describes his translations of poets including Gertrude Stein, Etel Adnan, Charles Reznikoff, Raymond Federman, and Stacy Doris, as well as a recent translation of an interview of Pier Paolo Pasolini by Jonas Mekas, and an ongoing translation of letters exchanged between Charles Olson, William Carlos Williams, and Robert Duncan. He notes that translation taught him the “the rhythm of the process of writing.” Above all, Giraud emphasizes the importance of taking the time to enjoy the process of translation. He also discusses how his concurrent practice of translating art criticism and draws comparisons between the work of contemporary artists and contemporary poets.

This interview was recorded at cipM on 5 July 2013. The interview takes place in English, except from 22:02-27:23, in which Giraud describes and reads, in French, an excerpt from his translation of Etel Adnan’s In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country; translated as Au Cœur du cœur d’un autre pays (Beirut: Tamyras, 2010). Ambient sounds may be heard throughout the interview, including motorcycles and ambulance sirens passing on the street outside, as well as a cellphone beeping.

Photo: Jean-Marc de Samie

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Interview with Peter Gizzi


To listen to the interview with Peter Gizzi, please click here.

Interview Length: 16:40

Peter Gizzi has authored several books of poetry, including In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011 (Wesleyan, 2014), Threshold Songs (Wesleyan, 2011), The Outernationale (Wesleyan, 2007), Some Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan, 2003), Artificial Heart (Burning Deck, 1998), and Periplum (Avec Books, 1992). His editorial work includes o·blēk: a journal of language arts (1987-1993), The Exact Change Yearbook (Exact Change/Carcanet, 1995), The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 1998), and with Kevin Killian, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer (Wesleyan, 2008), as well as The Nation and Conjunctions. He is a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Peter Gizzi is an atypical – and for that all the more welcome – participant in the Sounding Translation podcast series. He is not a translator, but rather an editor who has published many contemporary French poets in translation in o·blēk magazine.

During the interview, Gizzi discusses his introduction to contemporary French poetry at age 14, reading Keith Waldrop’s translation of Claude Royet-Journoud’s Reversal, while reading, at the same time, Rimbaud and Baudelaire against the Beats and Ezra Pound. He describes his ongoing involvement with French poetry through his relationships with American translators in the 1980s, including Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop, Michael Palmer, and Norma Cole, as well as friendship he developed with Emmanuel Hocquard in the mid-1980s after Gizzi was very moved by a reading of Hocquard’s Elegies in New York. Gizzi also recounts some of his experiences as a poet invited to France, including a special conference held in o·blēk’s honor at the Fondation Royaumont in 1990 under the auspices of Emmanuel Hocquard and Juliette Valéry’s Un Bureau sur L’Atlantique, and residency in the fall of 1999 at the centre international de poésie Marseille (cipM), which led to the publication of Revival, translated by Pascal Poyet (Marseille: cipM/Spectres Familiers, 2003). Gizzi also praises Stéphane Bouquet’s recent translation of The Outernational (as L’Externationale; Paris: José Corti, 2013).

Reflecting on his initial attraction to contemporary French poetry, Gizzi notes that, since he was reading it in his native language, it did not seem to him to be foreign or distant: “It seemed transparent in some way. Just another poetry.” As his relationship to it deepened, he admired its “simple presentation of larger abstract ideas in very precise and clear language” and its conversation with the Objectivists, especially George Oppen and Lorene Niedecker, especially in its compression and density. As a poet, Gizzi relates intimately with what he calls the “oblique” angle that contemporary French poetry takes in its “confrontation with the real: “. . . by reading something at an angle, you’re actually finding a way of giving it relief and therefore freeing it from the master-narratives that we give certain events, the kind of binding narratives that nationhood brings on . . . .”

This interview was conducted during the Écrivains au Bord de la Mer Festival in La Baule,  France, on 18 July 2013. Ambient noises (wind, seagull cries) may be heard throughout the interview, as it was conducted out of doors.

Photo: Peter Gizzi

Correction: At 2:04, Gizzi identifies Claude Richard and Jacques Roubaud as the publishers of 21 + 1 Poètes américains d’aujourd’hui/21 + 1 American Poets Today (Delta, 1986); in actuality, however, Claude Richard was the publisher of this 2-volume English-and-French anthology, which was edited by Claude Royet-Journoud and Emmanuel Hocquard.

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Interview with Stéphane Bouquet


To listen to the interview with Stéphane Bouquet, please click here.

Interview Length: 28:29

Stéphane Bouquet is a poet, screenwriter, and film critic. He was born in Paris in 1968. He has published several books of poetry, all with Champ Vallon, including Dans l’année de cet âge. 108 poèmes pour, et les proses afférentes (2001), Un monde existe (2002) Le Mot frère (2005), Un peuple (2007), Nos Amériques (2010), and Les Amours suivants (2013). He has translated, among others, Robert Creeley, Le Sortilège (Nous, 2006), Paul Blackburn, Villes (José Corti, 2011), and Peter Gizzi, L’Externationale (José Corti, 2013).

This podcast interview was recorded on 18 July, 2013 at La Baule, France, during the Écrivains au Bord de la Mer festival. Bouquet discusses his first experiences of translating poetry, including that of Robert Creeley, Paul Blackburn, and James Schuyler. He also recounts the challenges and discoveries he’s made in more recent translations, including a handful of cinema poems by Peter Gizzi (published in Action Poétique), Gizzi’s The Outernational, and a forthcoming volume of selected poems by James Schuyler. Bouquet also explains why he was fond of saying, a few years ago, that he “wanted to be an American poet in French,” describing the poetic appeal of American English and its directness.

Ambient noises may be heard throughout the interview, as the first part was recorded while on the terrace of a hotel restaurant, while the rest was recorded in a slightly quieter sitting room inside one of the hotel buildings. The interview takes place in English, except for a short conversation in French from 10:45-13:00.

Photo: Ben Masset

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