Pascal Poyet

Poet, France

Pascal Poyet’s most recent books are: Regardez je peux faire aller Wittgenstein exactement où je veux (TH.TY./MW), Un futur (L’Ours Blanc n°22, Héros-Limite), Draguer l’évidence and Linéature (Éric Pesty Éditeur), and Un sens facétieux (Cipm). His work has also appeared in english in various magazines, such as The Capilano Review (translated by Lisa Robertson) and Aufgabe (translated by Rosmarie Waldrop). He has translated numerous works by contemporary English-speaking poets and artists, such as David Antin, Lisa Robertson, Juliana Spahr, Rosmarie Waldrop, Rachel Levitsky, and David Shrigley. In 1998, he created together with artist Françoise Goria chapbooks, contrat maint. He runs Le Journal des Laboratoires/Mosaïque des Lexiques, a magazine published by Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, where he has presented on several occasions his ongoing translation of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

Translating but Shakespeare's Sonnets

At first, when I talked about “translating, but” Shakespeare’s Sonnets, I was focusing on translation. When observing the Sonnets, I was seeking to detect a certain number of "language events" in order to write translations that would tell and show what happens to the words. If it was about translating, it was translating but not really translating, or not only translating: it was "translating, but". And by regularly speaking about this work in public, by exploring the Sonnets and describing them, it became clear to me that if, as far as translation is concerned, there is a "but", it is between the act of translating and the text to be translated that this "but" must be interposed. That indeed was about translation, but a translation of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. I was about to miss the obvious: we only ever translate texts. But isn’t the statement itself ambiguous?

For this presentation at the Camargo Foundation, I paced out loud several Shakespearean sonnets by using words. This reading sketch "in panorama" (beneath the hotel of the same name) was done in a very non-linear way and will mix descriptions, comparisons, and translation sketches. I call this kind of oral attempt presentation "exposure". I am interested in all the meanings of this word: putting in display or in the light; public presentation or sudden publicity given to barely asked questions; revelation through discourse; presentation of the circumstances or characters of a plot and the initial part of certain musical compositions... And here the geographical meaning can be included. All I can picture myself doing is pulling up the scaffolding in front of
Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Pascal Poyet

  • Presentation of his project on June 30, 2020, at 8pm at the Greek Theatre of the Camargo Foundation.

    Residency and event organized in partnership with the Cipm, the International center of poetry in Marseille.

Sketches courtesy of Benoît Guillaume © Benoît Guillaume, 2020