Pierre Peuchmaurd

Selected Poems

(translated by E. C. Belli)

Paper $14.95
(ISBN 978-0-932440-457)

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Pierre Peuchmaurd (1948–2009) was born in Paris, and became fascinated with surrealism in his teenage years. Though his poetry came to transcend the boundaries of surrealist work—by being both more lyrical and inhabited by more substantial narratives—he never forgot the movement and the artists that first inspired him. This is the first collection of his work in English.

The Nothing Bird is an exemplar of the art of translation at its best. E. C. Belli has translated the exquisitely lyric, surrealist poems of the late Pierre Peuchmaurd into equally exquisite poems in English. These translations sing. From first page to last, I savored reading this volume, which includes a selection of poems written over three decades of Peuchmaurd's career. With generosity of mind and fine erudition, E. C. Belli has placed her impressive gifts as a linguist and poet in the service of translating a poet whose work feels necessary for our souls. 
Cynthia Hogue

E. C. Belli's transfixing translations of Pierre Peuchmaurd make it possible not just to read of the night’s elbows "on the table of the day" but to be at that table, to experience the Peuchmaurdian madness of night's bald child hatching a bald chicken. These are gorgeous, glorious translations of a poet who knows how "everything roars, and everything falls silent."
Idra Novey

E. C. Belli, a Swiss native, is the recipient of a 2010 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She is an editor at Argos Books and writes in both French and English.



for Antoine

At night the wolves are blue, a little phosphorescent.

There are wolves, you know, who peer out of windows and see the distance. Wolves who weep for their silent prey.

There are wolves who spread rumors pink and yellow, wolves who lick the necks of lace makers, furtive wolves, seasonal wolves. Jealous wolves in foreign cities.

There is winter blooming.

There are scholarly wolves who sleep in books, hermit and synthetic wolves. Absent, very, very absent wolves, wolves with no heart, the best wolves.

There are clay and wallpaper wolves. Arabian wolves with green turbans, occasional wolves and unconditional wolves. Certain wolves are trouble-free and the wind blows through them.

There are sun wolves. The shade wishes them well as they watch the sea. There are wolves like that.

Wolves don’t always dream, but sometimes they will.

Spring wolves, discount wolves. Intangible wolves who wear stockings and red lipstick on their chops. Chilly wolves, with feelings. Golden wolves.

There are oblique wolves who leave by day, who leave by night, and hopeless wolves with a look wolves should have.

There are furious wolves, wolves who think about wolves and wolves who think about whales. Under the wolves’ pillows, there are crime novels.

There is the hunger of wolves.

Some wolves, you know, have no memory, no pack. Often, they are young wolves in search of a face on which to lay their velvet coats.

And then, there are she-wolves.


Translation copyright c 2013 by E. C. Belli. May not be reproduced without permission.

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