Anne-Marie Albiach (1937-2012)
The great French poet Anne-Marie Albiach died today, after a long illness.
Albiach was born in 1937 and for many years lived in Neuilly sur Seine on the outskirts of Paris. Her major collections include Etat (Mercure de France, 1971; republished 1988), Mezza voce (Flammarion, 1984), Anawratha (Spectres Familiers, 1984) and Figure vocative (1985; reissued by Fourbis, 1991), and Figurations de l'image (Flammarion, 2004). She edited Siècle à mains with Claude Royet-Journoud & Michel Courturier. Royet-Journoud writes that, for him, the 1971 publication of Etat “changed the ‘face’ of poetry.”
Albiach has been fortunate in her American translators. Keith Waldrop worked for 12 years on Etat (Awede, 1989). Mezza Voce (Post-Apollo, 1988) was translated by Joey Simas in collaboration with Lydia Davis, Anthony Barnett and Douglas Oliver. Vocative Figure (Allardyce-Barnett, UK, 1992) was translated by Anthony Barnett and Joey Simas. Rosmarie Waldrop has published a translation of Travail Vertical et Blanc in her Série d'Écriture (#4, Spectacular Diseases, 1990).
Jean-Marie Gleize's Albiach was the first book on her complete work (Editions Belin, Paris, 1995). In the U.S., essays on her work have been written by Keith Waldrop, Paul Auster, Benjamin Hollander, Geoffrey O'Brien, Joseph Simas, Norma Cole, Michael Palmer, Alan Davies, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Gale Nelson, Rosmarie Waldrop, Jonathan Skinner, Don Wellman, Peter Ramos, Cole Swenson and others.
I wrote this on Post-Apollo's publication of Figured Image:
Anne-Marie Albiach’s words are never alone on the page, having each other for company, just as they find here ideal companionship in Keith Waldrop’s translation. In Figurations de l’Image, Albiach pursues her rigorous investigation into the possibilities of measure, the perceptible, luminescence, vulnerability, memory, contour, ardor, breath, oscillation, remonstration, trajectory, disparity, abstraction, antecedence, disparity, refraction, trace, tapestry, rehearsal, reverberation, and the irreparable. In these poems, the figures refute image as they bank, relapse, surge, palsy, recollect. Albiach scores space to twine time, abjures rhyme to make blank shimmer in the mark.
Anne-Marie Albiach - Selections from ETAT (ENIGME IX) and MEZZA VOCE (Esquisse: << le froid >> ) - Read by the author in her mother’s apartment on the rue de l'Hotel de Ville in Neuilly, France, on July 29, 2000 and July 31, 2001 and recorded by Jonathan Skinner. MP3 (6:57)