Eric Sarner translated by Pierre Joris: An extract from 'Experience of Water' in Coeur Chronique

[A NOTE FROM PIERRE JORIS POSTED ORIGINALLY ON HIS NOMADICS BLOG 6/11/2014.]  “In Paris now, on the day of the opening of the Marché de la Poésie, a great yearly 4 day event. One major pleasure will be to meet up with old friend Eric Sarner. I had been very happy to learn a couple months ago that this excellent poet, my good friend & sometime translator, was awarded the Prix Max Jacob 1914 for his latest book of poetry, Coeur Chronique published by the Castor Astral with a preface by Michel Deguy. Sarner is a true nomad who lives between Berlin, Paris & Montevideo. Besides a number of poetry collections he has also published several travel récits (most recently a superb book on Algeria (Un voyage en Algéries) and Sur la route 66 (travels in the US, of course), and has made a living via twenty plus film documentaries for television.

“Here is an extract from a section called ‘Experience of Winter’ that feels/reads like a continuous/discontinuous ribbon of writing with just momentary breathing pauses, mawaqif’s in Sufi parlance, between the perceptions.”]


To flee poetry
to let it flee
to let go
the brilliance
through the black groove
on the lam without reason
nothing pretty
for example
in Montaigne

to shit in a basket
and then
to put it
on one’s head

there’s need to find
for each thing its
rightful place
oh! that silent cat
over there
carefully without words
to flee poetry
leaving it the chance
to come back by the edges

Vallejo exaggerates
he who came from
the heights

3000 meters
of andean mountains

little black man
resting on his hand
his cane

while Georgette
guards his hat

triste & dulce


Vallejo saluted
this past spring
at the Montparnasse cemetery
section XII

at the end of
terraced nature
and the sparrow block

without even his shadow

This book Diary of Errors
I knew Ennio Flaiano for his complicity
with Fellini La Dolce vita & 8 1/2
but the title before all had stopped me livened
up notes, stories, parables, word sketches
the simplicity, delicateness
of Flaiano
an elderly checkout lady in a bar
sighs caressing her dog

The chestnut trees are in flower
and spring is not here.

he speaks also of feet

set firmly on the clouds

and on another day he confesses to have
told a seven year old girl

Go away! You’re old!

It made her cry all night long

Thus all that lives
has a share in
& sme
That’s Empedocles of Agrigento

the hidden breath
where then lurks
the smell of self
is what made
us recognizable
by the other
when he was
naked in the shadow
without a living body
or on the edge
of a nerve
of a doubt

No illusion on the soprano
the final accurateness
& nothing else
that’s Lacy
the grace
absolute & relative
often with no smile
on Steve’s face
so that there exploded
on it like a rage of
a flood of colors
a tornado
of heat as simple &
as each moment
so ready to live