Publication Date: 1/30/2020
Translated from French by Marcella Durand. Michèle Métail's original French Oulipo masterwork in translation.
Michèle Métail, born in France in 1950, is a Sinologist, a photographer, and an avant-garde poet. She was the first female member of Oulipo and the co-founder of Dixit, a group dedicated to sound poetry. She is the author of two dozen books of poetry and translations from the Chinese, which she often performs accompanied by music and projected images.
Marcella Durand is the author most recently of Rays of the Shadows (Tent Editions, 2017), and translator of The Earth's Horizons (Black Square Editions, 2020). She is also the author of Le Jardin de M. (The Garden of M.) (joca seria, 2016), with French translations by Olivier Brossard. Her other books include AREA (Belladonna, 2008) and Traffic & Weather (Futurepoem Books, 2008). She lives in New York City.
The Earth's Horizons by Michèle Métail translated by Marcella Durand
A renowned poet of performance as well as the page, Michèle Métail dazzles with her disposition of strict formal constraints in service to verbal invention. To experience her exuberant work in Earth's Horizons is to experience geomorphic processes themselves, their swells raptures and subsidence, those forces that underpin us and in some ways define us. In addition, Marcella Durand's vital and virtuosic translation offers us a version in English I would never have thought possible.
Michèle Métail's Les horizons du sol recreates the earliest cartography of France as a series of verbal monoliths whose periodicity (forty-eight characters per line, twenty-four lines per page) both opposes and recomposes the undulatory land patterns on the facing pages. Marcella Durand's rendering of Métail's visionary project into English brilliantly preserves the French poet's system of constraints, demonstrating, by so many "fractured anfractuosities," that the map is indeed the territory.