Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anne Portugal: Quisite Moment

Quisite Moment, Anne Portugal, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck, 2008)

A slim but delightful chapbook. A series of 14 9-line poems, each with a single 3-line footnote. The trick here – as in the title, which wants to be or once was "Exquisite Moment" – is that the first letters or syllables of each line seem to be missing, leaving a fertile lacuna for the reader to speculate on what came before, to fill in the blanks. As in "sing in the bedroom" ("cursing in the bedroom"? "musing in the bedroom"?):
end came
digiously strong
retched out on
ton bedsheet
"Bedroom" gestured erotica to me – maybe that's my bent* – but here it's infected, distempered by the loppage of words, "stretched" to "retched," "touch" (?) to "ouch." I can't imagine the procedures Rosmarie W. went thru to find English "equivalents" for the original French.

*my favorite of the "footnotes":
the Swiss well
it's their Swiss bent
love Switzerland

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