Oh — I’ll always remember the strange week propped up on a bed in the Hotel Léopold in Algiers (Algeria, not Louisiana) in the very hot late August/early September of 1976 during Ramadan & with my broken down inherited 6-cylinder Volvo sitting forlornly somewhere in the port waiting for help I couldn’t find anybody able to dispense while feverishly translating the first volume of the Illuminatus trilogy into French — which the Paris publisher who had bought the book unread on hear-say at the Frankfurt book fair the previous year, then refused to publish when he did read it in translation as it was not the kind of stuff he wanted to beschmutz his clean tight-assed high-echelon avantgardistic list with. And 10 years ago or so son Joseph borrowed those copies of the trilogy and now they are his — I saw them only yesterday on his shelves in Bay Ridge and felt an urge to look into the books but too busy elsewhere. And now Robert Anton Wilson has immanentized his own eschaton. Hasta luego.
Various medical authorities swarm in and out of here predicting I have between two days and two months to live. I think they are guessing. I remain cheerful and unimpressed. I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread. I love you all and I deeply implore you to keep the lasagna flying.
Please pardon my levity, I don’t see how to take death seriously. It seems absurd.
"Interglacial Narrows: Readings by Pierre Joris” (details to be announced)
Wednesday, November 29, 4PM
Lecture: Witnessing for the Witness: The Ferryman’s Labor in Translating Paul Celan.
Thursday, November 30, 5:30PM
Brown University Bookshop
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Segue (Artists Space, 11 Cortlandt Alley, NYC)
Pierre Joris, born in Strasbourg, France in 1946, was raised in Luxembourg. Since age 18, he has moved between Europe, the Maghreb & the US & holds both Luxembourg & American citizenship. He has published over 80 books of poetry, essays, translations & anthologies — most recently Interglacial Narrows (Poems 1915-2021) & Always the Many, Never the One: Conversations In-between, with Florent Toniello, both from Contra Mundum Press. In 2020 his two final Paul Celan translations came out: Microliths They Are, Little Stones (Posthumous prose, from CMP) & The Collected Earlier Poetry (FSG). Forthcoming are: Paul Celan’s “Todesfuge” (Small Orange Import, 2023) & Diwan of Exiles: A Pierre Joris Reader (edited with Ariel Reznikoff, 2024). For a full list see the right column on this blog.
In 2011 Litteraria Pragensia, Charles University, Prague, published Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, edited by Peter Cockelbergh, with essays on Joris’ work by, among others, Mohammed Bennis, Charles Bernstein, Nicole Brossard, Clayton Eshleman, Allen Fisher, Christine Hume, Robert Kelly, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jennifer Moxley, Jean Portante, Carrie Noland, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff & Nicole Peyrafitte (2011).
Other work includes the CD Routes, not Roots (with Munir Beken, oud; Mike Bisio, bass; Ben Chadabe, percussion; Mitch Elrod, guitar; Ta’wil Productions). With Jerome Rothenberg he edited Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 & 2: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, and with Habib. Tengour Poems for the Millennium, vol. 3: The University of California Book of North African Literature.
When not on the road, he lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, with his wife, multimedia praticienne Nicole Peyrafitte. A volume of their collaborative work, to be called Domopoetics, will be published in the near future.