I first wrote to Claude Ber when I became acquainted with her startling, fragmentary meditation on grief, La mort n’est jamais comme (Death Is Never Like), which won the Prix international de poésie francophone Yvan-Goll in 2004. The book already had an English translator, she wrote back, but perhaps I’d be interested in her latest work? A thin cream paperback from Éditions de l’Amandier came in the mail shortly afterwards, signed. . .
A feature by Denis Frajerman
The contemporary French novelist Antoine Volodine has explored the soul’s migrations and the mind’s liminal states—between humanity and animality, between madness and reason, life and death—in over forty books since he began publishing in the mid-1980s. In this article, the French musician and composer Denis Frajerman recollects his friendship and numerous literary-musical collaborations with Volodine over a twenty-year period, the most recent of which was performed last month at the Maison de la Poésie in Paris.
A feature by Lutz Bassmann
Like an eternal wanderer in the Bardo, the post-exotic writer Lutz Bassmann exists in a constant floating state between reality and fiction. He is the primary narrator and protagonist of Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven, in which his final moments and history are described. He is also the author of several books, including not only The Eagles Reek but also We Monks & Soldiers (trans. Jordan Stump) and a collection of prison haiku. Like his comrades Manuela Draeger and Elli Kronauer, he possesses a deep sympathy for egalitarian struggle. In honor of Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven’s publication in English, Music & Literature is pleased to debut several excerpts in English from Bassmann’s as-yet-untranslated The Eagles Reek.
A feature by Daniel Levin Becker
The formal resemblances between Édouard Levé's Works and Georges Perec's I Remember pale away compared to their spiritual perpendicularities: one is an assemblage of purportedly original things that do not yet exist, the other a motley litany of things that once existed but never truly belonged to anyone; one is a series of ideas abandoned at the moment before they crystallize, the other a series of memory-points that exist to be shared and collectively reified. Perec had none of Levé’s impulse toward detachment; the questing in his work was driven by his interest, on some level a desperate one, in the way people could be objectively united in their subjective experiences of time and place, even if they shared neither. Whereas Levé was fascinated by people from a remove, Perec wrote in enormous part to remind himself that he was one of them . . .