Archive for the ‘joris’ Category


The book lies open
in all the hallways
in all the oases
in all the dreams
around every corner
behind every sand dune

in this dream too
you have to add a line
your place is between
the already written
& the unwritten,
in the white empty space.

In this dream
Stalin smiled, & Heidegger too
in this dream
scuttled from the book–but it had to be written in, despite
the smiles.

A dream of a book
a dream of a desert in a book
a dream of a desert that runs from the book
a dream of a  book and a desert
a dream of sand through fingers
a dream of white
a dream of mica
a dream of fennecs
a dream of a desert spilling from the book
into and through the hallway and out the door

And a voice said
write the book
& you will be healed

A voice said a voice said

my middle my voice my will
write in the book

write the desert
the dream
write the sand the white write the running
dream the book.

-Pierre Joris, from H.J.R.

Order the Book


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Ewe (Ghana)

The bird that saw sings
Tseutse’s child is dead
She should eat, they say
I don’t want to eat, she says
God himself greeted them
And said, she should eat
But Tseutse refused and said:
I’ll never eat

Then earth greeted them
and said she should eat
But Tseutse said never will I eat
Foufou she desired
but said to eat she doesn’t want
the mush was her desire
but said to eat wouldn’t want
And yet stole the ripe fruit and ate them

-translated to French by Tristan Tzara; translated to English by Pierre Joris
4X1: Works by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey, and Habib Tengour

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A Robe of White Roses

The red window open upon her beauty,
Do I conceive love thus?
Crimes of tears at the blood-painted stones,
Olive trees, in a horrible old age, become younger.

And my weapons are the color of marble
Which, by the length of a whole world,
Overtakes the forgotten street
Where my steps do and undo regrets.

Round about I want myself faithful,
In the white bewilderment, dragging behind my fairies
And let the seasons come to me
To weep and die my bodies and my bodies undone.

-Jean-Pierre Duprey, from 4X1: Works by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey, and Habib Tengour

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There is a book of poetry so unique  that it contains four very different poets who come together to form a metaphorical map of the last 150 years of poetry, taking us through Dadaism, Surrealism, Modernism, and Postmodernism.
4X1: Works by Tristan Tzara, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey, and Habib Tengour

It includes Ranier Maria Rilke, whose popularity and importance grows more every year; Tristan Tzara, a polemicist of the Dada movement putting Africa oral poetry to paper; Jean-Pierre Duprey, the French surrealist whose poetry is so evocative, (so moving that I made a one-minute poem about it that you can watch below); and Habib Tengour, an Algerian Muslim master of the postmodern story, meandering through the landscape of a fertile, troubled modern mind.

This book of poetry is called 4×1, since it contains first English translations of 4 poets all translated by the award-winning translator and poet, Pierre Joris. It was published by Inconundrum Press in 2002, but has received little distribution because of the common travails of the small press…mostly the difficulty in getting a wide distribution for a rather small first print run.

History of the Press

Inconundrum Press (now Inconnue) was founded by three smart English major types in Albany, NY who happened to be good friends of mine. When they were ready to move on to other things, I took over the press and became its executive editor. That was in 2005.

But publishing companies need our support. Mine, as well as others. And I’ve parted with $11.95 for two La Fin Du Mondes (the Belgian tripple ale I love) and gone to bed with a headache and no book. I try to buy books as often as I can and to support small and independent presses. Independent presses pretty much exist solely on your direct purchases (what you buy on amazon.com leaves them with only a couple of dollars per sale).

Thanks for your time and for supporting ninaalvarez.net, Inconnue Press, and most of all, thanks for continually supporting the life of poetry.



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