From Library Journal
While all translation is re-creation, the translation of poetry must convey image, mood, cadence, and concentrated subtlety. In this regard, Waldrop's fine translation is a tribute to Roubaud's rich and often lyrical meditation on death. On the surface these prose poems are an expression of the poet's grief at his wife's premature demise. They are, however, more a bold self-portrait in which the poet exposes his psyche and the struggle he endures to make the language he uses in his craft transcend its inherent limitations. Fine reading for both generalists and scholars of French literature.- Anthony Caprio, Oglethorpe Univ., Atlanta, Ga.
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"It is an elegy for our time, in that it rejects the heaven which opens for Beatrice and the ghosts which survive in the atheism of Hardy, and in that it explores overtly the relation between poetry and death. Roubaud asks in effect how one can write about a dead lover, how one can 'say' her--how one can get from the silence or groanings, which alone seem proper, to a work of poetry. By pursuing his hostility to poetry he discovers a language which is usable, and by continuously facing death he descends progressively further into the meaning of poetry. He has written a thoroughly modern 'love poem.'" -- Michael Edwards, Times Literary Supplement
"No work of recent French poetry, indeed of recent French literature, is more moving than Some Thing Black.... [O]ne reads Some Thing Black from the first sentence on with breath withheld, as if one had forgotten (and perhaps one had) that the richest poetry communicates, not only sounds and ideas and images, but also emotions.... So emotionally powerful and technically original are these poems that they should be situated not only within the context of recent French poetry, but also within the long history of the poem of mourning in European literature.... In nearly every poem of Some Thing Black particulars haunt one as universals. Which is the hallmark of a lasting work of art.... Roubaud succeeds in creating an original, unforgettable poetic equivalent for that complex state of mind and feeling which arises in the presence of death. The most complex intellectual and emotional state that man can know." -- Asylum