Philip Mosley is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. He earned his M.A. in European literature and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of East Anglia. He has translated The Intelligence of Flowers by Maurice Maeterlinck, Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach, Tea Masters, Teahouses by Werner Lambersy, and October Long Sunday by Guy Vaes. In 2008 he was awarded the Prix de la Traduction Littéraire by the French Community of Belgium for his translations of Belgian authors into English.
The poems in Philip Mosley’s translation are thus filled with a mysterious beauty; they have a sort of shimmering quality.
Francois Jacqmin’s The Book of the Snow displays a poetry which is pure, abstract and uncompromising, but also deeply felt, utterly precise, attuned to the complexity of the world. It takes the language of philosophy, of speculation and meditation, and adds to it a rich calm cadence; every image has a real and exact value. The short poems are surrounded with terms which seem to gesture towards saying something which is true and towards something else which is beyond mere truth. The central paradox of Jacqmin’s poetry is the human mind’s need to speak played against a profound suspicion of language. The unmarked snowy fields, the mind before thought, the blank silence that underlies all human expression – these are the slates on which these poems form and disintegrate. The poems in Philip Mosley’s translation are thus filled with a mysterious beauty; they have a sort of shimmering quality. They are poems filled with both the world’s weather and a weather which belongs to language purely and exquisitely shaped and sculpted.
by Philip Mosley
It is midnight.
The coal of the hour burns out in white
Remains of souls flicker
in the grate.
hurl themselves at the walls like torn
birds of prey.
We remain alone,
with that fire which tries to rekindle itself.
Copyright © Translation Philip Mosley 2010
from The Book of Snow
the French written by Francois Jacqmin