Friday, August 8, 2014

Recent "Sundays" Translation from TLS

As the anniversary of his birth approaches (August 16, 1860), here's an excerpt of a very nice recent translation by P.N. Furbank of the Jules Laforgue poem "Sundays" which appeared in the Times Literary Supplement on November 12, 2013. To stay updated on any new Jules Laforgue Appreciation Society developments it will be best to join the official Facebook page.

And yet . . . and yet . . . why so pale?
Come, trust your old friend, you can tell me the tale.

Ah no? Can such things be?
I turn my face to the seas and the rough skies,
To all things that grumble and that utter sighs.

Such things! Such things!
Matter for sleepless nights and nail-bitings.

Poor, poor, for all their promisings!

And we! Drowned in such seas,
Plunged into such wonderment,
Fallen to our knees . . . !

Read the rest right HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Plaque Dedicated at Birthplace of Jules Laforgue

A very kind man from Montevideo named Emilio Irigoyen posted a link about this in the comments area of this website last year and I have just now seen it.

Very exciting to know that in honor of the 150th Anniversary of his birth, the government of Uruguay has finally posted an official plaque recognizing the birthplace of Jules Laforgue in Montevideo. It is so wonderful to hear this — I wish it had been there back in February 2010 when I made my pilgrimage to Montevideo in search of his birthplace. The building had been torn down so I had to kind of guess where it was. Anyway, here is a link with more info!

Monday, August 15, 2011

On the 151st Anniversary of His Birth

This August 16th is the 151st anniversary of the birth of Jules Laforgue. A perfect day to celebrate this wonderful poet by enjoying some of his poetry!

Visit for lots of great options right now or read some posts below here at the Jules Laforgue Appreciation Society site. Or, hell, just Google "Jules Laforgue" and explore!

In honor of the day, I want to share this one English translation which I recently came across (apologies for not also posting the French but you might be able to find it at

by Jules Laforgue

People have told me about life in the Far-West,
And my blood has groaned: "If only that were my country!...”
Without class in the old world, to live without faith or law,
Desperado! Over there, over there, I will be king!...
Oh! Over there to scalp myself of my European brain!
To swagger, to become once again a virgin antelope,
Without literature, a boy of prey, citizen
Of chance and spouting Californian slang!
A vague and pure settler, stockbreeder, architect,
Hunter, fisherman, gambler, up above the Pandectes!

Translation from Walt Whitman Among The French, Betsy Erkkila. New York: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Life of Longing and Laforgue - at

In honor of the big day today (the 150th Birthday of Jules Laforgue) the folks at the fabulous Bay Area Film site, are running a piece that I wrote which is essentially the prologue to my film project, Grandement Triste.

Here's an excerpt:
A lifelong engagement which could even be said to supersede our commitments to friends, family, and lovers. That is how I would characterize our relationships with those certain special touchstone writers and artists whose work shapes our own sense of self, connects us via eloquent craft to the truths we hold most deeply.

My verging on Talmudic analysis of Jules Laforgue has been just this kind of lifetime connection. He is always there. Anchor, compass point, North Star of my soul-searching and angst. Even if I have now outgrown some aspects of my original attachment to him, he remains a central muse and inspiration for me.
Please go read the rest HERE.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A birthday translation in honor of Laforgue's 150th

Tomorrow — Monday, August 16th, 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jules Laforgue. But how to celebrate?

In honor of the occasion I decided to run a Google Translation of one of my favorite obscure Laforgue poems, "Berceuse d'automne" (it is very similar to a much later poem of his called "L'Hiver qui vient").

Because of his unusual poetic constructions there seem to be really wide variations in the English translations of Laforgue. Here is the English translation from Google which is actually pretty enjoyable (original French is below):

Autumn Lullaby
It's autumn, autumn, there is one near the fire. Farewell powerful sun, green leaves, blue sky! The rain beats the window and the wind A hoarse moan at length his monotonous song, O toilets in April, the joy of life, farewell. It is only near the fire, listen the rain And sometimes we'll see aside the curtain if the sky is still daubed with soot, if the street is always full of puddles And we sit back , you're bored, you get bored. O despair of the wind in the large wood Rolling yellowed leaves in whirlwinds of dirty, and love letters and nest debris, Carry the beautiful days in your long bursts, the winter is forever, everything is over Finish.

Berceuse d'automne
C'est l'automne, l'automne, on est seul pres du feu. Adieu soleil puissant, feuilles vertes, ciel bleu! L'averse bat la vitre et le vent s'epoumone A gemir longuement sa chanson monotone, O toilettes d'avril, bonheur de vivre, adieu. On est seul pres du feu, on ecoute la pluie, Et parfois l'on va voir ecartant le rideau Si le ciel est encor badigeonne de suie, Si la rue est toujours pleine de flaques d'eau Et l'on revient s'asseoir, on s'ennuie, on s'ennuie. O desespoir du vent dans le grand bois jauni Roulant par tourbillons des feuilles mortes sales, Et des lettres d'amour et des debris de nid, Emporte les beaux jours dans tes longues rafales, C'est l'hiver a jamais, tout est fini, fini.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Grandement Triste: The Film

Creative projects have creative origins — through the process of writing this blog and sharing some of my passion for Jules Laforgue with the world, I have recently realized that I am officially in development on a personal documentary about Laforgue and about my pilgrimage to his birthplace (in Montevideo, Uruguay). The film is called, fortuitously, Grandement Triste.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

150th Anniversary of the Birth of Jules Laforgue

This coming August 16th is the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Jules Laforgue. Please be sure to celebrate the day accordingly. Stay tuned for some special postings to the Jules Laforgue Appreciation Society page in honor of this notable occasion and be sure to RSVP to the official Facebook Event for the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Jules Laforgue — so everyone will know that you'll be reading poetry or participating in some other appropriate activity on this very special day.