Ursa Major

Yves Bonnefoy

Translated by Beverly Bie Brahic


5.5 x 7.75 inches, 60 pp., 15 colour plates September 2016

ISBN : 9780857423740

Rs  550.00 (HB)
$19.00 (HB)
£13.50 (HB)

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Yves Bonnefoy was one of the greatest living voices of French poetry. In Ursa Major, his sixth book published by Seagull Books, he explores in profound new ways the mysteries of human consciousness. Readers find snatches of conversations—overheard, dropped without any possible conclusion—each pregnant with half-hidden, half-visible meaning. Translucent, punctuated with silences, the poems of Ursa Major are like stones picked up, turned over and set back down on the edge of life.


Countless voices traverse us; endless, almost, as the meanders of dreams or the starry scintillations of summer nights. Only listen, and a few words rise from the murmur, referring to precise things, making allusions one would like to understand, offering opinions perhaps worth mulling over.


With these words Bonnefoy introduces the collection, newly rendered into English by the master translator Beverly Bie Brahic, illuminated by graphic artist Sunandini Banerjee. This deeply moving sequence of prose poems invites readers to attend to the multitudinous voices that carry on their conversations within us, to trust them—‘just as on summer nights we would lie down in the grass of the meadow, behind our houses, to go forth among the millions of stars with a feeling of falling’.

Yves Bonnefoy was born in Tours, France, in 1923. Poet, critic and professor emeritus of comparative poetics at Collège de France, Paris, he has received several major international awards for his work, including the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca (1995) and the Franz Kakfa Prize (2005). In addition to poetry and literary criticism, he has published numerous works on art history and translated into French several of Shakespeare’s plays.



Beverley Bie Brahic is a Canadian poet and translator. She has published two collections of poetry, and translations of French writers, including Guillame Apollinaire, Francis Ponge and Hélène Cixous.

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