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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: October Thoughts & Throwback

WFU Press’s newest book is here!

Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere is a beautiful work featuring translations of the French poet Jean Follain juxtaposed alongside Carson’s original work.

In his “Apropros,” Carson offers, “…[T]he word fetch…was in my mind throughout the writing of From Elsewhere.” He goes on to say, “A fetch is the act of fetching, bringing from a distance, or reaching after: it is something brought from elsewhere, an act of translation in other words…A fetch is the apparition, double, or wraith of a living person. A shadowy counterpart, as my poems might be to those of Follain.”

Here, we see Carson’s translation of Follain’s “October Thoughts” alongside “Throwback,” just as they are paired in the book. In “Throwback,” Carson’s response reverberates like a haunting echo of Follain, and creates a space that allows each piece to converse with, answer, and compliment the other.

Pensées d’octobre: October Thoughts

How good it is
to drink this fine wine
all by oneself
when evening illuminates the coppery hills
no hunter any longer sets his sights
on the lowland game
our friends’ sisters
look lovelier than ever
regardless of the threat of war
an insect stops
then starts again.


Children throwing stones
and bottles over the brick wall
topped with broken bottles
ruby amber green
need not know who
drank the wine
all those years ago
nor what lies on the other side
except that it throws back.

Ciaran Carson from From Elsewhere (2015)

Categories: Ciaran Carson, Poem of the WeekTags: , , , ,


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