Anne Portugal: absolute bob


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bob, a brave little guy (joker, operator, sheer energy?) bops in the manner of a video-game through the ways a poem inhabits sense or nonsense, speeds or slows, slides into forms or undoes them. bob occupies his virtual field of action in perpetual motion, beats down doors, explores corridors, removes walls, strikes sparks from repetition, sets fire to ”the same old,” pulls the levers of creation.

The book’s 24 chapters remind us of film’s 24 images per second — just as bob to French ears suggests bobine, the reel that unrolls them. Also of the 24 hours in the day of a man who must exhaust himself in command performances that gradually asphyxiate even the fabrication of verse.

Anne Portugal was born in Angers, in 1949. She lives and teaches in Paris where she is recognized as the model of a famous “Poets’ Calendar.”

Her first collection, La licence qu’on appelle autrement parrhésie, was published in the collective Cahier de poésie 3 (Gallimard, 1980). Since then Anne Portugal has published with P.O.L.: Les commodités d’une banquette (1985), De quoi faire un mur (1987), Le plus simple appareil (1992) — which Norma Cole has  translated into English as Nude (Kelsey St. Press, 2001) —, Dans la reproduction en deux parties égales des plantes et des animaux (1999) and our present volume, définitif bob (2002).

Burning Deck has also published a chapbook, Quisite Moment (2008).

Jennifer Moxley was bortn in San Diego and now lives and works in Maine. She is the author of the poetry collections, Imagination Verses (Tender Buttons, 1996), The Sense Record (Edge, 2002), Often Capital (Flood Editions, 2005), The Line (Post-Apollo, 2007), and Clampdown (Flood Editions, 2009) as well as of a memoir, The Middle Room (Subpress, 2008).

She has translated Jacqueline Risset’s book of poetry, The Translation Begins (Burning Deck, 1996) and her essays on sleep, Sleep’s Powers (Ugly Duckling Press, 2008).