“Every word written is a victory against death,” says French writer Michel Butor (Photo via aucoindelaruedelenfer.com)
According to The New York Review of Books, only 3 to 5 percent of books published in the U.S. are translations. Whether this is the result of American isolationism, or commercial practicalities is a subject for debate, but it’s hard not to wonder what literary gems we’re missing in this country.
Gwarlingo has featured a fair number of poetry translation projects: Russian poets Anzhelina Polonskaya, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Gennadi Aygi, the fascinating micrograms of Jorge Carrera Andrade, Japanese haiku master Kobayashi Issa, and Korean Zen Master Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim.
To this diverse roster, we now add French poet, novelist, and essayist Michel Butor. This translation and introduction by Jeffrey Gross is a Gwarlingo exclusive. To the best of Gross’s knowledge, La Banlieue de l’Aube à l’Aurore (The Suburbs from Dawn to Daybreak) has never been translated into English.