The Anchor's Long Chain
An experiment with the sonnet form by one of the foremost French poets of his generation.
Yves Bonnefoy has wowed the literary world for decades with his diffuse volumes. First published in France in 2008, The Anchor’s Long Chain is an indispensable addition to his oeuvre. Enriching Bonnefoy’s earlier work, the volume, translated by Beverley Bie Brahic, also innovates, including an unprecedented sequence of nineteen sonnets. These sonnets combine the strictness of the form with the freedom to vary line length and create evocative fragments. Compressed, emotionally powerful, and allusive, the poems are also autobiographical—but only in glimpses. Throughout, Bonnefoy conjures up life’s eternal questions with each new poem.
Longer, discursive pieces, including the title poem’s meditation on a prehistoric stone circle and a legend about a ship, are also part of this volume, as are a number of poetic prose pieces in which Bonnefoy, like several of his great French predecessors, excels. Long-time fans will find much to praise here, while newer readers will quickly find themselves under the spell of Bonnefoy’s powerful, discursive poetry.
‘Few exceptions of contemporary French letters deserve the attention of the rading public in America more than Bonnefoy [. . .] His writings are an important lighthouse on the contemporary cultural coastline.’ —Hudson Review
‘There is a folkloric feel to this writing, As if life is a fairytale. The tone is theistic, and there’s always a narrative within the surreal. Yes, all this is Bonnefoy. His prose pieces are sharp and clear while there are transgressions folding dreams within reality.’ —Washington Independent Review of Books
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