View your shopping cart.

Banner Message

Please note: We are working on getting our inventory accurately represented on our site while we are in our temporary location. There might be items that appear online that are not currently accesible to us to ship to you. If you order these items, you will be refunded and the rest of your order will ship. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


In the case of Louise Labé, the twenty-four sonnets (one in Italian, twenty-three in French) constitute a narrative sequence chronicling the entire duration of an intense love relation. In Guido's case, the sonnets are not sequential, but Byrne has selected out what he believes to be the most directly philosophical of his sonnets, those which, as has been argued, demonstrate his "radical aristotelianism" (averroism). In both cases, one pre-Petrarchan, one post-Petrarchan, love is represented as both a wildness, madness or malady, and as something that gives rise to speculation regarding the relation between body and intellect. I refer to these poems as translations, rather than versions, because the depth of my engagement with them convinces me that they remain subservient to their sources - this can only be tested by reading them against their originals. A reader not compelled to do so, can read them as their poems. In doing so, they will find ninety poems, each made up of nine lines, each line, in turn, made up of nine syllables (with minor exceptions - only Allah is perfect). The main body of the work was written in the manner of the serial poem, a practice whereby the composing mind passes from room to room (stanza to stanza) in a kind of trance of forgetting and remembering. A distant, but undeniable precursor of this practice, in the context of translation, is Robin Blaser's les chimères. The second version of Louise Labé's sonnet sequence was translated from Rilke's German translation, using Louise's middle French text as a "pony" (crib or gloss - necessary because the author's German ain't so great). interspersed, or intervening, within the translations, are "sonnets" by Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva, Marcel Proust, and Jacques Lacan. In addition, between the main translations there is a sequence of wild sonnets, or nonets, taken from a separate collaboration with Kim Minkus (to be published in The Capilano Review), and a pendant of sonnets by Louise's admirers (members of her salon, such as Maurice Scève and Clément Marot).
Publication Date: 
May 29, 2018