In Winter Light

Philippe Jaccottet


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Two Rivers Press
21 October 2022
ISBN: 9781909747999
82 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Tim Dooley

Á la lumière d’hiver (1977) is a central work in the writing of the Swiss French poet Philippe Jaccottet (1925-2021). Written in middle age, it forms a bridge between the poet’s intricate early lyrics and his more expansive and meditative later work. Starting from a direct confrontation with the raw facts of mortality, its three poem-sequences strip away further layers of illusion until a glimmer of meaning starts to appear in the ‘winter light’ of the landscape of the Drôme area of northern Provence, where Jaccottet made his home from 1953 until the end of his life.

Tim Dooley’s translation, In Winter Light, is the product of a long relationship with the original, which he first read at the time of its publication. His English version mirrors the tentative, scrupulous exploration of being he finds in Jaccottet’s French, both its hesitancies and circular movements and, finally, its ‘unblinking eyes’.