Today’s guest, poet and translator Rosmarie Waldrop, is best known for her prose poetry and for good reason. Waldrop is one of the great prose poetry practitioners and innovators over the course of the last half century. We speak about her latest collection, The Nick of Time, through the lens of the themes, questions, and poetics that animate her work across the decades: her attraction to betweenness, to the gap between two things or between two words; her desire to distress the sentence and to what end; her aversion to metaphor and analogy; and her belief that it is in the silence, the not-said, the unrepresented, the nothingness that lies between two words, where creation and generation truly happens. We also explore her life as a translator, particularly in relation to the work of Egyptian Jewish writer Edmond Jabès, and the friendship they forged through their shared engagement with the mysteries of language (she translated fourteen of his books from French to English), and the questions this relationship raises about identity, both the self and the other.
For the bonus audio archive Waldrop reads from her translation of Jabès’ remarkable “Adam, or The Birth of Anxiety” from The Book of Shares. To learn more about how to subscribe to the bonus audio and the other potential benefits and rewards of becoming a supporter of the show (from rare collectibles to becoming an early reader for Tin House) head over to the Between the Covers Patreon page.