Sandra Moussempès
Translated from the French by Carrie Chappell & Amanda Murphy

Here is the little girl folded over like a pageYou open her you undress her you take her with youYou feed her with a fork you slice herLengthwise You entrust her with a page she spreads herself out and wraps herself up with the pageYou crush her by closing the bookIn theory she is not dead yet she unfolds herself with words The house of liquid sentences is her main addressA ray of light fastens itself more to the houses/voices than to the invertebrate subjectsLike an eel the little girl lets go of a cry but retrieves it It’s poetry reduced to black powder then reworked in living dough with a little waterEach pause in a given universe gives off a mystical odorThat we extract without tweezers from a temple above time I became aware of it — I did not become aware of it —In sinking my heart like a fork into a fixed memoryIn sucking up the features of the guests present during the final scene

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Sandra Moussempès is the author of 12 books. Her most recent, Cassandre à bout portant (Flammarion, January 2021), won the 2022 Théophile Gautier Prize in Poetry from the French Academy. In addition to Cassandre, she has recently published Cinéma de l’affect (Boucles de voix off pour film fantôme) (Editions de l’Attente 2020), Colloque des télépathes & CD Post-Gradiva (Editions de l’Attente 2017), and Sunny girls (Poésie/Flammarion 2015). Her chapbooks, I’m a language you are the sound device and Sunny girls, have been translated into English and published by Above Ground Press in Canada.

Carrie Chappell is the author of Loving Tallulah Bankhead (Paris Heretics 2022) and Quarantine Daybook (Bottlecap Press 2021). Some of her recent individual poems have been published in Iron Horse Literary Review, Nashville Review, Redivider, SWIMM, and Yemassee, and her essays have previously appeared in DIAGRAM, Fanzine, New Delta Review, The Iowa Review, The Rumpus, The Rupture, and Xavier Review. Each spring, she curates Verse of April. She holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop and is Instructor of English at Sorbonne Panthéon University.

Amanda Murphy is an Associate Professor in English and Translation Studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University and a translator living in Paris. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne Nouvelle and is a member of the Centre d’Études et de Recherches Comparatistes (CERC). Her doctoral dissertation on multilingual, experimental writing, “Écrire, lire, traduire entre les langues: défis et pratiques de la poétique multilingue”, will be published in 2023 by Classiques Garnier.


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