In Reality: Selected Poems
Jean Portante is a lyric poet, and also one who has something to say to an international audience. As a Francophone Luxemburger of Italian descent, his poetry works at the spaces between European cultures and is concerned with themes of identity, politics, language, Europe, the divide between politics and everyday life. This dual language edition collects work from the last 20 years, including poems from his 2013 collection, Après le tremblement, which addresses an earthquake in his ancestral Italian village.
Having lived in Cuba for many years Portante is very much at home in Latin America, and a prominent translator of Latin American poetry. Politically, he remains a combative spokesman for the Left in his columns for Le Jeudi, and is highly regarded for his representation of Italian immigrant experience in Luxembourg as described in his autobiographically-inspired novel Mrs Haroy ou la mémoire de la baleine.
Rich in imagery, and addressing themes like memory and forgetting, Portante’s poetry moves discursively to a telling conclusion, which engages readers in whatever language they encounter him. The poems are presented in dual text.
“In reality, reality is ghosted by a multiplicity of forms of energy & energies of form it is the poet’s job to reveal & hide in the double play of his languages’ hide & seek. Jean Portante is a master at just that chassé-croisé of language & meaning, of real ghosts & ghostly realities. One 'In Reality' can (& does) hide another. Read on & in.” – Pierre Joris
Listen to Jean Portante read from his collection of poetry, 'In Reality: Selected Poems' (Translation by Zoë Skoulding):