Hélène Cardona – Excerpts from Beyond Elsewhere

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Two excerpts from Beyond Elsewhere (White Pine Press, 2016), recipient of a Hemingway Grant, a narrative poem by Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, translated from the French (Plus loin qu’ailleurs, Éditions du Cygne, 2013) by Hélène Cardona, Poet, Actor, Translator.

Beyond Elsewhere copy

I light the lamp of the invisible: she is here. Even
invisible she is here; between words, in them, through
them. She covers the entire page in shadow, ink and light.

She is the rumor that rumbles at the bottom of the
seashell stranded on the beach. Her beauty comes from
elsewhere. She’s the sun’s song, the moon’s sighs, an
endless dream springing from the depths of another
dream with a woman’s bust and eagle wings: her, then me
in her; her, then light.

She torments me, entrances me, she is the still virgin
lover, the immaculate seat of an absolute vow that
nothing earthly can fulfill. Even after starlit millennia
within starlit millennia, she still is virgin, every day
reinvented by the formula beyond the grave that lights
the gold of time and the flame of our intangible bodies.

The first love wards off the specter of a world
by rusty winged adults with collapsed dreams, whose
automated arms open before you but no longer close. It
takes the place of worldly theater, of a societal lie, of a
future with deserted temples and a wrinkled forehead.
Curtain. Give way to the sun. To all the rising suns.

J’allume la lampe de l’invisible : elle est ici. Même
invisible elle est ici ; entre les mots, en eux,
à travers eux. Elle couvre toute la page d’ombre, d’encre et de lumière.

Elle est la rumeur qui gronde au fond du coquillage
échoué sur la grève. Sa beauté vient d’ailleurs. Elle est le
chant du soleil, les soupirs de la lune, un songe d’infini qui
jaillit du fond d’un autre songe avec un buste de femme et
des ailes d’aigle : elle, puis moi en elle ; elle, puis la

Elle me tourmente, m’aimante, elle est l’amante encore
vierge, le siège immaculé d’un vœu d’absolu que rien de
terrestre ne saurait exaucer. Même après des millénaires
étoilés l’un dans l’autre, elle est encore vierge, chaque
jour réinventée par la formule d’outre-tombe qui allume
l’or du temps et la flamme de nos corps intangibles.

Le premier amour conjure le spectre d’un monde
d’adultes aux ailes rouillées, aux rêves effondrés, aux bras
d’automates qui s’ouvrent devant vous mais ne se
referment plus. Il prend la place du théâtre mondain, du
mensonge citoyen et d’un devenir aux temples déserts, au
front ridé. Rideau. Place au soleil. À tous les soleils

Hélène Cardona is a poet, literary translator and actor, whose most recent books include Life in Suspension and Dreaming My Animal Selves (both from Salmon Poetry), and the translations Beyond Elsewhere (Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, White Pine Press), winner of a Hemingway Grant; Ce que nous portons (Dorianne Laux, Éditions du Cygne), and Walt Whitman’s Civil War Writings for WhitmanWeb.

She has also translated Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Aloysius Bertrand, Maram Al-Masri, Eric Sarner, Christiane Singer, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, Jean-Claude Renard, Nicolas Grenier, and her father José Manuel Cardona. A Romanian translation of Dreaming My Animal Selves was published by Junimea Editions in 2016. Her work has been translated into 13 languages.

She holds a masters in American Literature from the Sorbonne, received fellowships from the Goethe-Institut and Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, worked as a translator for the Canadian Embassy in Paris, and taught at Hamilton College and Loyola Marymount University. She contributes essays to The London Magazine, and co-edits Plume and Fulcrum.

Publications include Washington Square Review, World Literature Today, Poetry International, Dublin Review of Books, Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Warwick Review, Irish Literary Times and elsewhere.   http://helenecardona.com

Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac, author of Plus loin qu’ailleurs (Éditions du Cygne, 2013), is published in numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry, including Petite anthologie de la jeune poésie française (Éditions Géhess, 2009), Le livre de la prière (Éditions de l’Inférieur, 2013), and Poètes français et marocains, Anthologie 2 (Éditions Polyglotte, 2014), in the literary journals Les Citadelles, Poésie Directe, Littérales, Polyglotte, Recours au Poème, Testament, in the magazines 3è Millénaire and L’Opinion indépendante, and contributed to Irak, la faute, by Alain Michel and Fabien Voyer (Éditions du Cerf, 2000).

Gabriel graduated from Sciences Po and holds a Master’s degree (Fondements des Droits de l’Homme). After studying philosophy and Eastern poetry, he became fascinated with the history and ideas of the great religions and their poetic expression in particular, which took him to India six years later.

Beyond Elsewhere, translated by Hélène Cardona and published by White Pine Press in 2016, was the recipient of Hemingway Grant. The Romanian translation by Gabriela Mocanasu was published by the prestigious Junimea Editions in 2014. Spanish and Persian translations are in progress. http://gabriel-arnoulaujeac.blogspot.com

© Helene Cardona/Gabriel Arnou-Laujeac

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