////// 284 pages
Size: 14.5 x 21 CM
Recovery is an exhibition, an inquiry, a translative text. It seeks to vivify experience through a politics of gayness and an active demonstration of queerness. It engages with, in Marcel Mauss’s term, “techniques of the body,” from discrete gestures to athletic maneuvers and intimate caresses. By exploring weakness, it reshapes everyday actions and words into poetic acts of recovery.
The book begins in the diverse: Recovery is comprised of tracks (as in skiing, as in DJ-ing, as in walking) that readers are free to mix, to dance on, or to roam around in. Its prose, its poetry, its essays, and its translations are like method air. As in skateboarding, you are alone on your board, you ride the curbs, you jump the obstacles, you alley-oops (from the French “allez hop”), or you do darkslides, and yet you are never alone; you are doing it with other skateboarders. A painter painting alone in front of a cave looks like one of the rocks; onomatopoeias seem universal, but are not; a poem in Persian gets translated into a collaboration.
Recovery was published originally in France as Récupérer. This English edition, translated by Cole Swensen and augmented by texts written directly in English by the author and collaborators, has been transformed to adapt to this new context.
Vincent Broqua is a writer and translator. He and his heteronyms work with text, video and narrative as ways of entering the diverse, that special place between the unnamed and the named. He writes in French and English.
He teaches in the MA in Literary Creation at Paris 8, where he is a professor in North American Arts and literature. In 2000, he co-created the collective Double Change (doublechange.org), and in 2010 he co-founded the multilingual journal Quaderna (quaderna.org). With Abigail Lang and Olivier Brossard, he is also the co-curator of the Poets and Critics series. His book Photocall, projet d'attendrissement was awarded the 2021 Prize for gay novel/poetry in France. He performed his work in contexts such as the Segue Reading series in New York, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, the Poetry Library (London), at the Palais de Tokyo, the Maison de la poésie in Paris, the CipM in Marseille and various festivals in Europe. His work has appeared in The Chicago review, Jacket, Jacket2, How2, READ, Place, ...
Among his poetry publications:
La langue du garçon (Al dante/ Presses du réel, 2023), Recovery (trans. Cole Swensen, Pamenar Press, 2023), Photocall, projet d'attendrissement (Les petits matins, 2021 -- Prix du roman gay 2021 mention poésie), Frais du jour (L'Ours Blanc, 2020), Récupérer (Les petits matins, 2015), même = same (Contrat Maint, 2013), Given (roman pour s.) (Contrat Maint, 2009)
He translated a lot of poets, among whom: David Antin, Caroline Bergvall, Jen Bervin, Jim Dine, Thalia Field, Kevin Holden, Kevin Killian, Monica de la Torre, Alice Notley, Karen Sandhu, Layli Long Soldier, Tracie Morris, Redell Olsen, Jena Osman, Divya Victor, Anne Waldman, Marjorie Welish, Rosmarie Waldrop, Elizabeth Willis...
Vincent Broqua, tr. Cole Swensen | Recovery
Translator Cole Swensen gives us a treat: poet Vincent Broqua’s Recovery is lovely cacaphony, transeuphoric languagings and projectural extrapolations on translation, verse, speech, leaping and hovering in the space between languages, refusing what is monolingual in both cultures. Swensen at times turns French into American by leaving it in French (or did she write French in French!), so as to beckon back to English. Broqua is never one voice, she seems to tell us. And he invites collaborators many, via translation and intranslatables, from Charles Bernstein to Ghazal Mosadeq; even dogs bark differently here between tongues they or we cannot master. In Broqua’s brocante, poetry is electricity, translation makes mixity multiply. Each page is alive with jumps and sparks!
If jouissance didn’t exist, Vincent Broqua would have invented it. As it is, Broqua recoups joyance and gayety for poetry and translation. Pardon my French, but I gotta say: this is a pataqe(e)rical extravagance that you — that we — comment dit-on? — can’t afford to decline. Cole Swensen has recovered the original so we can now, at long last, read Broqua as what’s been missing from American poetry.
Something other than minor language is at play here. In Recovery the poetic domain welcomes detritus of a prelinguistic lost luggage, stray entries in a ledger as yet-to-be-named, space-time topoi in the changing room after a sweaty fight with logos. Such are the fascinating concerns of Recovery, a text as unsettling to literary habit as we could wish for wilding poetic experiment.
Vincent Broqua, poet, scholar, translator, is the juggler, the ringleader in this cabinet of wonder, a curated festival of prompts, strategies, collaboration and gleeful investigation. As book it is tentacular: a multifaceted experiment of events in language, in infrastructure, performance, chance, ruptured syntax, liberation and reality “as a series of digits.” A game of croquet in the “unknown”, in “contested spacez », in “wildernesses” as Marcel Mauss would have it, with some shades of OULIPO in the mix. Books can be naked bodies, indeed. They can shapeshift, get up and move about; they may invigorate desire. They can change the frequency of how we think in creative space beyond binaries and boundaries and recover spontaneity. How do you translate “onomatopoeia” and become what we sound like in dozens of languages?
This is one of the most refreshing compilations of generative inquiry and practice I’ve encountered of late. An instruction manual to think, play and imagine with. All kudos to the genii out of the box. Recovery is also aptly and brilliantly translated by the well-known experimental poet and translator Cole Swensen.
Réactiver le bien commun, Vincent Broqua en fera son objet avec l'idée fondée que tout advient par chaque mot que l'on craque. L'unité domestique des tas de langues se sépare et par là se décomposent et se recomposent les catégories d'écoute. Grésillements, coupures rétablies, l'écran à l'aide, et il en a trouvé beaucoup des mélodies reprenant l'air du caddie et de la poubelle jaune. Au plus près du bruit, il s'éprend des accords distants des rendements ténus, en bleue combinaison de chef de dépôt. Adresse accentuée, grand angle. A ce numéro vert, tout le monde peut le joindre.
This dazzling book by Vincent Broqua puts language into recovery mode via the twists, turns and shifts of translation – not the delivery of static information from one language to another but an effervescent movement that resensitizes, remakes and renews, creating possibilities at every page that are, as they need to be, both imaginative and political. Cole Swensen’s translation of this work brilliantly extends its relationship with and into English, which is in turn queered and unsettled through playful gesture and a multilingual openness never more needed than now.
Recovery by scholar and translator Vincent Broqua (in a lively translation by Cole Swensen) is a playful, encyclopaedic, exploded, multi-dimensional, sometimes fantastical, sometimes political poetic essay in multiple parts, which scoops up as much as it can from the author’s vast cultural memory scapes as well as surrounding natural and cultural objects. Intense disorderliness and multiple attempts at sense-making ensue!