Jean Portante

Originally from Luxembourg, Jean Portante currently lives in Paris. A prolific writer, his work ranges from poetry to essays via novels, plays and short stories. He has translated the work of a number of poets into French and is head of Transkrit, Luxembourg’s literary magazine dedicated to translation. In 2003 he was awarded France’s Grand Prix d’Automne de la Société des Gens de Lettres, and in 2011 he received Luxembourg’s National Literature Award. He is widely translated, and in English he has published Point. Erasing (Daedalus, 2003) and In Reality: Selected Poems (Seren, 2013).


Border Crossings »

Reading: Aonghas MacNeacail, Jean Portante

Sat 4 March | 11:30 - 12:30 | £4.00/£3.00 | The Undercroft, St John's House, South Street

Breakfast at the Poetry Café: Across Language »

With Aurélia Lassaque, Jacques Darras, Jean Portante and Zoë Skoulding

Sun 5 March | 10:00 - 11:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Byre Theatre, Abbey Street, Studio Theatre


What does and doesn’t come to pass

Of what does or doesn't come to pass the shadow is
it seems to me the least experienced ghost. Not
that between the two the double witness like
someone deciding to incline one ear or freeze his
breath would remember what had happened. I'm not
sure that that anything did happen when snow
not usually given to ascension rose again despite
the obstacle of clouds. Rose again to where
one might ask.
                   Or what's snow doing
when instead of falling it rises. Or why
wouldn't another ghost well up from what
does or doesn't come to pass and slide down
there into winter and here into words. And why
would this ghost slide into words here.


Jean Portante, tr. Zoë Skoulding

From In Reality: Selected Poems (Seren, 2013)