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).
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)