John Taylor and his authors

“Translating has helped me to know myself better, to find my genuine literary sensibility. Translating has long been intimately related to my personal writing. I constantly move between translating, reviewing, and writing. ‘Bon qu’à ça,’ as Samuel Beckett put it: ‘Good for nothing else.’”

Read the interview with John Taylor, literary translator, on Authors & Translators.

John Taylor’s translations of Calaferte, Georges Perros & Laurence Werner David have appeared in various issues of The Black Herald.


Louis Calaferte’s The Violet Blood of the Amethyst

 The Violet Blood of the Amethyst

The Violet Blood of the Amethyst

Louis Calaferte’s The Violet Blood of the Amethyst (Le Sang violet de l’améthyste) is now available, for the first time in English

Translated from the French and introduced by John Taylor.

bilingual book

Chelsea Editions, 2013

To order the book



Excerpts were published in the 3rd issue of The Black Herald (Sept. 2012)

More excerpts here

Avance vers tes contraires. Édifie-toi protestataire contre ce qui te porte, te soutient, t’enlève à toi-renême. Fais-toi indivisible subtilité, approfondissement de la connaissance. Entre dans la partie resérvée du monde. Tu n’es admis qu’à la parcellisation. Qu’elle te devienne bien inaliénable. Partie du monde tienne, de ton unique éclairement, à ta seule ressemblance. Instaure-toi découverte et, de la sorte, conçois tes approches, tes encerclements. Consacre-toi à ton isolement. Point tant ne s’agit de grandeur que d’etendue.

Head toward what is contrary to you. Build yourself up by protesting what carries you, supports you, removes you from yourself. Make yourself into indivisible subtlety, deepening knowledge. Enter the private part of the world. You are admitted only to the parceling out. May your part become an inalienable good for you. A part of your own world, of your unique illumination, resembling you alone. Institute yourself as discovery and, in that way, plan your approaches, your encirclements. Devote yourself to your isolation. Greatness is much less the matter than vastness.

The 37th issue of The Bitter Oleander

The 37th issue of The Bitter Oleander (Volume 19, Number 1, Spring 2013) features a poem by Paul Stubbs, ‘The Ascetic Attempts to Speak’ (this poem is part of his forthcoming third collection, The End of the Trial of Man, to be published by Arc Publications in the UK).

This issue also features the work of the Faroese poet and artist Tóroddur Poulsen (translated, introduced by Randi Ward), translations from the poetry of Karl Krolow (Germany) by Stuart Friebert, Lorenzo Calogero (Italy) by John Taylor, Ernst Halter (Switzerland) by Marc Vincenz, Eugenia Toledo (Chile) by Susan Sosa and Anne Greeott, Sara Uribe (Mexico) by Toshiya Kamei, Carmen Váscones (Ecuador) by Alexis Levitin and Yang Chian (China) by Ye Chun and Gillian Parrish. Original poetry by Alan Britt, Rob Cook, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Rich Ives, Shannon Salter, Anthony Seidman, Patty Dickson Pieczka among others and new short fiction by Nicole Bell, John Robinson, Brandi Wells as well as the Mexican writer Donají Olmedo translated from the Spanish by Toshiya Kamei.

To read an interview with Paul B. Roth, editor of The Bitter Oleander:

To purchase a copy of the magazine:


“Louis Calaferte – Un lieu, une mémoire”

Louis CALAFERTE – Un lieu, une mémoire, n° 0, Editions Tarabuste, 2012

L’essentiel des contributions de ce numéro est le fruit des interventions qui eurent lieu à l’occasion des premières rencontres Louis Calaferte à Blaisy-Bas en 2011.

Avec des essais de Gilbert Lascault, Jérôme de Missolz, André Not, Patrick Pelloquet et John Taylor – ce dernier propose un texte passionnant intitulé “En traduisant Le Sang violet de l’améthyste ; un extrait du Sang violet de l’améthyste, accompagné de sa traduction en anglais (par John Taylor), a paru dans le numéro 3 du Black Herald.


Un lieu, une mémoire

Particles of truth – Paul Stubbs reviews Jacques Dupin’s ‘Of Flies & Monkeys’

This book comprises three collections: De singes et de mouches (Of Flies and Monkeys, 2001), Les Mères (Mothers, 2001) and Coudrier (Hazel Tree, 2006), all of which, in truth, are fused of the same semantic world-surge, image-fusion, language-mesh. The poetry of Dupin, at its most intense and vaulted pressure of ink and blood, continually uproots us, gnawing at the heart, until we experience them: the sudden salmon upsurge of selves, his teeming and punctuated mind-flows, the reversed resurrections (his flesh zipped up and then unzipped to reveal exposed syntactical bone); amid a carnival concentration and concise pictograms of poetical sense, we feel at once the jolt and the jarring of the pulley-system of his sentences, those which Rimbaud envisioned for us all when he wrote that poetry would one day be “thought latching onto thought and pulling.Paul Stubbs

To read the review


Philippe Jaccottet & Pierre Albert-Jourdan

Two books introduced and translated from The French by John Taylor, published by Chelsea Editions

And, Nonetheless: Selected Prose and Poetry 1990—2009, Philippe Jaccottet

The Straw Sandals, Selected Prose and Poetry, Pierre-Albert Jourdan

Of Flies and Monkeys / De singes et de mouches

Of Flies and Monkeys, Jacques Dupin

introduced & translated from the French by John Taylor

Bitter Oleander Press, 2011.

In the field of contemporary French poetry, Jacques Dupin (b. 1927) is a leading figure in a remarkable generation that also includes Yves Bonnefoy, Philippe Jaccottet, and André du Bouchet. In comparison to the aforementioned poets, however, Dupin’s work has been little available in English. A single volume, Selected Poems (Wake Forest University Press, 1992), translated by Paul Auster, Stephen Romer, and David Shapiro, collects early work, but none of the poets recent verse has appeared in English-speaking countries.

This book rights this situation. Gathering Dupin’s important recent volume, Coudrier (Hazel Tree), as well as two earlier volumes, De singes et de mouches (Of Flies and Monkeys) and Les Mères (The Mothers), this new translation forms a stimulating collective introduction to the poet’s writing. As the critic Jean-Pierre Richard has pointed out, “the territory of words, sensations, and images that is invented through Dupin’s poems . . . belongs to no other poet today.” His stark poetry brings forth opposites, fosters paradoxes, suggests potential narratives that are left unrecounted, and could perhaps be called “cubist” in its juxtaposition of fragments and in its rejection of natural or logical transitions. Not least, his writing is humorous, especially in its wry quips, ironic transformations of well-worn expressions, or playful imagery.

(source :

John Taylor is the author of the three-volume Paths to Contemporary French Literature and Into the Heart of European Poetry — all published by Transaction. A prose writer and poet, his latest book is The Apocalypse Tapestries (Xenos Books, 2004). He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Sonia Raiziss Charitable Foundation to translate Georges Perros and Louis Calaferte. Other authors he has recently translated include Pierre-Albert Jourdan, Philippe Jaccottet, Laurence Werner David, and several modern Greek writers. He lives in France.

About Jacques Dupin’s poetic language (by John Taylor)

Particles of Truth (a review by Paul Stubbs)

Plusieurs articles en français

“Bien écrire, ça ne veut rien dire…”

De l’écritureGeorges Perros (extrait du Black Herald 2)

Bien écrire, ça ne veut rien dire. Aujourd’hui, on ne peut que souhaiter la rupture totale. Ce n’est pas facile. Il ne faut pas le faire exprès, mais vivre. Ce que j’aime chez un écrivain, c’est ce qui lui échappe, à partir d’une élimination. La littérature n’a de sens que monstrueuse. Écrire, c’est Balzac, c’est Hugo, c’est Proust. Dragueurs en folie.

On Writing, Georges Perros – Translated from the French by John Taylor (excerpt from The Black Herald 2)

Writing well is a meaningless notion. Today, you can only hope for a total rupture. This is not easy. You mustn’t do it intentionally, but rather live. What I like in a writer is what escapes him, after he has done his eliminating. Literature makes sense only when it is monstrous. Writing is Balzac, Hugo, Proust. Dragnet fishermen gone mad.


The three volumes of Papiers collés (Gallimard, 1960, 1973, 1978) by Georges Perros have long enjoyed a cult status among French readers (and especially writers). Literally, “papiers collés” refers to “glued bits or scraps of paper” forming a collage. Perros also puns on the word “papier,” which alludes here to the reviews and personal essays that he wrote for literary magazines in the 1960s and 1970s. Paper Collage in fact gathers short prose writings of several kinds, including maxims, a genre in which Perros excelled. With typical modesty, the author called himself a “journalier des pensées,” a day laborer who tills thoughts.

— Georges Perros, Papiers collés 3, © Éditions Gallimard, 1978. [French original reprinted with permission.]

Le roman de Thomas Lilienstein

à paraître le 6 octobre, le troisième roman de Laurence Werner David, aux éditions Buchet Chastel.

Plus d’informations :

De l’auteur, on peut aussi lire le poème Cavaliers de la nuit en version originale et dans sa traduction en anglais, signée John Taylor, dans le dernier numéro du Black Herald.

Paths to Contemporary French Literature

Just Released, the 3rd volume of Paths to Contemporary French Literature by John Taylor (Transaction Publishers).

Aléas, Laurence Werner David

“Serons-nous ceux-là
à laisser tout abîme en place
alors vraiment proche du présent ?
Ou tout est-il arrangement de l’âme
Jusqu’à l’impulsion de la nostalgie ?”

Laurence Werner David, Éperdu par les figures du vent, Obsidiane, 1999, pp. 34-35. Prix de la Vocation 1999.

De Laurence Werner David, on peut aussi lire “L’Épousé” dans The Black Herald 1 dans sa version originale et sa traduction en anglais, “The Bridegroom”, par John Taylor.

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