Valérie Rouzeau, translated by Sabine Huynh

Valérie Rouzeau, Vrouz (Éditions La Table Ronde, Paris, 2012, pp. 11-12)

Bonne qu’à ça ou rien

Je ne sais pas nager pas danser pas conduire

De voiture même petite

Pas coudre pas compter pas me battre pas baiser

Je ne sais pas non plus manger ni cuisiner

(Vais me faire cuire un œuf)

Quant à boire c’est déboires

Mourir impossible présentement

Incapable de jouer ni flûte ni violon dingue

De me coiffer pétard de revendre la mèche

De converser longtemps

De poireauter beaucoup d’attendre un seul enfant

Pas fichue d’interrompre la rumeur qui se prend

Dans mes feuilles de saison.

Et d’aventure ma main

Saurait faire autre chose

Ma tête ne suivrait pas

Elle est remplie de trous

À la cuisine passoire

Couture chas de l’aiguille

Puis mon humeur chameau

Qui trouve tout difficile

Surtout le paradis

Surtout les spaghettis

À la sauce tomate

Mais danser comme un pied

Je peux y arriver

Talon pointe anapeste.

Only good at that or nothing

I can’t swim can’t dance can’t drive

Even a small car

Can’t crochet can’t count can’t fight can’t fuck

I also don’t know how to eat or cook

(Gonna end up with egg on my face)

As for drinking hic hic haps and mishaps

Dying is impossible at the moment

I’m unable to play the flute or the violin as a hobby

To blow-dry my banged-up hair or blow the whistle

To talk at length

To wait a long time to expect even one child

Can’t even silence the rumour that is caught

In my seasonal leaves.


And if by chance my hand

Knew how to do something else

My mind would not be on it

It’s full of holes

Like a kitchen sieve

Sewing and eye of the needle

Then with my camel mood

Everything feels so hard

Especially paradise

Especially spaghetti

With tomato sauce

But having two left feet

Won’t prevent me from dancing

Heel-toe anapest.

Translated by Sabine Huynh


Valérie Rouzeau is a French poet and literary translator born in 1967 in Burgundy, France. She has published a dozen collections of poems, including Vrouz (Éditions La Table Ronde, Paris, 2012), that won the Prix Apollinaire in 2012. She holds an MA in Literary Translation from the University of Tours. She has published major translations of Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and William Carlos Williams. Some of her work has been translated into English by Susan Wicks, including a selection of poems from Vrouz (in Talking Vrouz, Arc Publications, 2013).

About the contributor

Sabine Huynh is a poet, novelist, essayist, critic and literary translator born in 1972 in Vietnam and based in Tel Aviv, Israel. She grew up in France and has lived in England, The United States, Canada and Israel. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has published a dozen books, and a dozen translations.

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