A photo of poet and translator Pierre Joris

Paul Grondahl Interviews Poet, Poetry Translator, and Essayist Pierre Joris


Recently Paul Grondahl from the New York State Writers Institute sat down (virtually) with the great Pierre Joris. Pierre and his wife Nicole Peyrafitte were heavily involved in the local Albany poetry scene for many years while Pierre was a professor at SUNY Albany.

Born on Bastille Day in 1946 in France and raised in Luxembourg, Pierre Joris has moved between the United States, Europe, and North Africa for 55 years. A noted poet, poetry translator, and essayist, Pierre Joris taught poetry and poetics at the University at Albany for 21 years before retiring in 2013.

The author, editor, and translator of more than 60 books, one of foremost translators of avant-garde poetry into both French and English. He was awarded a Berlin Prize fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin in 2003 and has been honored twice with the PEN Translation Prize.

In his most recently published book, Memory Rose into Threshold Speech (2020), Pierre translates the late poet Paul Celan’s first four books, written between 1952 and 1963, which established his reputation as the major post-World War II German-language poet. Memory Rose follows up on his 2014 work of translation, Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry, the 2015 National Translation Award winner in Poetry.

To read more about Pierre and for a poem, go to the NYSWI website.