Skip to main content

Distributed for Seagull Books

The Anchor’s Long Chain

An experiment with the sonnet form by one of the foremost French poets of his generation.

Yves Bonnefoy has wowed the literary world for decades with his diffuse volumes. First published in France in 2008, The Anchors Long Chain is an indispensable addition to his oeuvre. Enriching Bonnefoy’s earlier work, the volume, translated by Beverley Bie Brahic, also innovates, including an unprecedented sequence of nineteen sonnets. These sonnets combine the strictness of the form with the freedom to vary line length and create evocative fragments. Compressed, emotionally powerful, and allusive, the poems are also autobiographical—but only in glimpses. Throughout, Bonnefoy conjures up life’s eternal questions with each new poem.

Longer, discursive pieces, including the title poem’s meditation on a prehistoric stone circle and a legend about a ship, are also part of this volume, as are a number of poetic prose pieces in which Bonnefoy, like several of his great French predecessors, excels. Long-time fans will find much to praise here, while newer readers will quickly find themselves under the spell of Bonnefoy’s powerful, discursive poetry.

112 pages | 5 1/2 x 7 3/4 | © 2015

The French List


Seagull Books image

View all books from Seagull Books


“There is a folkloric feel to this writing. As if life is a fairytale. The tone is theistic, and there’s always a narrative within the surreal. Yes, all this is Bonnefoy. His prose pieces are sharp and clear while there are transgressions folding dreams within reality.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

Table of Contents

Translator's Acknowledgements

The Disorder

The Anchor's Long Chain (Ales Stenar)


Child's Play

     Child's Play

     The Long Name

     The Trees

     Mouth Agape

     The Painter Whose Name is the Snow

The Divine Names

Passerby, Do You Want To Know?

Almost Nineteen Sonnets

    Tomb of L.-B. Alberti

    Tomb of Charles Baudelaire

    'Facesti come quei che va di notte...'

    The Mocking of Ceres

    The Tree on Rue Descartes

    The Invention of the Flute with Seven Pipes

    Tomb of Giacomo Leopardi

    Mahler, the Song of the Earth

    Tomb of Stéphane Mallarmé

    To the Author of 'The Night'

    San Giorgio Maggiore

    On Three Paintings by Poussin

    Ulysses Sails Past Ithaca

    San Biagio, at Montepulciano

    A God

    A Poet

    A Stone

    Tomb of Paul Verlaine

    One of Wordsworth's Childhood Memories

Remarks on the Horizon

On Leaving the Garden: A Variation

Another Variation


Center for the Art of Translation: Northern California Book Award in Translation

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press