Sunday, 12 April 2015

Les Pensees - Lucienne Hollard McKay. translated by Lillian Polk

Published; February 5th, Victory Publishing

Source; Review copy kindly provided by Netgalley

My Rating; 4 out of 5 stars

The Set Up;

Lucienne Hollard had known the mighty and the lowly, she had enjoyed the society of the famous, and she had worked closely with the nameless ones of the French Underground in World War II. Everywhere her life took her, she remained a dauntless spirit with an unbounded verve for the things that happen.
Over a period of years in her too-short lifetime, she transcribed many of her thoughts into words.  Pain and gaiety, fantasy and delight and ecstasy; daydreams commingle with reality, life and death are interwoven, and always there is an ethereal beauty—even in the midst of tragedy. Most of all they are intensely personal, set down in the author’s native French, never intended for publication.
Now, in her memory, her husband has collected more than fifty of these poems.  Lilian Polk, in dedicated friendship, has thoughtfully translated these pieces into English for those unfamiliar with the French tongue. Side by side with the translations appear the words in which they were created.


This will be a brief review as the author has really said all there is to say. These poems are delicate and beautiful but still shimmer with a shining inner strength. There is a deep love for things of the natural world here as well as an ability to recognize and reverence the small miracles of the seemingly mundane. The lines are spare and simple but encapsulate the truth of pure emotion like moths in a web. Really beautifully done, and, if you read French, it is a treat to have the originals to compare with the translations, although Polk has done a remarkable job of capturing the nuances. A lovely collection that evokes hope and rest.

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