When the Time Comes: A Selection of
Contemporary Belgian Prose Poetry

edited by Gian Lombardo

ISBN: 0-9700663-2-5
Perfect Bound, $12.00
Publication Date: 2001
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 68 pages
(ISSN: 1527-9579, Volume 2, Numbers 1-4)

Individuals: Order directly from Small Press Distribution,
1-800-869-7553 ; or Amazon.com.

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When the Time Comes: A Selection of Contemporary Belgian Prose Poetry, edited by Gian Lombardo, is part of Quale Press’s edition key satch(el) series of publications of prose poetry. It features the work of nine poets, translated from the French and Flemish. Many of these poets appear here in English for the first time. Included are works by Michel Delville, Gaspard Hons, Karel Logist, Leonard Nolens, Carl Norac, Hughes C. Pernath, Eugène Savitzkaya, Erik Spinoy, and Dirk van Bastalaere.

Translators are Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno, Nicholas Altenbernd, Patricia Pruitt and Gian Lombardo.

From When the Time Comes...

by Carl Norac

I don’t need words. They impose themselves on me, like those inopportune friends who squeak in their chairs and hang around for dinner, indifferent to your fasting. Bad company, they banter among themselves for being as trivial as a gaze on a deep wound. The poem allows me to see them home occasionally with tender politeness, often with savage precision. One wave of the hand is enough to scatter them.

Translated from the French by Patricia Pruitt

[from] Fragments in Defeat
by Hughes C. Pernath

Quivering, I am at last the pain that shares days, and seeks to find a poisonous sea. Her gloomy aspect within.

Seldom did I remain private under arms. My passionate need in the face of the legacy of uncertainty, truth unperturbed in the vault of space. Suddenly from helplessness and love, the uncommon beauty of my hate.

Translated from the Flemish by Nicholas Altenbernd

by Dirk van Bastelaere

From its immense yellowness the sunflower looks down upon your soft passing by. The thing that imagined itself happening alongside what was already going on, now, for no apparent reason, manifests itself. Humming you think: it is something that adds itself on, but was already there. For Vera, who violently shakes her red hair before her covered face and it flows and flows over her black suit, this is the moment. Also for someone standing in the middle of the garden swinging a zinc bucket in a circle and the water stays inside.

Those are moments of lynx-time. His appearing is unanticipated, lynx, if not capricious. His wondrous, flickering ears focus our attention wholly into the moment of time before we breathe again. First known is the unknown when it as unknown becomes known.

At least, this is what it says to us about the ordering of words, something like the little cloud of thought that deserts us as it speaks in us.

Translated from the Flemish by Nicholas Altenbernd

Story of a Presence
by Michel Delville

The eye doesn’t see beyond sky. What remains is only a gesture, a palm waving. You already begin to think of something else. An itch rears its head, weak at first and not very well defined. Soon, it becomes more tenacious and insistent until it is impossible to fight, like trying to ignore the heated and troubling voices that seem to issue from somewhere else and whose twisted echoes gently reach you before getting tangled in the damp dark. Initial fears gone, you conclude by seizing it, by caressing it to better domesticate it, by understanding that its source, even though it’s unknown, is lost in an incomplete effort that carries the signs “of our insuppressible hope.” You even surprise yourself predicting the limits and contours of its countless divagations and airs.

Translated from the French by Gian Lombardo

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