UPCOMING TITLE

SCRIPTA HUMANISTICA #180

DIALOGUES DES LIBELLULES: DIALOGUES OF THE DRAGONFLIES

by

Mechthild Cranston

(with illustrations by Olga Pastuchiv)

ISBN-10: 188252831X        73 pp.        $39.95     

 

The present work, Dialogues des Libellules/Dialogues of the Dragonflies, is a revelatory collection of modern French poetry.  Each composition is accompanied by a corresponding English translation, and interspersed with the verses are illustrations of the subject dragonflies by Olga Pastuchiv – which, together with a sampling of photographs, invoke warmth and serenity.

 

As described by the renowned author Mechthild Cranston, the work had its genesis in the room of a serene, tiny seafront home in September 2014.  A warm, placid afternoon, that had until that point been filled with ordinary human conversations in French and English, was suddenly interrupted by a sound both rich and strange.  The author reacted with a mix of wonderment and fear, ultimately discovering that the high-pitched cacophony was caused by the wings of a dragonfly in distress – the insect having found its way in to the home through an open window and winding up stranded on the sunbathed tiles of the living room floor, only to be rescued in short order by the author.

 

The readers of Dialogues des Libellules/Dialogues of the Dragonflies may see or seek here the empty spaces of our present lives, threatened by hidden viruses and manifest violence – but with the knowledge that peace and safety are within reach.  The subject dragonflies are visible companions to, and carriers of, the unspoken dialogues within: mere noise, until helped to safety by the attentive ear and willing hand.

 

Often spoken by or about children, these Dialogues des Libellules, incorporating man and woman, ram and  bélier, crow and sparrow, old men with canes, and dancing insects in high heels, live outside any specified time or place in the interior spaces of memory,  guardians of what Roger Asselineau once called the essence of all true poetry that resides, beyond words, in the "frémissement synchrone dont les ondes se propagent à jamais au bout de nous-mêmes et du monde."

 

Something rich and strange.  The sound of wings and waves, broken. Perhaps all poems are, in a sense, rescue operations?

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