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Fortino Samano (The Overflowing of the Poem) co-translated by Cynthia Hogue and Sylvain GallasFortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem), by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy
Omnidawn, 2012
co-translated with Sylvain Gallais

Winner of the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets

Generating an exciting poetic dialogue that is as insightful as it is eloquent and creative, this combined poem and complementary philosophical analysis is an astute rendering of the intersection of intellect and language as an art form. With the original French preserved on the facing pages, this collaborative work by an emerging French poet, Virginie Lalucq, and the distinguished philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy presents a startlingly robust poetic experience. The serial poem “Fortino Sámano” is a meditation on a photo of the eponymous subject, taken by Mexican photographer Agustín Víctor Casasola during the Mexican Revolution. In the image Sámano, a Zapatista lieutenant and counterfeiter, appears to stare death nonchalantly in the face moments before his execution by firing squad. The poem makes no attempt to craft a biography or history of the man, but instead treats the image itself—reflecting on the fact that the camera caught the image of life just prior to its end. Jean-Luc Nancy contributes a series of commentaries on the poem, creating a philosophical contemplation of “Fortino Sámano” but also a poetic investigation of the lyric genre that works hand-in-hand with the poem itself. The inspiring union becomes an altogether unique poetic experience with an unmatchable depth and plenty to ruminate on during each subsequent re-reading of this delightful and impressive project.

Reviews of Fortino Sámano:

"In Review: Best Books of 2013." Selected by Amaranth Borsuk. The Volta (2013).

"Review: 'Fortino Sámano.'” Review by Scott Hightower. Fogged Clarity: An Arts Review (December 2013).

"The 2013 Academy of American Poets Prizes: What Poetry Can Do." Review by Barbara Hoffert. Library Journal (3 November 2013).

Review by Amaranth Borsuk. American Letters & Commentary 24 (2013).

"Fortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem) by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy." Review by Cole Swensen, Lana Turner 5 (2013).

“Overflowing Theories / Poetry’s Possibilities.” Review by Belle Gironda with Nicole Peyrafitte, Chant de la Sirene (7 June 2013).

“Review of Fortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem). Review in Poetry International (11 May 2013).

Fortino Sámano by Virginie Lalucq.” Review by Erica Mena, Alluringly Short (25 April 2013).

Updated: January 2, 2014