Pierre Joris, born in Strasbourg, France on July 14, 1946 and raised in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg, is a poet, translator, anthologist and essayist. He left Luxembourg at nineteen and since then has lived in the US, Great Britain, North Africa and France. In 1987 he returned to the U.S., first to upstate New York and then to the San Diego area as visiting poet & scholar at UCSD. In 1992 he returned to the Mid-Hudson valley & taught in the Department of English at University at Albany until 2013. He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY with his wife, performance artist Nicole Peyrafitte.
Poetry and translations
Joris has published over 20 books and chapbooks of his own poetry, among these :
- Breccia: Selected Poems 1972-1986 (Editions PHI / Station Hill)
- Poasis: Selected Poems 1986-1999 (Wesleyan University Press)
- h.j.r. (EarthWind Press, Ann Arbor)
- Winnetou Old (Meow Press, Buffalo, NY)
- Turbulence (St. Lazaire Press, Rhinebeck)
- Aljibar (PHI, 2007), a bilingual edition with French translations by Eric Sarner.
- Meditations on the Stations of Mansour Al-Hallaj (Anchorite Press)
- Aljibar II (PHI, 2008), again a bilingual edition with French translations by Eric Sarner.
- Learn The Shadow (UNIT4ART, 2012).
- Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (Chax Press, 2013).
He has also written and published many essays, introductions etc. gathered into two volumes with a third one projected for publication in 2015:
- A Nomad Poetics (Wesleyan University Press) 2003.
- Justifying the Margins: Essays 1990-2006 (Salt Publishing) 2009.
Joris has published a wide range of translations, both into English & into French, the most recent being :
- Exile is my Trade. A Habib Tengour Reader (Black Widow Press)
- 4x1: Translations of Tristan Tzara, Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey and Habib Tengour (Inconundrum Press)
- Abdelwahab Meddeb: Malady of Islam (Basic Books)
- Habib Tengour: Empedokles's Sandal (Duration Press)
- Also noteworthy are his translations of Maurice Blanchot's The Unavowable Community and Edmond Jabès's From the Desert to the Book (Station Hill Press).
- As well as his numerous translations from English into French: Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues, but also Carl Solomon, Gregory Corso, Pete Townshend, Julian Beck, Sam Shepard and most recently "Hydrogen Jukebox" by Allen Ginsberg (Libretto for 2009 French premiere of Phil Glass’ opera "Hydrogen Jukebox").
- In 2007 his CD Routes, Not Roots appeared, with Munir Beken (oud), Michael Bisio (bass), Ben Chadabe (percussion) & Mitch Elrod (guitar).
Joris has translated all the later poetry by Paul Celan into English (the first three volumes published by Green Integer and Sun&Moon Press); a "Selections" edition of Celan; and most recently his "Meridian" speech with materials:
- Lightduress (received the 2005 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation)(o.p.);
- Threadsuns; (o.p.);
- Breathturn (o.p.);
- Paul Celan: Selections;
- The Meridian: Final Version - Drafts - Materials (Standford University Press)
He has recently completed an annotated volume, Breathturn into Timsestead: The Complete Later Poetry of Paul Celan to be published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux in early 2015.
Collaborations with Jerome Rothenberg
With Jerome Rothenberg he has published a two-volume anthology of 20th Century Avant-Garde writings, Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, (University of California Press) the first volume of which received the 1996 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award.
Rothenberg's & Joris's previous collaboration, pppppp: Selected Writings of Kurt Schwitters (Temple University Press, 1993, reissued in 2002 by Exact Change) was awarded the 1994 PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Translation.
Rothenberg & Joris also co-edited & co-translated The Burial of the Count of Orgaz & Other Writings of Pablo Picasso (Exact Change, 2004).
Joris's first anthology was the bi-lingual Matières d'Angleterre. Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie anglaise, co-edited with Paul Buck. (Les Trois Cailloux, 1984). With Jean Portante he edited Poésie internationale in 1987.
Poems for the Millennium. The University of California Book of North African Poetry, edited by Joris and Habib Tengour was published in December 2012.
About Pierre Joris
An issue of Samizdat commemorates the Joris/Rothenberg collaboration with original work and translations by both poets, and essays and poems for and about the poets.
In 2011, Peter Cockelbergh edited a book on Joris entitled Pierre Joris--Cartographies of the In-between (Litteraria Pragensia Press), with essays by, among others, Mohammed Bennis, Charles Bernstein, Nicole Brossard, Clayton Eshleman, Allen Fisher, Christine Hume, Regina Keil-Sagawe, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jennifer Moxley, Carrie Noland, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff & Nicole Peyrafitte.
Performance art and collaboration
- dePLACEments (premiered from 27 June to 2 July 2005 at Cave Poésie, Toulouse, France);
- Manifesto&a (premiered in Luxembourg, July 1998);
- Riding The Lines, (European Tour summer 1997; New York City performance at the Here Inn, Dec 1997).
Other performances include:
- Domopoetics, a multimedia collaborative performance with Nicole Peyrafitte (since 2011).
- Pierre's Words (Toward an Opera), a collaboration with composer Joel Chadabe & the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Premiered May 3, 1997, The Egg, Albany);
- Frozen Shadows, a dance & reading performance based on Winnetou Old, choreographed by Ellen Sinopoli & danced by the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Union College, Schenectady, NY January 21, 1996 "The Egg," Albany, NY, April 12 & 13, 1995);
- This Morning (part of Music Juggle) a multimedia collaboration with composer Xavier Chabot (Premiered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY February 5, 1997. Chabot presented this work in Japan in late 1997.
- Nomadics: Joris's own weblog with links to other useful Joris sites
- Joris Homepage
- Rothenberg-Joris special issue of Samizdat
- Two Poems by Pierre Joris @ Melancholia's Tremulous Dreadlocks
- Pierre Joris on the book 'Heidegger and Fascism'
- Interview with Pierre Joris
- New Inquiry Interview