Born in 1946 in Strasbourg, France, raised in Luxembourg, Pierre Joris has moved between the US, Europe & North Africa for 50 years, publishing close to 50 books of poetry & essays, translations & anthologies. In 1992 he returned to the Mid-Hudson valley & where he taught poetry & poetics at the State University of New York, Albany until his retirement in 2013. He lives with his wife, the performance artist and singer Nicole Peyrafitte, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn since 2008.
Just out are Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press and Diwan Iffrikya: The University of California Book of North African Literature, co-edited with Habib Tengour from the University of California Press. Recent publications include Cartographies of the In-between: The Poetry & Poetics of Pierre Joris, edited by Peter Cockelbergh, with essays by, among others, Mohamed 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 (Literaria Pragensia, Charles University, Prague, 2011). Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited, introduced and translated by Joris came out in early 2012 from Black Widow Press.
Forthcoming in 2014 is Barzakh: Poems 2000-2012 from Black Widow Press and Breathturn into Timestead: The Complete Later Poetry of Paul Celan, translated & annotated by Pierre Joris, from Farrar, Staruss, Giroux. Other Recent publications include The Meridian: Final Version—Drafts—Materials by Paul Celan (Stanford U.P. 2011) which was awarded the 2012 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work & Justifying the Margins: Essays 1990-2006 which came out in 2009 (SALT Publishers.)
He has also published a range of translations, both into English & into French, the most recent being Paul Celan : Selections 4×1: Translations of Tristan Tzara, Rilke, Jean-Pierre Duprey & Habib Tengour, and Habib Tengour’s Empedokles’s Sandal. He has also translated Paul Celan’s 3 volumes Lightduress (for which he received the 2005 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation), Threadsuns and Breathturn, Abdelwahab Meddeb’s The Malady of Islam, Maurice Blanchot’s The Unavowable Community & Edmond Jabès From the Desert to the Book.
With Jerome Rothenberg he has co-edited a two volume anthology of 20th Century Avant-Garde writings, Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry, the first volume of which received the 1996 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. Rothenberg’s & Joris’s previous collaboration pppppp: Selected Writings of Kurt Schwitters was awarded the 1994 PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Translation. Rothenberg & Joris recently co-edited & co-translated The Burial of the Count of Orgaz & Other Writings of Pablo Picasso.
As reader & performance artist, work with performance artist / singer / painter Nicole Peyrafitte includes a range of collaborations such as “dePLACEments” (premiered at Cave Poèsie, Toulouse, France); “Manifesto&a” (premiered in Luxembourg); “Riding The Lines,” (New York City performance at the Here Inn); other performances include “Pierre’s Words (Toward an Opera),” a collaboration with composer Joel Chadabe & the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Premiered at 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; “The Egg,” Albany, NY); and “This Morning” (part of Music Juggle) a multimedia collaboration with composer Joel Chadabe & the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (Premiered at 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; “The Egg,” Albany, NY); and “This Morning” (part of Music Juggle) a multimedia collaboration with composer Xavier Chabot.
*The above biography is reprinted from the author’s excellent website. Photo by Joseph Mastantuono. Skylight Press will soon be reissuing Breccia: Selected Poems 1972-1986, which was first published by Station Hill/Guernica but has been out-of-print for some time.