Having lived in Cuba for many years Portante is very much at home in Latin America, and a prominent translator of Latin American poetry. Politically, he remains a combative spokesman for the Left in his columns for Le Jeudi, and is highly regarded for his representation of Italian immigrant experience in Luxembourg as described in his autobiographically-inspired novel Mrs Haroy ou la mémoire de la baleine.
Rich in imagery, and addressing themes like memory and forgetting, Portante’s poetry moves discursively to a telling conclusion, which engages readers in whatever language they encounter him. The poems are presented in dual text.
Translated by Zoë Skoulding
“In reality, reality is ghosted by a multiplicity of forms of energy & energies of form it is the poet’s job to reveal & hide in the double play of his languages’ hide & seek. Jean Portante is a master at just that chassé-croisé of language & meaning, of real ghosts & ghostly realities. One ‘In Reality’ can (& does) hide another. Read on & in.”
– Pierre Joris