Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s translation day. This week’s selection is a poem by Philippe Soupault—the title poem from his 1926 collection, Georgia. Soupault was at the time a central figure in the Surrealist movement: he was a co-founder of the jornal Littérature, along with André Breton & Louis Aragon, & he co-authored Les champs magnétiques with Breton. Soupault later drifted away from the Surrealist movement, & devoted more time to journalism & novel writing. He was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II. After the war, Soupault emigrated to the United States, but he later returned to France, where he was awarded Le Grand Prix for literature in 1972.

Hope you enjoy this.


I don't sleep Georgia
I throw spears through the night Georgia
I'm waiting Georgia
I'm thinking Georgia
Fire is like snow Georgia
Night is the girl-next-door Georgia
I hear all noises no exceptions Georgia
I see the smoke rising and scattering Georgia
I prowl like a wolf through the shadows Georgia
I'm running here's a suburban street Georgia
Here's a town that's the same
and that's strange to me Georgia
I'm hurrying here's the wind Georgia
and the cold the silence and fear Georgia
I'm scattering Georgia
I'm running Georgia
the clouds are low they're going to fall Georgia
I open my arms Georgia
I don't close my eyes Georgia
I'm calling Georgia
I'm crying Georgia
I'm calling Georgia
I'm calling you Georgia
Won't you come Georgia
don't be long Georgia
Georgia Georgia Georgia
I'm not sleeping Georgia
I'm waiting

Philippe Soupault
translation © John Hayes 1990-2009


  1. Wow! Thank you, John. This is the first I've ever read of Soupault...and whomever, whatever or wherever Georgia was, Philippe seemed to never get enough...

    Crazy love.

    Peace - Rene

  2. Good morning Rene:

    That certainly seems true (the "never get enough part")! Glad you liked it.

  3. Hey, fellow beard man, I like this one.Never heard of the poet before which is good,always best trying something new.It's a great poem.The repetition of the name, 'Georgia' conveys a calamitous crescendo of manic desperation, that struck a terrifying chord with me.Nice one, John!

  4. Hi TFE:

    Yes, I think you're right--there is something a bit out-of-control & unsettling about this. Glad you liked it!

  5. familiar with breton, but not soupault, so thanks for the intro!!! have to see if youtube has any vid of him reading/performing - have to check it out

  6. A fine poem John. Is the "Georgia" of constant repetition the American painter Georgia O'Keeffe by any chance?

  7. Hi Mouse & Alan:

    Mouse: Glad you liked it, & happy to introduce you to M. Soupault!

    Alan: Interesting question, but I can't find any evidence of it. Looks like O'Keefe was in NY during this time & very much involved romantically with Steiglitz. I kind of suspect a pseudonym.


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