In the early eighties, it was nearly impossible for French poets and readers to find out what was being written on the other side of the Atlantic by their contemporary American counterparts, and the work in translation that did reach them did so with a delay of one or even two generations.
Over the course of the decade, Emmanuel Hocquard set about reducing this generational delay by:
In 1989, with the support of the Centre National du Livre and the Centre de Poésie & Traduction at Fondation Royaumont, Emmanuel Hocquard founded a non-profit association called Un bureau sur l'Atlantique which, building on the work already accomplished, would continue to advance the knowledge of American poetry in French.
The Bureau's first act was to publish a second anthology of American poets, again chosen by Emmanuel Hocquard and Claude Royet-Journoud, 49+1 nouveaux poètes américains published by Éditions Royaumont.
Since 1989, Un bureau sur l'Atlantique has edited a series of books, published with Éditions Créaphis, by contemporary American poets in translation, focusing primarily on texts translated through Royaumont's collective translation seminars (list of books published since 1989).
The Bureau continues to program readings at Royaumont, Paris, and elsewhere in France. (American Poets Invited to France by Un bureau sur l'Atlantique & Other Events).
In 1993, with the support of Fondation Royaumont and that of association members, Un bureau sur l'Atlantique expanded by adding a new series called Format Américain, created and run by Juliette Valéry. Format Américain also publishes new translations of American poetry, but in a small format, chapbook series photocopied and available to the association members by subscription. Since it began, Format Américain has published 26 chapbooks, which, when taken as a whole represents an "in progress" anthology of more than 500 pages (Format Américain + Le «Gam»).
Initiated by the Bureau, the computer inventory of all the translations of contemporary American poetry in French since 1945 began in 1993 at the École Normale Supérieure in Fontenay-aux-Roses. This work continues, directed by Marc Chénetier. The inventory now contains more than 3000 entries; a CD-rom edition and a web-accessible version are now under consideration.
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