May 23, 2023

Sandra Moussempès (France) 1965

Sandra Moussempès (France)

Sandra Moussempès was born in Paris in 1965. Her first book, Exercices d'incendie was published by Fourbis in 1994, and three years later the prestigious French publisher Flammarion published her second collection, Vestiges de fillette. Since that time, she has published eight further titles.

     Moussempès was a resident at the Villa Médicis of the Academy of France in Rome in 1996, and in 1999 was awarded the Villa Kujoyama residence. She has received several grants from the Centre National du Livre for residences in France and aboard.
    Her work has appeared in several anthologies. And she translated several poets from the United States, including Kristin Prevallet, Serge Gavronsky, Lee-Ann Brown, and Carolyn Drucker.
      Moussempès works as a creative writing teacher in a Paris high school and sings with several Paris- and London-based bands.
      More recently several of her books have been awarded major literary prizes.


Exercices d'incendie (Paris: Fourbis, 1994); Vestiges de fillette (Paris: Flammarion, 1997); Hors Champs (Besançon: CRL Franche conté, 2001); Captures (Paris, Flammarion, 2004); Le seul jardin japonais à portée de vue (Bordeaux: L'Attente, 2005); Biographie des idylles (Bordeau: L'Attente, 2008); Photogénie des ombres peintes (Paris: Flammarion, 2009); Acrobaties dessinées (Éditions de l'Attente, 2012); Sunny girls (Paris: Éditions Poésie/Flammarion, 2015); Cassandre à bout portant (Paris: Editions Poésie/Flammarion, 2021)


Sunny girls (selections), trans. by by Eléna Rivera (Ottawa: AboveGround Press, 2017) 

Author statement in French:

Je travaille sur la surface et les interactions internes des "apparences" en tentant d'exprimer (intonation/détonation) la face cachée des événements retracés. Entrer au plus près du langage formel et de l'intime (le contenant nécessitant un contenu) dans les diversions scéniques d'une "cosmétologie" du miroir. Je travaille sur la surface et les interactions internes des "apparences" en tentant d'exprimer (intonation/détonation) la face cachée des événements retracés. J'écris par fragments en tentant de décaler les imageries "conventionnelles" notamment les clichés autour de la féminité ou d'un environnement inquiétant. De déchiffrer les codes mentaux qui nous entourent en accueillant des matériaux syntaxiques et sensoriels qui me semblent indéfinissables par essence mais non dénués de beauté. L 'étrange est pour moi une forme d' arrangement entre les diffractions/effractions du mouvement & de la lanque. Une solution peut-être au vacarme consensuel."

The Enraptured

(Stills: decoction/invitation/puzzle/heart spirit)

/situated in the basement

—for him all eviction remains artificial

the house bears
its deficiencies

(vapor on the windowpane)

hides a bend

/coming in the night: this night, the act and the audience more than ever
leaves, clusters of life, emptied pumpkins
point of the first step under the arch
# fear

/the man remained sitting for hours in the penumbra
at night, the door stays open, easy to reach to puncture the tube
already long and silent
assembles the infiltrated water
since the eddies of the bathroom

/common extension
of the grand ball with no guests
the shadows thrash about
this red of the Basque country, this anvil red
& the thousand rooms
the apartment too in this case why not all recollections
not in accordance with regulations

/there was this chill, more than anywhere else and no reason for it
a sharp peculiar smell
the noise in the attic
an altogether unpleasant combustion
all that in front
and in the interior, that which no longer opens since some of the luster holds
the whole family, the joy, the hidden efforts, the academics’ summers,
the mixing of types (coming from everywhere to live intensely …), the
suckling pig or the dismounting of hierarchies


even though it might seem strange to think
one will search amid the virtues, that physiology of the spirit
a substance porous to one’s liking
—care shimmering from lips, a small upturned nose, overly delicate hair,
vigorous body in the prime of life—
seeing that, feminine strength or no
the being is suspicious, restrains muscles and freak events
applies itself to the contusion of foreign bodies
—that inject themselves—


entirely light and hidden outside the game
not to become that other that dogs assault on the road
the knife will serve me as a major
because a raptor arrived at the wrong time
from the wrong side
I run to the infirmary (through a long passage)
“is it the bird?”
I hear the first shots
end of the match, in three remissions:
the creaking of the door, of the green elementary school blackboard,
the little cage fastened to the radiator
freezing requires similar plans of departure
for this operation it will be necessary to take off from the eXemplorary world
entrust ones task to professors of instrumentalism
(diverging from their original form)
then, they will excel
in the methodical art of extracting vital substances from
each organ in action
for the snare to close itself and resolve
the enigma of the intrusion


my skin is light
the 2 sexes
obscure the surface of water

; I draw near to the one who fades gradually from the screen
he makes me nervous, tense, the impregnable point of view that
defies all mirages
; I inhale his lips and mine go up in smoke
I look at the skin on his stomach, the back: a tough armature
; the screen detaches, the reptile insect crosses the membrane
(I wonder if he can bear my density)


“you explore your body”
as we allow oneself the right to think
they felt the immense loss of time at each border
but more than a heavy silhouette, the voice curbed all her decisions
to live here or elsewhere on the outskirts of a city in the space of a construction site
along the trajectory or under a clement sky

-Translated from the French by Elena Rivera

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