Synopses & Reviews
Baudelaire laid the foundations for prose poetry as a genre in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the avant garde movement in the first half of the 20th century that the prose poem began a widespread emergence on the international scene. The three poets in this volume were major factors in this emergence. Max Jacob (1876–1944), a writer of surrealist cubist fables; Francis Ponge (1899–1988), a master of the language of things; and Jean Follain (1903–1971), who merged the everyday with the historical to create a world rich in anniversaries, lead us to the strong and growing interest in the genre that we find so prevalent at the beginning of the 21st century.
Poetry. The invention of the prose poem was not quite in the hands of these French avant-gardistes; but it was still a recent event when they came to it, each in turn. All three were marked by surrealism, even when rejecting it. For all three, prose is a vehicle for poetry's turn away from itself; a turn that can be comic (Jacob), aesthetic (Ponge) or ironic (Follain). Translated by Beth Archer Brombert, Mary Feeney, Louise Guiney, William T. Kulik and William Matthews, with an introduction by Peter Johnson.
Which of us...has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhyme...supple...rugged...?--Baudelaire
Table of Contents
The prose poetry of Max Jabob, Francis Ponge, and Jean Follain / Peter Johnson -- Max Jacob, 1876-1944 / translated and with an introduction by William T. Kulik -- Francis Ponge, 1899-1988 / translated and with an introduction by Beth Archer Brombert -- Jean Follain, 1893-1971 / Introduction by Mary Feeney -- Canisy / translated by Louise Guney -- A world rich in anniversaries / translated by Mary Feeney and William Matthews.