Synopses & Reviews
Blaise Cendrars was a pioneer of modernist literature. The full range of his poetryfrom classical rhymed alexandrines to "cubist" modernism, and from feverish, even visionary, depression to airy good humoroffers a challenge no translator has accepted until now.
Here, for the first time in English translation, is the complete poetry of a legendary twentieth-century French writer. Cendrars, born Frederick Louis Sauser in 1887, invented his life as well as his art. His adventures took him to Russia during the revolution of 1905 (where he traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railway), to New York in 1911, to the trenches of World War I (where he lost his right arm), to Brazil in the 1920s, to Hollywood in the 1930s, and back and forth across Europe.
With Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob he was a pioneer of modernist literature, working alongside artist friends such as Chagall, Delaunay, Modigliani, and Léger, composers Eric Satie and Darius Milhaud, and filmmaker Abel Gance. The range of Cendrars's poetryfrom classical rhymed alexandrines to "cubist" modernism, and from feverish, even visionary, depression to airy good humoroffers a challenge no translator has accepted until now.
From edition to edition, Cendrars tinkered with the stanza breaks and punctuation of some of his poems, and later on in life he didn't notice, or mind, minor inconsistencies. In this sense, there has never been a perfect, definitive collection of his complete poems in French. This translation follows the text of the 1947 edition of Cendrars Poesies Completes, which he felt to the most faithful to his idea of his complete poetry.
"At last! A superb translation of one of the great and greatly neglected Modernist poets! The map of Modernist poetry will never be quite the same."Marjorie Perloff
"Padgett's sparkling translations do marvelous justice to the eccentric and exciting poetry of Blaise Cendrars."John Ashbery
About the Author
Novelist, poet and essayist, Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961) was also a cineaste, juggler, translator, adventurer. Poet Ron Padgett has also translated works of Apollinaire and Duchamp. Jay Bochner is Professor of English Literature at the University of Montreal.