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Complete Poems
     

Complete Poems

by Blaise Cendrars, Ron Padgett (Translator), Jay Bochner (Illustrator)
 

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Blaise Cendrars was a pioneer of modernist literature. The full range of his poetry—from classical rhymed alexandrines to "cubist" modernism, and from feverish, even visionary, depression to airy good humor—offers a challenge no translator has accepted until now.

Here, for the first time in English translation, is the complete poetry of a legendary

Overview


Blaise Cendrars was a pioneer of modernist literature. The full range of his poetry—from classical rhymed alexandrines to "cubist" modernism, and from feverish, even visionary, depression to airy good humor—offers 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 poetry—from classical rhymed alexandrines to "cubist" modernism, and from feverish, even visionary, depression to airy good humor—offers a challenge no translator has accepted until now.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``It's as if the brushes and palette of a painter / Had used colors stunning as gongs. . . .'' Along with Apollinaire, the French writer Cendrars (1887-1961) virtually created the modernist poem in 1913. Born Frederick Louis Sauser, he counted as his friends in Paris Leger and Chagall when the great revolution in painting took place. By breaking lines of verse to emphasize the jaggedness of conversation, Cendrars and Apollinaire structured events and images in their poems to coexist simultaneously; they adapted colloquial language to the planes and multiple viewpoints of cubism. But this was not a modernism that sacrificed the human to the machine. In ``The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jeanne of France,'' Cendrars wrote of Paris: ``Great warm hearth with the intersecting embers of your streets and your old houses leaning over them for warmth / Like grandmothers.'' Nor was his process of composition like automatic writing. On Chagall: ``He takes a church and paints with a church / He takes a cow and paints with a cow.'' This volume, ably translated by poet Padgett, is the first to contain the all of the poet's work rendered in English. (May)
Library Journal
The poems in this collection were written between 1912 and 1924, after which Cendrars stopped writing poetry, and they have never been published in their entirety in French. The poet was born Frederic Louis Sauser in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and his pseudonym links writing with a conflagration, a ``burning in use.'' Cendrars's life at that time alternated between widespread travel and extensive work in libraries. ``Easter in New York'' portrays the dysfunctional nature of Christ's compassion in the modern world. With its rapid succession of contrasts, words, images, and moods, the train in ``The Prose of the Trans-Siberian''--often compared to Rimbaud's ``Drunken Boat''--becomes a metaphor for the whirling of the universe. Translator Padgett unpretentiously conveys the vivid sensuality emerging from the rich profusion of Cendrars's travel experiences. Good reading for all lovers of 20th-century French poetry.-- Bob Ivey, Memphis State Univ., Tenn.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520065802
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/30/1993
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

Related Subjects

Meet 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.

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