Complete Poems

Overview

Blaise Crars 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 legary twentieth-century French writer. Crars, born Frederick Louis Sauser in 1887, invented his life as well as his art. His adventures took him to Russia during the revolution of...
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Overview

Blaise Crars 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 legary twentieth-century French writer. Crars, 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 fris such as Chagall, Delaunay, Modigliani, and Légender, composers Eric Satie and Darius Milhaud, and filmmaker Abel Gance. The range of Crars'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.
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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.
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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)

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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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface
Introduction
Easter in New York 1
The Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jeanne of France 13
Panama, or the Adventures of My Seven Uncles 31
Nineteen Elastic Poems 51
The War in the Luxembourg 81
Unnatural Sonnets 87
Black African Poems 93
Kodak (Documentary) 99
Travel Notes 137
South American Women 201
Various Poems 207
To the Heart of the World 215
Poesies Completes (French text) 229
Translators Notes on the Poems 355
Select Bibliography 383
Index of English Titles 385
Index of French Titles 389
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