Last Verses

Last Verses

by Jules Laforgue
     
 


Poetry. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the French by Donald Revell. The LAST VERSES of Jules Laforgue is the first full-length collection of free verse published in the French language and, in many ways, it remains far in advance of any free verse innovations conjured in the past one hundred years and more. Laforgue, in his famous Complaints,was a…  See more details below

Overview


Poetry. Bilingual Edition. Translated from the French by Donald Revell. The LAST VERSES of Jules Laforgue is the first full-length collection of free verse published in the French language and, in many ways, it remains far in advance of any free verse innovations conjured in the past one hundred years and more. Laforgue, in his famous Complaints,was a profound influence upon such Modernist poets as Eliot and Pound. Yet in his LAST VERSES he set a precedent which no one as yet has managed to emulate or to advance. Why should this be? Simply put, LAST VERSES does not reject poetic formalism but, rather, projects it into uncharted and unvoiced regions of spiritual and sexual extremity. The freedom of these poems rests entirely in the purity of their despair, a purity not to be measured by any extant means. This music is made by no instrument but itself. This music is made on the farther shore of death.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Laforgue (1860-1887) will never command the name recognition of Baudelaire or Rimbaud, but he stands just one step below those giants in his importance to European letters: T.S. Eliot said that he found his own style through youthful devotion to the tormented Laforgue, whose self-dramatizing, sometimes self-satirizing, odes and effusions brought free verse to France. Torment takes control in this volatile suite, composed in the last years of the tubercular poet’s short life: exclamations reflect an obsessive lover, one who attributes his “simple agony” sometimes to the conditions of all existence, sometimes to romantic folly and self-doubt: “The world is the World, okay,” he resolves; “I’ll make a poisonous world of my own,” with “Every holiday/ An inquest and autopsy!” In the poem after that one Laforgue imagines himself as a satisfied dandy, “sprawled atop a stagecoach, smoking,/ Grinning at the sky.” A few pages later, though, he falls back into despair: “If only of her own free will one evening/ She’d come to drink at my lips or die!” Laforgue’s extremes come off superbly, neither too familiar nor antique, in the clean lines of Revell, admired for his own poetry as well as for other translations, including Rimbaud—whose fans should check Laforgue out ASAP. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"This is an outstanding translation. Revell renders the French in just the right idiomatic language." —Marjorie Perloff on The Self-Dismembered Man and Alcools: Poems

"Contemporary poet Donald Revell gives us a vivid and vibrant interpretation of Apollinaire's masterpiece." —Virginia Quarterly Review on The Self-Dismembered Man and Alcools: Poems

"Woe to those readers who are doomed to read Rimbaud only in French, for in addition to giving us a bracing translation of Une Saison En Enfer, Donald Revell has given birth to a great poem." —James Longenbach on A Season in Hell

"He brings to his Rimbaldian projects an enviable range of knowledge, as well as a warm attachment to the work and a strong technique." —Fred Chappell, Asheville Poetry Review v.17 #1 on A Season in Hell

"[Last Verses] provides a new translation of what many consider the first free verse poetry in French, rendered beautifully by American poet and translator Revell." —Publishers Weekly (June 27, 2011)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890650544
Publisher:
Omnidawn Publishing
Publication date:
09/01/2011
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author


Lyrical and scathingly pessimistic, Uruguay-born French poet Jules Laforgue offered an urgent tone of despair and fatalism, often rendered with playfully provocative and cynical humor. In 1918 Ezra Pound said of him, "He is an exquisite poet, a deliverer of nations...a father of light." Among the most innovative of poets in the French language and a pioneer in the use of free verse, Laforgue was an important influence on the young T. S. Eliot. Notable also for his early protests for the liberation of women, Laforgue died in Paris in 1887 aged just 27.

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