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The Shape of a City Changes Faster, Alas, than the Human Heart
     

The Shape of a City Changes Faster, Alas, than the Human Heart

by Jacques Roubaud, Keith Waldrop (Translator), Rosmarie Waldrop (Translator)
 

Composed of 150 poems, with a title taken from Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, and partly a response to the poetry of Raymond Queneau, this collection explores Jacques Roubaud's many poetic modes. He skips from the strict form of the sonnet to the freedom of prose poetry without abandoning the melancholy playfulness that has defined his lengthy

Overview

Composed of 150 poems, with a title taken from Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, and partly a response to the poetry of Raymond Queneau, this collection explores Jacques Roubaud's many poetic modes. He skips from the strict form of the sonnet to the freedom of prose poetry without abandoning the melancholy playfulness that has defined his lengthy writing career.

A selection of Roubaud's best recent work, The Form of a City describes not only Paris, but also its people, its writers (and those of the Oulipo in particular), its monumental past, and its unsteady response to change.

Dalkey Archive Press

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this hefty collection, renowned octogenarian novelist and poet Roubaud sets about capturing the city of Paris through a catalogue and discussion of its history, literature, landmarks and streets. Roubaud is a member of the Oulipo group of experimental writers, whose members have included Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino. The best of these poems breathe new life into this storied city. Roubaud's memorable description of the Eiffel Tower revivifies the cliched landmark: "A dense crowd amble in the area your four legs straddle/ and gawk up at your nether parts... children are not banned and will go back directly to our countryside and dream, perverted ever after." Notable, too, are the "Six Little Logical Pieces": "-But I'd like/ to think truth/ here and now/ not think of anything/ in this floating world/ this fallible world/ this rotten plank of a world." At times, this detailing of the minutiae of Paris falls flat, as in the poem "License Portrait of Paris 1992," quite literally a list of Paris license plates-though preserving the city in this manner is perhaps part of the point. A thoughtful appendix of notes clarifies references and connections to French literature throughout. (July 18) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564783837
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
05/01/2006
Series:
French Literature Series
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jacques Roubaud, born in 1932, has been a professor of mathematics at the University of Paris X Nanterre. He is one of the most accomplished members of the Oulipo, the workshop for experimental literature founded by Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais. He is the author of numerous books of prose, theatre and poetry.

Keith Waldrop, Brooke Russell Astor Professor of Humanities at Brown University, has published more than a dozen works each of original poetry and translations. His first book, A Windmill Near Calvary, was shortlisted for the 1968 National Book Award. Other books include The Real Subject: Queries and Conjectures of Jacob Delafon, with Sample Poems, The House Seen from Nowhere, and a translation of The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire.

Rosmarie Waldrop was born in Germany and has lived in the
United States since 1958. The author and translator of dozens of books of poetry, fiction, and criticism, she is the co-founder and co-
publisher of Burning Deck Press.
Waldrop’s many honors include being named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, fellowships from the
NEA, the Fund for Poetry, and the
Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. In 2006 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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