Alcools: Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire

By Guillaume Apollinaire

Alcools, first released in 1913 and one of many few necessary books of 20th- century poetry, offers a key to the century's historical past and awareness. Champion of "cubism", Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) models in verse the sonic similar of what Picasso accomplishes in his cubist works: simultaneity. Apollinaire has been so influential that with no him there could were no big apple tuition of poetry and no Beat stream. This new translation finds his complicated, appealing, and utterly modern poetry. published with the unique French on dealing with pages, this can be the single model of this seminal paintings of French Modernism at present on hand within the usa.

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Sample text

Thus is the hallucinatory atmosphere of what follows prefatorily prepared: In the bed made for me there were: a bruised animal tinged with blood, the size of a bun, a lead pipe, a gust of wind, an icy seashell, a spent cartridge, two fingers of a glove, an oil stain; there was no prison door, there was a bitter taste, a glazier’s diamond, a strand of hair, a day, a broken chair, a silkworm, the stolen object, an overcoat chain, a tame green fly, a branch of coral, a cobbler’s nail, a bus wheel.

Subject and poet are in collusion. The narrative gives the stone breaker’s point of view. In the first stanza “they” – those not of his world – are society’s lucky ones: the ones who have the soft life of sand and straw; the ones who feather their nests from “dovecotes”; who quench their thirst at will; who seduce powerless maidens; who brush over human suffering, from which they are spared. Their life contrasts with that of the “us” of stanza two. They are the ones who will fall prey to pulmonary disease, while the “others” argue within local councils, far from the site (and sight) of “ruined roads”.

Radically, it embraced crafts and the fine arts, notably architecture, with an overarching emphasis on design. 6 The expression comes from Moulin premier, aphorism XXXIV. 7 “L’Amour” (OC 12); “Tréma de l’émondeur” (OC 8). 12 Poetry is risk; it cuts through old poetic methods even as it pares and sculpts with sharply expressive power. In that respect the detail of Kandinsky’s engraving is both true to abstractionist methods he had long developed and in keeping with the poet’s style. The needle, the engraver’s tool, had etched out a worthy complement to Char’s keenly cast poems.

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