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Showing posts from August, 2010

Into the Deep Street

Into the Deep Street: Seven Modern French Poets 1938-2008. Edited and translated by Jennie Feldman and Stephen Romer. Anvil, 2009, 335 pp. 17.80 euro

with thanks to Poetry Ireland Review 101, where this piece first appeared.
How do you go about presenting a selection of French poets to an English-language readership? One method might be to try for a generous inclusivity, hospitable to the full range of what is on offer. Another might be to isolate a trend, a set of affinities between poets, and represent that. This anthology takes the second approach, bringing together Jean Follain, Henri Thomas, Philippe Jaccottet, Jacques Réda, Paul de Roux, Guy Goffette, and Gilles Ortlieb. The idea is that this is the line of Follain, a loose notion of elective affinity rather than a school or tradition. Follain’s brief, intense poems are a fixed point around which many of the poems here constellate themselves. The constituent parts of a Follain poem are concrete, material but they serve very …