Yves Bonnefoy is probably the most prominent figure in the generation of French poets who came into public view following World War II. Dedicated to poetry more as a means of spiritual illumination than as a technique for creating artistic monuments, he uses what he conceives to be the brokenness and poverty of language to enable us to glimpse a wholeness lacking in our contemporary world. This excellent translation of Bonnefoy’s early poems represents an enormous contribution to contemporary poetry, serving as an introduction to the work of Bonnefoy for those unfamiliar with his poetry as well as further evidence of his mastery for those who know his work well.
Yves Bonnefoy has been recognized ever since the publication of his first book (Du mouvement et de l'immobilité de Douve, 1953) as one of the finest poets of his generation in France. In addition to five books of poetry, he has published works of personal and reflective prose, prose poems, essays in literary and art criticism, and translations of Shakespeare’s plays. In 1981 he became the first poet since Valéry to hold a chair at the Collège de France.
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