Gérard Macé was born in Paris in 1946. He is a poet, essayist and translator. He published his first book Le jardin des langues in 1974 with Gallimard, at the age of 50. His work challenges the barriers between poetry and the essay. This play between and within genres is essential to his writing – which has been called essay merveilleux – and derives from a questioning of language in its broadest sense.
His Bloodaxe title Wood asleep / Bois dormant brings together three series of prose poems, Le Jardin des langues (1974), Le balcon de Babel (1977) and Bois dormant (1983). Other books by Macé have as their subject literary figures such as Rimbaud, Corbière, Nerval and Champollion, while Rome et le firmament and Leçon de chinois evoke places heavily charged with culture and history. Macé's other books include Vies antérieures (1991), which takes up the relationship between memory and writing, in the form of Lives (as in the Lives of saints or illustrious men), and La mémoire aime chasser dans le noir (1993), which develops his fascination with the image – the poetic image, dream image and photographic image.
David Kelley's translation of Leçon de chinois (1981), or Chinese Lesson, was published in The New French Poetry, edited by David Kelley and Jean Khalfa (Bloodaxe Books, 1996). Brian Evenson's translation of Le dernier des Égyptiens (1988) was published as The Last of the Egyptians by Burning Deck in 2011.
Gérard Macé received the Grand Prix de Poésie, given by the Académie Française for his life's work, in 2008.
Books by Gérard Macé