French-English dual language edition
René Char (1907-88) is one of the most important modern French poets. Admired by Heidegger for the profundity of his poetic philosophy, he was also a hero of the French Resistance and in the 1960s a militant anti-nuclear protester. Associated with the Surrealist movement for several years and a close friend of many painters – notably Braque, Giacometti and Picasso – he wrote poetry which miraculously, often challengingly, confronts the major 20th century moral, political and artistic concerns with a simplicity of vision and expression that owes much to the poet-philosophers of ancient Greece.
Les Matinaux (1947-49) is perhaps his greatest collection. Published after the War, it looks forward to a better and freer world, whilst also bearing the marks of a deep-seated hatred of all fascisms. It includes some of the most beautiful love poems ever written in French. Michael Worton’s translations convey the essence of Char’s poetry (which says difficult things in a simple, traditional way), and his introduction suggests why Char is one of the vital voices of our age.
Bloodaxe Contemporary French Poets: 2