With drawings by Pablo Picasso
Jean Tardieu’s poetry has an almost child-like simplicity, and in France his work is studied both in universities and in primary schools. Yet while he is a household name in France and has been translated into most European languages, his poetry remains little known in the English-speaking world, despite its immediacy and sense of fun.
Tardieu is a writer of enormous range, and his poetry addresses problems of experience and language central to modern literature, bringing lively wit and humour to bear upon an anguished interrogation of the world. His father was a successful painter and his mother an accomplished musician, and his fascination with the art of the writer on the one hand, and paintings and music on the other, is another constant presence in his work.
Tardieu was born in 1903, and this selection spans 80 years of his writing. In his early years the difﬁculties of writing lyric poetry in a schizophrenic age led him to a multiplication of poetic voices, and so to working for the stage, and he was writing what was subsequently dubbed Theatre of the Absurd before Beckett’s and Ionesco’s plays had ever been performed in public. He died in 1995.
This selection includes the sequence Space and the Flute (1958), which Tardieu wrote for drawings by his friend Pablo Picasso. Their poems and drawings are reproduced together in this edition.
Dual language French-English edition.
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