Radical poetry in France today

This video in French is called La poésie c’est ma petite amie.

From British daily The Morning Star:


(Tuesday 03 July 2007)


RADICAL FRENCH POETRY: When the Metro is free


In May 1968, one of the demands of the striking French students was that the Paris Metro should be free. “Be realistic,” ran another slogan, “demand the impossible.”

If such utopianism sounds touchingly innocent today, it is a measure of how far the imagination has surrendered to the impossible conditions of “the real.”

When the Metro is Free is a new anthology of counter-cultural poetry from contemporary France. It is a great introduction to modern, radical French poetry. People who want some relief from the inwardness of British writing should enjoy it.

These are sketches from the Left Bank of the contemporary imagination, postcards from France’s literary counter-culture, poems snatched from the maelstrom of the contemporary. They are urban, urgent and vital, engaging with daily life and with the struggle to humanise it, representing the work of a group of poets gathered around the radical poetry publisher Le Temps des Cerises.

Edited by the British poet Alan Dent, it includes work by Francis Combes, Francoise Coulmin, Jacques Gaucheron, Gerard Noiret, David Dumortier, Veronique Vassiliou and Laure Limongi.

For Dent, these poets are the descendants of Apollinaire and Prévert, inheritors of the bohemian tradition of questioning everything, bearers of Marx‘s idea that nothing human can be alien to us.

This June Smokestack Books is publishing the first English translation (by Alan Dent) of Cause Commune, a verse epic by the distinguished French communist poet Francis Combes, with a new introduction by John Berger: here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.