Poetry. Translated from the French by John Taylor. In the field of contemporary French poetry, Jacques Dupin (b. 1927) is a leading figure in a remarkable generation that also includes Yves Bonnefoy (b. 1923), Philippe Jaccottet (b. 1925), Pierre-Albert Jourdan (1924-1981), André du Bouchet (1924-2001), and Pierre Chappuis (b. 1930)—to mention only these five poets whose poetics and subject matter are remotely comparable. However, in contrast to Bonnefoy and Jaccottet especially, Dupin's work has been little available in English. A single substantial volume, Selected Poems (Wake Forest University Press, 1992; translated by Paul Auster, Stephen Romer, and David Shapiro), collects early work, but none of the poet's recent verse has appeared in English-speaking countries. Two pioneering anthologies dating back some forty years, respectively to 1970 and 1973—the poems from Gravir (To Climb) in the seventh issue of Cronopios (to which six translators contributed) and the Fits and Starts: Selected Poems of Jacques Dupin rendered by Auster for the second number in the Living Hand Editions series—provide more access to Dupin's challenging oeuvre, yet several of those renderings were reprinted (sometimes with revisions) in the aforementioned Selected Poems. All told, these three initial gatherings have given a good look that can now be prolonged.
Author City: PARIS FRA
Born in 1927 in southern France (in the small town of Privas) and raised in northern France (in Saint-Quentin) as well, Jacques Dupin settled in Paris in 1944 and continues to live there. His first book, Cendrier du voyage (1950), was prefaced by René Char. By 1952, he had begun working for the magazine Cahiers d'Art. Soon the poet came into contact with numerous artists, including Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso, Victor Brauner, Wilfredo Lam, Alexander Calder, Jean Hélion, Georges Braque, Nicolas De Staël, Joan Miró, and Alberto Giacometti. From the 1950s to the present day, Dupin has been a major figure not only in French poetry but also in the contemporary art world, as a critic, expert (notably of Miró's painting), catalogue editor, exhibition organizer, and publisher (at the Éditions de la Galerie Maeght). Along with André du Bouchet, Yves Bonnefoy, Michel Leiris, Gaëtan Picon, Louis-René des Forêts, and Paul Celan, Dupin founded and edited the important review L'Éphémère, beginning in 1966. His poetic oeuvre is one of the most profound and challenging in contemporary French literature. Besides recent volumes published by the Éditions P.O.L., such as Écart (2000) and especially Coudrier (2006), which is translated here, two comprehensive Gallimard paperback collections, Le Corps clairvoyant (1999) and Ballast (2009), gather much of his earlier work. He was awarded the French National Poetry Prize in 1988, and the Grand Prix de Poésie (attributed by the French Academy) in 2010.
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