Poetry. Hybrid Genre. Environmental Studies. Translated from the French by Joshua Corey and Jean-Luc Garneau. "There is no escape from trees by means of trees." The ordinary objects to which Francis Ponge directs his attention—a tree, an oyster, a cigarette—come uncannily alive in his seminal first book of prose poems, newly translated by Joshua Corey and Jean-Luc Garneau. Published in 1942, as Ponge was enlisting in the Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France, these poems offer their own dryly humorous resistance to our tendency to take "things" for granted as either dead matter or as commodities for our disposal. Arch, alive, and unexpectedly profound, here is a new Ponge for the age of hyperobjects and the revenge of nature, a poet of the Anthropocene avant la lettre.
Francis Ponge (1899-1988) was born in Montpellier, France, and is most famously the author of The Voice of Things (1942), Soap (1967), and The Making of the Prairie (1971). During the Second World War, Ponge joined the French Resistance. He also worked for the National Committee of Journalists, and was literary and artistic director of the communist weekly newspaper L'Action. He famously countered Surrealism's fixation on "the marvelous" with a denuded objectivity, and went on to become one of the most influential French poets of the 20th Century. His 1942 book Le parti pris des choses is considered a literary classic. For the last 20 years of his life Ponge was reclusive, living at his country house in Le Bar-sur-Loup, where he died at the age of 89.Author City: Paris FRA