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The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation

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First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets -- among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she says, by reading this book. The poetic and cultural tradition forged by the Symbolist poets -- Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appollinaire, and others First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets -- among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she says, by reading this book. The poetic and cultural tradition forged by the Symbolist poets -- Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appollinaire, and others -- reverberated throughout the avant garde and counter-cultures of the twentieth century. Modernism, surrealism, abstract impressionism, and the Beat movement are unthinkable without the example of these poets and their theories of art, making this reissue possibly the hippest "dead white European male" anthology ever published.Including translations by Richmond Lattimore, W. S. Merwin, Dudley Fitts, and Richard Wilbur, this anthology has stood the test of time in terms of its selection and scholarly apparatus. Now back in print after twenty years in a fresh new edition, the book features an introduction by Patti Smith that testifies to its epochal impact on her own career, as well as those of other influential latter-day poets, including Lou Reed and Jim Carroll. This rediscovered gem is sure to inspire a new generation.


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First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets -- among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she says, by reading this book. The poetic and cultural tradition forged by the Symbolist poets -- Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appollinaire, and others First published in 1958, this collection introduced an indispensible corpus of western poetry to countless American college students, francophiles, and would-be poets -- among them Patti Smith, whose vocation was formed she says, by reading this book. The poetic and cultural tradition forged by the Symbolist poets -- Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Appollinaire, and others -- reverberated throughout the avant garde and counter-cultures of the twentieth century. Modernism, surrealism, abstract impressionism, and the Beat movement are unthinkable without the example of these poets and their theories of art, making this reissue possibly the hippest "dead white European male" anthology ever published.Including translations by Richmond Lattimore, W. S. Merwin, Dudley Fitts, and Richard Wilbur, this anthology has stood the test of time in terms of its selection and scholarly apparatus. Now back in print after twenty years in a fresh new edition, the book features an introduction by Patti Smith that testifies to its epochal impact on her own career, as well as those of other influential latter-day poets, including Lou Reed and Jim Carroll. This rediscovered gem is sure to inspire a new generation.

30 review for The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry: From Nerval to Valery in English Translation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex O'Brien

    Last December I read Bob Dylan's Lyrics: 1962-2001. While researching his work, I was reminded that Bob had been influenced by the French Symbolist and Surrealist poets. The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry was a recommended book on Dylan's website. So I asked for the book for Christmas and when it arrived learned via the introduction that this book had profoundly inspired Patti Smith-she found a copy in her younger days, 'borrowed it,' and the book became her 'Bible.' I can see why! I have not Last December I read Bob Dylan's Lyrics: 1962-2001. While researching his work, I was reminded that Bob had been influenced by the French Symbolist and Surrealist poets. The Anchor Anthology of French Poetry was a recommended book on Dylan's website. So I asked for the book for Christmas and when it arrived learned via the introduction that this book had profoundly inspired Patti Smith-she found a copy in her younger days, 'borrowed it,' and the book became her 'Bible.' I can see why! I have not been so inspired by a book of poetry or school of poetry since first discovering the Romantics, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, and the Beats. The editor, Angel Flores, chooses well--these poems are transcendent. Several of my favourites are: Golden Verses by Nerval, The Cracked Bell and The Voyage by Baudelaire, The Art of Poetry by Verlaine, The Drunken Boat and The Alchemy of Words by Rimbaud, The Azure and A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance by Mallarme, Winter Sunset and Twilight by Larforgue, I Had the Courage, Vendemiaire, and Hills by Apollinaire, and The Cemetery by the Sea by Valery. If you enjoy poetry, I highly recommend this collection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    The title of this anthology, which is edited by Angel Flores, might give you the impression that this is an all-inclusive survey of every era, school, and movement of French poetry. That would be a gross misconception: in the introductory essays that precede each section of this book, Flores flaunts his ample scorn for the French Romanticism of Victor Hugo (which he calls "banal," "sentimental," "anti-intellectual," etc.) at the same time that he thoroughly ignores the Surrealism of Paul Eluard The title of this anthology, which is edited by Angel Flores, might give you the impression that this is an all-inclusive survey of every era, school, and movement of French poetry. That would be a gross misconception: in the introductory essays that precede each section of this book, Flores flaunts his ample scorn for the French Romanticism of Victor Hugo (which he calls "banal," "sentimental," "anti-intellectual," etc.) at the same time that he thoroughly ignores the Surrealism of Paul Eluard and Rene Char. Instead of an objective survey of the whole of French poetry, what Flores has produced is a deep and passionate examination of the oeuvres of a small handful of French poets, most of whom belonged to the literary movement known as Symbolism. Like Harold Bloom, Flores displays a keen interest in the intellectual parlor game of who-influenced-whom, and the poems he has selected for inclusion elucidate these chains of influence: for example, the reader is shown how Baudelaire influenced Mallarme, and how Mallarme in turn influenced Valery. This book encompasses many treasures, including: almost all of Nerval's gorgeous "Les Chimeres" poems; a generous sampling of Rimbaud's prose poetry; the best-ever English translation of Apollinaire's masterpiece "La Chanson du mal-aime" (courtesy of translator Dudley Fitts, who, unlike many translators, maintains some semblance of the hypnotic rhyme scheme of the original); Valery's rhapsodic "Le Cimetiere marin" (from which the famous line "The sea, the sea!" originates); etc.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This book is a really great collection of poetry that viscerally shows the transition from the Romantic style to the fully modern. Most of the poems here are available in other recent collections of the individual authors (the big names, anyway), but there's lots of stuff that isn't too. A great bonus is the introduction by Patti Smith, who originally lead me to read Rimbaud, Verlain, et al. This book is a really great collection of poetry that viscerally shows the transition from the Romantic style to the fully modern. Most of the poems here are available in other recent collections of the individual authors (the big names, anyway), but there's lots of stuff that isn't too. A great bonus is the introduction by Patti Smith, who originally lead me to read Rimbaud, Verlain, et al.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This is a wonderful collection. The introduction is by Patti Smith. The selection is good, and some of the translations are great, particularly the Verlaine, who doesn't usually fare this well in English. The history and sequence of modern French poetry is well presented here. This is the collection that turned Dylan on to Rimbaud and Baudelaire, in the early 60's. This is a wonderful collection. The introduction is by Patti Smith. The selection is good, and some of the translations are great, particularly the Verlaine, who doesn't usually fare this well in English. The history and sequence of modern French poetry is well presented here. This is the collection that turned Dylan on to Rimbaud and Baudelaire, in the early 60's.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kya Buller

    Introduced me properly to the amazing works of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, but my favourite poem in the collection was "Moon Solo" by Jules la Forgue. I was compelled to write a sheet of notes on how the poem made me feel. I will always treasure this book. English Literature is the love of my life, but French poetry may now come as a close second. Introduced me properly to the amazing works of Baudelaire and Rimbaud, but my favourite poem in the collection was "Moon Solo" by Jules la Forgue. I was compelled to write a sheet of notes on how the poem made me feel. I will always treasure this book. English Literature is the love of my life, but French poetry may now come as a close second.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sladjana Kovacevic

    ᑕᑕℎᗩᖇᒪƐᔕ ᗷᗩᑌᗪƐᒪᗩƖᖇƐ ƐᑭƖGᖇᗩᑭH FOᖇ ᗩ ᑕOᑎᗪƐᗰᑎƐᗪ ᗷOOƘ ÉᑭƖGᖇᗩᑭHƐ ᑭOᑌᖇ ᑌᑎ ᒪƖᐯᖇƐ ᑕOᑎᗪᗩᗰᑎƐ "𝓡𝓮𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓻 𝓹𝓵𝓪𝓬𝓲𝓭 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓫𝓾𝓬𝓸𝓵𝓲𝓬 𝒮ℴ𝒷ℯ𝓇,ℊ𝓊𝒾𝓁ℯ𝓁ℯ𝓈𝓈 𝓂𝒶𝓃 ℴ𝒻 𝓉𝒽ℯ ℊℴℴ𝒹, ℱ𝓁𝒾𝓃ℊ 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓈𝒶𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃𝒾𝓃ℯ 𝒷ℴℴ𝓀, 𝒪𝓇ℊ𝒾𝒶𝓈𝓉𝒾𝒸 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓂ℯ𝓁𝒶𝓃𝒸𝒽ℴ𝓁𝒾𝒸. 𝒰𝓃𝓁ℯ𝓈𝓈 𝓌𝒾𝓉𝒽 𝒮𝒶𝓉𝒶𝓃,𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝓂𝒶𝓈𝓉ℯ𝓇 𝒴ℴ𝓊 𝒽𝒶𝓋ℯ 𝓈𝓉𝓊𝒹𝒾ℯ𝒹 𝓎ℴ𝓊𝓇 𝓇ℯ𝓉𝒽ℴ𝓇𝒾𝒸, ℱ𝓁𝒾𝓃ℊ 𝒾𝓉 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓎! 𝒴ℴ𝓊 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓊𝓃𝒹ℯ𝓇𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓃ℴ𝓃ℯ ℴ𝒻 𝒾𝓉, ℴ𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝓀 𝓂ℯ 𝒽𝒾𝓈𝓉ℯ𝓇𝒾𝒸. ℬ𝓊𝓉 𝒾𝒻 𝓎ℴ𝓊 𝒶𝓇ℯ 𝒶𝒷𝓁ℯ,𝓊𝓃ℯ𝓃𝓉𝒾𝒸ℯ𝒹, 𝒯ℴ 𝓅𝓁𝓊𝓃ℊℯ 𝓎ℴ𝓊𝓇 ℯ𝓎ℯ 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽ℯ 𝒹ℯ𝓅𝓉𝒽𝓈, ℛℯ𝒶𝒹 𝓂ℯ,𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓎ℴ𝓊 𝓁ℯ𝒶𝓇𝓃 𝓉ℴ 𝓁ℴ𝓋ℯ 𝓂ℯ;... 🇷🇸 🥣υĸυѕ-apѕιnт 🎧zvυĸ-мrмljanje 💐мιrιѕ-тrυlo cveće 🎨вoja-ljυвιčaѕтa 🐙dodιr-ljυljυ ᑕᑕℎᗩᖇᒪƐᔕ ᗷᗩᑌᗪƐᒪᗩƖᖇƐ ƐᑭƖGᖇᗩᑭH FOᖇ ᗩ ᑕOᑎᗪƐᗰᑎƐᗪ ᗷOOƘ ÉᑭƖGᖇᗩᑭHƐ ᑭOᑌᖇ ᑌᑎ ᒪƖᐯᖇƐ ᑕOᑎᗪᗩᗰᑎƐ "𝓡𝓮𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓻 𝓹𝓵𝓪𝓬𝓲𝓭 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓫𝓾𝓬𝓸𝓵𝓲𝓬 𝒮ℴ𝒷ℯ𝓇,ℊ𝓊𝒾𝓁ℯ𝓁ℯ𝓈𝓈 𝓂𝒶𝓃 ℴ𝒻 𝓉𝒽ℯ ℊℴℴ𝒹, ℱ𝓁𝒾𝓃ℊ 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓈𝒶𝓉𝓊𝓇𝓃𝒾𝓃ℯ 𝒷ℴℴ𝓀, 𝒪𝓇ℊ𝒾𝒶𝓈𝓉𝒾𝒸 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓂ℯ𝓁𝒶𝓃𝒸𝒽ℴ𝓁𝒾𝒸. 𝒰𝓃𝓁ℯ𝓈𝓈 𝓌𝒾𝓉𝒽 𝒮𝒶𝓉𝒶𝓃,𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁𝓎 𝓂𝒶𝓈𝓉ℯ𝓇 𝒴ℴ𝓊 𝒽𝒶𝓋ℯ 𝓈𝓉𝓊𝒹𝒾ℯ𝒹 𝓎ℴ𝓊𝓇 𝓇ℯ𝓉𝒽ℴ𝓇𝒾𝒸, ℱ𝓁𝒾𝓃ℊ 𝒾𝓉 𝒶𝓌𝒶𝓎! 𝒴ℴ𝓊 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓊𝓃𝒹ℯ𝓇𝓈𝓉𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝓃ℴ𝓃ℯ ℴ𝒻 𝒾𝓉, ℴ𝓇 𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝓀 𝓂ℯ 𝒽𝒾𝓈𝓉ℯ𝓇𝒾𝒸. ℬ𝓊𝓉 𝒾𝒻 𝓎ℴ𝓊 𝒶𝓇ℯ 𝒶𝒷𝓁ℯ,𝓊𝓃ℯ𝓃𝓉𝒾𝒸ℯ𝒹, 𝒯ℴ 𝓅𝓁𝓊𝓃ℊℯ 𝓎ℴ𝓊𝓇 ℯ𝓎ℯ 𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽ℯ 𝒹ℯ𝓅𝓉𝒽𝓈, ℛℯ𝒶𝒹 𝓂ℯ,𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝓎ℴ𝓊 𝓁ℯ𝒶𝓇𝓃 𝓉ℴ 𝓁ℴ𝓋ℯ 𝓂ℯ;... 🇷🇸 🥣υĸυѕ-apѕιnт 🎧zvυĸ-мrмljanje 💐мιrιѕ-тrυlo cveće 🎨вoja-ljυвιčaѕтa 🐙dodιr-ljυljυšĸanje 🎭ιdenтιғιĸacιja(lιĸovι)-peѕnιcι υ мračnoj ѕoвι,ѕ peroм υ rυcι 👻🤓🧙🏼‍♀️vιzιja(ѕan)-razмιšljanje o ѕeвι ι ѕveтυ oĸo ѕeвe 📝eĸѕтra-υvod paттy ѕмιтн,jedne od мojιн oмιljenιн aмerιčĸιн pevačιca-тeĸѕтopιѕaca-peѕnιĸa,υ ѕтιнυ,υнvaćena je ѕυšтιna ғrancυѕĸe poezιje ✒ocena🔟 🇺🇸 🥣𝑻𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒆-𝑨𝒃𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒉 🎧𝑺𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅-𝑴𝒖𝒓𝒎𝒖𝒓 💐𝑺𝒎𝒆𝒍𝒍-𝑫𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒇𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒓𝒔 🎨𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒐𝒓-𝑷𝒖𝒓𝒑𝒍𝒆 🐙𝑻𝒐𝒖𝒄𝒉-𝑪𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 🎭𝑰𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏(𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔)-𝑷𝒐𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎,𝒑𝒆𝒏 𝒊𝒏 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅 🧙🏼‍♀️🤓👻𝑽𝒊𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏(𝑫𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎)-𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒂𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒇 📝𝑬𝒙𝒕𝒓𝒂-𝑰𝒏𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒃𝒚 𝑷𝒂𝒕𝒕𝒚 𝑺𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒉,𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒚 𝒇𝒂𝒗𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆 𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒔-𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒈𝒘𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔-𝒑𝒐𝒆𝒕𝒔,𝒊𝒏 𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒆,𝒄𝒂𝒑𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒇𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒉 𝒑𝒐𝒆𝒕𝒓𝒚.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    While I enjoyed a handful of poems I thought the set up of the book was a bit annoying. I’m not a huge poetry fan to begin with so it’s not all that shocking that a lot of these poems were difficult to read through without getting distracted.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    Nice intro by Patti Smith. Only read the first half of the book. The second half was the poems in their original French.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ivva Tadiashvili

    ფრანგული პოეზია <3 <3 <3

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopherseelie

    I hate trying to quantify the quality of a poetry anthology, so I won't. Suffice it to say that some of the poems included are must-reads by the usual suspects of modern French greats and some of the lesser known poets could have been left out entirely. The Kenneth Koch translations stand out particularly well, even though there are only a few of them. The French originals in the back are missing the original for Un coup de des, which is reasonable but also one of key poems in the collection tha I hate trying to quantify the quality of a poetry anthology, so I won't. Suffice it to say that some of the poems included are must-reads by the usual suspects of modern French greats and some of the lesser known poets could have been left out entirely. The Kenneth Koch translations stand out particularly well, even though there are only a few of them. The French originals in the back are missing the original for Un coup de des, which is reasonable but also one of key poems in the collection that makes you want to compare the translation to the original.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie R. Herring

    This took forever to get through, not because I didn't like it, but I think because I couldn't relate. I enjoyed a few lines from many of the poems, but overall, none really stood out to me. I think French readers would enjoy this more, but it shouldn't stop non-native speakers to try these translations. This took forever to get through, not because I didn't like it, but I think because I couldn't relate. I enjoyed a few lines from many of the poems, but overall, none really stood out to me. I think French readers would enjoy this more, but it shouldn't stop non-native speakers to try these translations.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    has english translations-- with the french in the back

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    It helped get Patti Smith out of the piss factory. I would rid my shelves of all other poetry volumes before this one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Calah

  16. 4 out of 5

    Artin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Blaylock

  19. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  20. 5 out of 5

    erin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rob Tebeau

  23. 4 out of 5

    P.D.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Phoenix DeSimone

  25. 4 out of 5

    shantelle

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick Vetrone

  27. 5 out of 5

    Annie Hall

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alec Medlock

  29. 4 out of 5

    Camila

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jer

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