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Zone: Selected Poems


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Translated from the French by lauded poet Ron Padgett, this original collection of Guillaume Apollinaire's work is the first of its kind, spanning the breadth of the author's vast oeuvre, making it a perfect primer for all interested in a poet hailed by many as one of the most important of the 20th century.

About the Author

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He was also a fiction writer, experimental playwright, pioneering art critic, and editor of erotica. He invented the word surrealism. Translator and poet Ron Padgett's Collected Poems won the William Carlos Williams Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the 2013 LA Times Prize for the best poetry book of the year. Padgett has translated the poetry of Apollinaire, Pierre Reverdy, Valery Larbaud, and Blaise Cendrars. Peter Read is Professor of Modern French Literature and Visual Arts at the University of Kent, Canterbury, in the United Kingdom. He has published books and essays on Guillaume Apollinaire and his circle, and on artists working in France, including Picasso, Giacometti, and Raoul Dufy.


"Ron Padgett's translation from the French is pitch perfect and dazzling." --Deborah Levy, The Guardian, "Best Summer Books 2018"

"How well does Padgett apply these laudable [translation] precepts in this book? In two words: amazingly well. When I read the poems in French, I kept thinking "Now how can you possibly put that into English?" Then I looked at the facing text. And thought, to paraphrase Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, "By God, he's got it! He's really got it!" It's like watching a little boat in high seas: how can it possibly make that wave, and that one? But it does, easily: it just floats up and over them. Padgett makes it look easy. We translators know nothing is harder than that." --David Ball, Translation Review

"In Zone, Selected Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire, Ron Padgett demonstrates that translators should be willing to sometimes mistranslate in order to revivify a text's more distinctive formal characteristics. Idiosyncrasies and dalliances abound in Padgett's judicious sampling (as they do in Apollinaire's oeuvre)...One of the joys of reading Zone is discovering the utter range of Padgett's stylings as both translator and poet...Zone contains Apollinaire's ambiguous vapors and punchy crystallizations alike, though it also succeeds in materializing what we love most about Padgett." --Dylan Furcall, BOMB

"Padgett takes liberties, but he has given deep thought to them and he offers, in his introduction, a detailed discussion of the challenges that he has faced in the fifty-odd years that he has devoted to this project. Whenever a choice needs to be made between meaning and melody, he tends to opt for the latter, successfully bringing out as much of Apollinaire's music as possible." --John Taylor, ArtsFuse

"The one poet of our time who, in lightness and depth of inspiration, in spontaneity and clarity of expression... can stand beside Sappho, Anacreon, Alcaeus." --The American Poetry Review "One of the most fascinating and elusive figures of modern French poetry." --Scott Bates, French Review "Apollinaire's distinction lies in his being the first poet of our age who is 'modern' and popular at the same time, modern in his many technical and thematic innovations and popular in his simple directness of speech." --The Kenyon Review Praise for Guillaume Apollinaire: "The poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire is like no other: clear, full of light, bright with movement, with the transparency of flowing water. Even from the chalk trenches of the First World War, it sings like love, compassionate and friendly, in a French the language had only dreamed of before he wrote."--Translation and Literature Praise for Ron Padgett's translations: "A superb translation! Ron Padgett, himself an important poet, catches precisely the French poet's rhythms, his colloquialisms, his racy diction and emotional resonances."--Marjorie Perloff "No praise can be too high for Ron Padgett's translations."--Dominic Di Bernardi, The Washington Post Book World

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