Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Peirre Reverdy

pierre reverdy

Look for Pierre Reverdy with our French poetry books: 841 REV

Oh man, am I jazzed. I’ve got Christmas-morning jitters, and not  because I just finished my lunchtime cup of coffee. You see, we finally received New York Review of Books’ latest edition of Pierre Reverdy’s poems—simply titled Pierre Reverdyand so I’ve gotten to spend lunch getting re-acquainted with one of my favorite poets.

Reverdy’s been out-of-print in English for awhile. If you haven’t been digging through the French literature stacks at a university library you probably haven’t had the opportunity to read him. That’s how I discovered Reverdy. I was scanning the shelves as an undergrad, spotted a New Directions logo on a spine, goggled at the Georges Brague print that graced the cover, then opened it up and didn’t close it until I had finished its slim 90 or so pages. Hopefully our new copy here at Thomas Ford will catch some unsuspecting readers in just the same way.

They’re clever, compelling poems. Always beautiful, full of perfect little images that build into oblique but thoughtful statements. I guess Ocatavio Paz says it better in one of the blurbs from the back cover: “A poem by Reverdy is a spiritual fact.” I’ll just leave you with one of my favorites and a nice representation of his work in general. Translated by Kenneth Rexroth, it’s called “On Tiptoe”:

Nothing stays anymore

between my ten fingers

A vanishing shadow

At the centre
a footstep

Choke of the voice that rises too high
That moaned and wouldn’t die
That went too fast
It was you who put a stop to this magnificent ardour

Hope and my pride
have passed on the wind

The leaves fell
while the birds were counting
the drops of water

The lamps went out behind the curtains
Not so fast
Be careful you’ll break everything with so much noise

Review by Matthew

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This entry was posted on December 27, 2013 by in Book Review, Non-Fiction, Poetry.
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