Note on the poetry scene in France

Richard Rand

In France as in the United States, there must be thousands of good poets, only to be found by pouring over websites, journals and through the catalogues of very small houses scattered throughout the French-speaking world. Fifty years ago one could scan a dozen quarterly or monthly reviews, published mainly in Paris, featuring the work of poets benefiting from a consensus based on the prestige of editors who supported one or another well-recognized school or tendency (as with journals such as Tel Quel, Éphémère or the Mercure de France). Back in those days, major houses such as Gallimard or Seuil would generate a steady stream of books to be promoted and discussed in the popular press, and readily available in the corner bookstore. But the bookstores have almost entirely disappeared, and, as we can readily see by visiting a first-rate website, this is not a scene that the poetic tourist can readily negotiate (I count myself among those tourists).

One such website is cahiercritiquedepoesie.fr. In the absence of such, the tourist would be lost without a prayer.

Richard Rand

RICHARD RAND, a professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama, has published translations of works by Jean Paulhan, Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy. He also serves on the editorial board of the literary review Po&sie.