Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Raymond Queneau's "Hitting The Streets" (Translated by Rachel Galvin)

Carcanet Press ISBN: 9781847771575

The combination of poet and city is a hard one to find fault.  i never admired the poet who writes about 'nature,' but give me a poet who writes about buildings, streets, concrete, and the waterway around the city, and I am there for them.   Especially if that city is Paris and the poet is Raymond Queneau, the overall essential literary figure of the 20th Century.

"Hitting The Streets" is a proper title for this collection of poems regarding the theme of human and city.  And when the city is Paris, it becomes even more interesting.  Perhaps because it is an iconic location, but in truth a good poet can write about their city block - any city block  - and make it interesting.  So perhaps it's not the city itself but Raymond Queneau.

He is such a giant talent, and what I love about his work is his playfulness.  In theory he must be hell to translate to another language, but Rachel Galvin the translator did a good job.  The book is bilingual so for those who want to read the work in its original language (French) can do so.  I can't read French, but still, I can read it for the music of it, and the sounds.   For the Zazie fans out there I think this book is a must for your collection.
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