|NYRB ISBN: 978-1-59017-769-5|
Monday, November 4, 2013
"Pierre Reverdy" by Pierre Reverdy (NYRB, Edited by Mary Ann Caws)
Superb collection of poetry by the legendary and sort of obscure poet Pierre Reverdy. There are poet's poets and then there is the Painter's poet, and Pierre Reverdy is famous for his relationship with Picasso and the Cubists artists of the early 20th Century. But Reverdy also had respect from his fellow poets as well, and almost every avant-poet or lyrical poet also has a great appreciation for Reverdy's poetry. Reading the introduction, I didn't know he had a long-term relationship with Coco Chanel. A good looking man according to the photograph on the back of the book. He had the whole world in his hands, but the narration is quite harsh, due to the two world wars that took place in his lifetime.
The poems are mostly mood pieces that would go well with mid '50's Miles Davis. Romantic in despair, but never depressing due to I think his intelligence and his ability to write a perfect poem that is set like a jewel case on the top of a bedside table. Once again the New York Review of Books (NYRB) has done a great job of publishing these collection of works by Reverdy, and translated by an all-star cast of the most interesting of the interesting. Kenneth Rexroth, Geoffrey O'Brien, Frank O'Hara, Richard Howard, John Ashbery and edited by the great Mary Ann Caws. Any poet that can gather the American giants of poetry and translation in one volume, you know is very much worth your time.