This is a fine, bilingual edition of the works of one of the great French Surrealists. The translations, by several hands, serve Char well-full of insinuating rhythms and unusual verbal couplings, they come close to the piercing beauty of the originals.—Pat Monaghan, Booklist
René Char (1907-88) is acknowledged as one of the greatest French poets of all time. His work speaks in tones both universal and grounded in his native Provence, where during World War II he commanded the Resistance maquis. Originally allied with the Surrealists, his poems afterward evolved from the "fury and mystery" of the war period to his later existential and metaphysical reflections. His poems are violent and tender, passionate and cool, massive and of small scope-at once local and cosmic. The Selected Poems of René Char is a comprehensive, bilingual overview reflecting the poet’s wide stylistic and philosophical range, from aphorism to dramatic lyricism. In making their selections, the editors have chosen the voices of seventeen poets and translators (Paul Auster, Samuel Beckett, Cid Corman, Eugene Jolas, W.S. Merwin, William Carlos Williams, and James Wright, to name a few), in homage to a writer long held in highest esteem by the literary avant-garde.