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The Little Auto

Published by CB Editions

ISBN: 9780956735942

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Just as they were posting the mobilisation orders
We understood my comrade and I
That the little auto had driven us into a New Era
And although we were both already grown men
We had just been born

In late 1914 Apollinaire swapped the high life of avant-garde Paris for the mud and desolation of war in the trenches. The poems that followed are infused with nostalgia for antiquity, impatience for the future, melancholy and exuberance.

The new translations in this bilingual edition comprise mostly poems written after 1914, but include ‘Zone’ (in the first English version since Samuel Beckett’s to match the original’s use of rhyme) and some other pre-war poems. A century later, they remain as daring and alive as when they were written.

"The important thing is that this beautifully produced yet cheap book is a way of reminding us about this genius, and showing us that high, ground-breaking art does not have to be intimidating or forbidding."
Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

Guillaume Apollinaire was born in Rome in 1880, settling in Paris in 1899, where he championed the likes of Picasso, Braque and Duchamp. He enlisted in the French army in 1914; he suffered a shrapnel head wound in 1916, and died in Paris two years later.

Beverley Bie Brahic is a Canadian poet and translator. Her translation of selected poems by Francis Ponge, Unfinished Ode to Mud (CB Editions, 2008) was a finalist for the Poetry Society’s 2009 Popescu Prize for Poetry.
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