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When The Metro is Free

Published by Smokestack Books

ISBN: 9780955106194

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When the Metro is Free is an anthology of counter-cultural poetry from contemporary France, representing the work of a group of poets around Francis Combes and Le Temps des Cerises. These poets are the descendents of Apollinaire and Jacques Prevert, inheritors of the bohemian tradition of questioning everything, bearers of Marx’s idea that nothing human can be alien to us. Although their approaches are radically different, they share the same existential charge, wrestling with the essential problem of modern life - the relationship of the individual to society.

Francis Combes, founder of Le Temps des Cerises, France’s most famous radical poetry publisher, draws on History to demystify the absolutes of contemporary ideology. Francoise Coulmin explores the narratives of historical female sensibility. The veteran Jacques Gaucheron recalls past conflicts and old comradeships. Gerard Noiret fuses the banal and the extraordinary. David Dumortier takes us on a sharp-witted, amusing trip through the underworld of the Metro.

”It’s refreshing to heart poets speaking directly… energetic and alert to their surroundings.”Ambit

”A very interesting collection of intriguing, entertaining and sometimes challenging work.”Acumen

“A well produced anthology, this offers a welcome chance to explore and assess the radical poetry of France under M. Sarkozy’s watch.”Other Poetry

"Alan Dent's translations are out to give you more than just a free ride on the metro; they're showing you that maybe it's dawned on French poets, words need to hauled back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.’John Hartley Williams.

Alan Dent was born in Preston in 1951. He still lives there and teaches modern languages in a local comprehensive school. He has published five books of poetry — Bedtime Story, Antidotes to Optimism, Corker, Who and Town. Since 1995 he has edited the radical literary magazine Penniless Press.
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