Partisan of Things

BY Francis Ponge


ISBN: 9780984647590 (2016)

Translated from the French by Joshua Corey and Jean-Luc Garneau.

“There is no escape from trees by means of trees.” The ordinary objects to which Francis Ponge directs his attention—a tree, an oyster, a cigarette—come uncannily alive in his seminal first book of prose poems, newly translated. Published in 1942, as Ponge was enlisting in the Resistance to the Nazi occupation of France, these poems offer their own dryly humorous resistance to our tendency to take “things” for granted as either dead matter or as commodities for our disposal. Arch, alive, and unexpectedly profound, here is a new Ponge for the age of hyperobjects and the revenge of nature, a poet of the Anthropocene avant la lettre.

Francis Ponge (1899-1988) famously countered Surrealism’s fixation on “the marvelous” with a denuded objectivity, and went on to become one of the most influential French poets of the 20th Century. His 1942 book Le parti pris des choses is considered a literary classic.

Joshua Corey is the author of several poetry collections, including The Barons (2014); Dorset Prize-winner Severance Songs (2011); Fourier Series (2005), which won a Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn Award; Selah (2003); and the novel Beautiful Soul: An American Elegy (2014). With G.C. Waldrep, Corey edited the anthology The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (2012).

Jean-Luc Garneau is a linguist, scholar, and translator of  Beyond Gestures (Au-Delà des Gestes) by Marcel and Gabriel Piqueray and Fragments by Paul Nougé, both in collaboration with Robert Archambeau.