Contemporary French poetry has long been tagged as being overly cerebral and hermetic. But there exists a very different, thriving tradition which is too often muffled by noisier movements like Surrealism or Minimalism. Into the Deep Street’ gives voice to this tradition. What links the poets is an acute awareness of the existential instant in both its inward workings and also, crucially, in its outwardness – in the street, on the move.
From the key figure of Jean Follain, who can freeze an entire period of history in a vignette of a few lines, via the best-known of the close-knit if regionally scattered group, Philippe Jaccottet, to the newer voices of Guy Goffette and Gilles Ortlieb, all these poets are masters of wry brevity and the resonant image.
Jennie Feldman’s first collection of poems, The Lost Notebook’, was published by Anvil in 2005, as was her selection and translation from Jacques Réda’s poems, Treading Lightly’. She lives in Jerusalem.
Stephen Romer has been Maître de conférences at the University of Tours since 1991. His anthology 20th Century French Poems’ was published by Faber in 2002. The latest of his four collections of poetry, Yellow Studio’, was published by Carcanet in 2008.