Cinepoems and Others (NYRB Poets) (Paperback)

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By Benjamin Fondane, Leonard Schwartz (Introduction by), Leonard Schwartz (Editor)
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Benjamin Fondane was that rarest of poets: an experimental formalist with a powerful lyric poetic voice; a renegade surrealist who was also a highly original existential philosopher; a self-consciously Jewish poet  of diaspora and loss, whose last manuscripts made it out of Drancy in 1944 just before his deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where he was murdered, yet whose poetry speaks of an overflowing plenitude. This bilingual selection is the first volume of Fondane’s poetry to appear in English, and it includes a broad sample of his work, from the coruscating and comic cinepoems of his surrealist years, to philosophical meditations, to poems that in their secular and mystical Judaism confront the historical calamity—and imaginative triumph—of European Jewry.

About the Author

Benjamin Fondane (1898–1944) was a Romanian Jew who emigrated to France in 1923 to pursue his love of French poetry and culture. While at law school in Bucharest, he spent most of his time writing for avant-garde literary periodicals. In Paris, Fondane worked at an insurance company and for Paramount Pictures while establishing himself as a poet and philosopher writing in French. Under the guidance of the Russian émigré philosopher Lev Shestov, Fondane became a leading exponent of existential philosophy in the 1930s. He also spent time in Argentina, at the invitation of Victoria Ocampo, lecturing on avant-garde film and directing a surrealist comedic film. In 1944, he was deported from France and killed at Auschwitz. In addition to Cinepoems and Others, New York Review Books publishes a volume of his selected essays, Existential Monday.

Leonard Schwartz’s two most recent collections of poetry are At Element and IF, both from Talisman House. He hosts the radio program Cross Cultural Poetics.

Praise For…

“Of all his contemporaries, not one, not even those who were in the Resistance, wrote in revolt, mingling the flavor of life with death, like Fondane.” —Henri Meschonnic

“Benjamin Fondane, Romanian Jewish immigrant writing in his second language, brought a narrative vigor and a lyrical, global, tragicomic imagination to French poetry that it has rarely seen since.” —Marilyn Hacker  

Cinepoems and Others...arrives with the force of a major literary event…throughout the collection, there is a genuine sense of commitment and love to the work of Fondane. It’s a fitting testament to the work of a complex and enduring poetic voice.” —Joseph Houlihan, Entropy Magazine

"Fondane ... deserves to be celebrated outside France ... as his far-ranging gifts and accomplishments are at the heart of 20th-century Jewish artistic and philosophical modernism." —Benjamin Ivry, The Jewish Daily Forward

"Fondane's polemical approach confronts the reader with some explosive turns of thought which may lead us to reconsider everything we took for granted about life and art." —Andrew Rubens, Glasgow Review of Books

"I am proud to have known Fondane, learnt the elements of philosophy from particularly Chestov's and his own, special kind of existential philosophy, and to have been, at a crucial moment in my youth, greatly influenced by him." —David Gascoyne

"I was seized by the force of his images anchored in carnality, and I had the feeling of listening to a voice that was both unique and powerful, the voice of a man who, unworried by literary effect, shouted out his human condition." —Michel Carassou

Product Details
ISBN: 9781590179000
ISBN-10: 1590179005
Publisher: NYRB Poets
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 240
Language: English
Series: NYRB Poets