Poetry of Louise Herlin, Contemporary French Poet

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This critical monograph brings to light the hidden movements, the delicate shifts and changes, the revealing thresholds, the perceptive highlights, the secret image-patterns and fine verbal textures of a poet devoted to exploring the frontiers between the world of nature (its vital energies, its seasonal metamorphoses, its awakened stimuli) and the hesitations of the individual consciousness (caught between alertness and lethargy, osmosis and alienation, mortality and memory, seductions of the senses and the cooler antidotes of abstract oversight). It is the first full-length study, in English or French, to be devoted to this exceptional poet (already featuring in most of the major anthologies of recent French poetry).


“He does not tell us what we should think or feel when we read Herlin’s poems, but guides us towards our own response, stimulating an enhanced awareness of the multiple possibilities of the text. His aim is to show us the special qualities of Herlin’s work, and to analyse for us the ways in which those qualities are brought to life in the poems. Peter Broome is acutely and subtly aware of the poetic devices that shape Herlin’s poems…. Finely attuned to the effects of sound, the ‘aural stimulus’ of alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia, the visual shock of ‘anagrams’…. His study is a patient and sensitive unraveling of the ways of poetic creation in Herlin’s masterly art.” – Norma Rinsler, Ermeritus Professor of French, University of London

“Peter Broome, on of the most distinguished international scholars and commentators on French poetry, and whose reputation is second to none, has undertaken a study of Herlin which is marked by its breadth and depth, The seventeen chapter headings indicate as much, and how just how all-encompassing the monograph will be….. With pleasure and enthusiasm… I commend this important and innovative study of a major poet, Louise Herlin, by an outstanding member of the international community of French scholars, Peter Broome, “ – Martin Sorrell, University of Exeter

“Louise Herlin’s poetry deserves to be better known in the English-speaking world. She is an immediately engaging poet whose singular voice nevertheless carries sufficient echoes of the modern French poetic canon (Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Ponge) to allow some swift orientation. Peter Broome’s book will not only add stretch to her reputation but it will add volume. Her delicate poetry could not wish for a getter advocate.” – Graham Chesters, Institute for Learning, Hull.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
The slow, the fabulous profusion:
1. Breaking out
2. Composing with…
3. From Marriages to mirages
4. The Lesson of things
5. Truth as variety
6. Forms of time
7. Synchronies
8. The Exactness of love
9. Sensations
10. Visible…invisible
11. Metaphor… metamorphosis
12. Betwixt and between
13. The opposite slope
14. Self-defense
15. Art poétique
16. The Poem unfinished
17. Last words
18. Epilogue
Bibliography; Index

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