Reading Apollinaire's Calligrammes examines Guillaume Apollinaire's second major collection of poetry. Composed between 1913 and 1918, the nineteen poems examined here fall into two main groups: the experimental poetry and the war poetry. They also provide glimpses of the poet's personal history, from his affair with Louise de Coligny-Chatillon to his engagement to Madeleine Pages and his marriage with Jacqueline Kolb. Each section examines all of the previous scholarship for the work in question, provides a detailed analysis, and, in many cases, offers a new interpretation. Each poem is subjected to a meticulous line-by-line analysis in the light of current knowledge.
Willard Bohn has produced a monumental work of exegesis. This volume, a close study of nineteen key poems in chronological order, elucidates in a line-by-line analysis the complexities and nuances of these poems. Drawing on his vast erudition, Willard Bohn, a leading American scholar of Apollinaire's life and artistic career, coordinates, integrates and maps-without scholarly jargon-all the previous studies of Calligrammes within a larger panoramic vision of the artist, his world and modernist vision. Bohn's readings provide a cutting edge understanding of Apollinaire's poetic accomplishment, his poetic innovations, visual poetry, collage poems, use of simultaneity and cubistic perspectives, indeterminacy and desired ambiguity. Bohn restores Apollinaire's major and final masterpiece, Calligrammes, to its rightful place as a key document in the history of Western poetry of the twentieth century and still affecting us today in the postmodern era. * Seth L. Wolitz, Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin, USA * Willard Bohn here presents his own enlightened and original readings of nineteen poems selected from Guillaume Apollinaire's Calligrammes, constantly testing his views and interpretations against those offered by scores of other critics, past and present. The result is an international, polyphonic and polyfocal appreciation of an essential group of astonishing texts that together form a cornerstone of European modernism. * Peter Read, Professor of Modern French Literature and Visual Arts, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK *