518. A life of poems

A Life of Poems, Poems of a Life, by Anna de Noailles (1876-1933). Translated by Norman R. Shapiro. Edited with an introduction by Catherine Perry. Comprehensive bilingual anthology of Noaille's poetry: one of the most respected, celebrated, and feted poets of early 20th century France. Bilingual edition.
Anna de Noailles (1876-1933)

A poet of undeniable stature, whose reputation has lasted beyond the popularity of her actual works, the comtesse de Noailles was respected and beloved by France's literary and lay population alike, counting among her admirers such figures as Proust, Cocteau, Colette, and many others. Seemingly unconcerned with the tenets of this or that poetic school, she tuned the traditional elements of French prosody to her personal lyrical use, refusing however to be straitjacketed by their limitations. Without abandoning its meters and rhymes, she was not against taking liberties with both when the flow of her inspiration demanded; an inspiration often lush and musical, often visual, now synesthically sensual and even erotic, as much at home in evoking the eternal as in rhapsodizing briefly on the Parnassian plasticity of her cat. Noailles technique and talent transcended her gender. When an article in the London Times, in 1913, called her "the greatest poet that the twentieth century has produced in France-perhaps in Europe," and when the poet Leon Paul-Fargue supposedly referred to her as "our last inspired poet," neither saw fit to modify the word "poet" with the word "woman."