The dialogue between French and American poetry dates back to the nineteenth century. But if Americans in search of modernity turned immediately to France, the trend was reversed from the 1970s onwards, with French poets now looking to the United States at a time when modernity was running out of steam. This study accounts for this phenomenon by uncovering the issues that preoccupied French and American poetry and motivated their exchanges. To do so, it asks the following questions.
Why have the objectivist poets (Reznikoff, Zukofsky, Oppen...) benefited in France from a reception that has been constantly renewed for fifty years?
Why did so many French and American poets of the same generation read, quote and translate each other in the 1980s, to the point of establishing a transatlantic community?
How, after 1968, was one to "dissolve poetic solemnity" and adapt American "low voltage" into the language of Racine? How was one to say poetry out loud? How did the poetry reading become institutionalized in France? Is "being up on your feet and talking" still poetry?
At a time when poetry in France was experiencing a sense of impasse and taking stock of modernity, the transatlantic conversation provided a forum for it to redefine its forms and function. Among those heard were Ashbery
, Roche, Roubaud, Royet-Journoud, Albiach, Hocquard
, di Manno, Gleize
, the Waldrop, Auster, Duncan, Palmer, Bernstein, Hejinian
, Watten, Doris, Fourcade, Creeley, Rothenberg, Antin
Abigail Lang is a lecturer in American literature at the Université Paris Cité. She is the author, with Thalia Field
, of A Prank of Georges
(2010) and Leave to Remain. Legends of Janus
(2019). She is the translator of some twenty books of English-language poetry into French and, with Vincent Broqua
and Olivier Brossard, is the coordinator of the Double Change
collective and the Poets & Critics research group. She is one of the founders of the collective project Archives sonores de poésie
, which aims to inventory, archive, disseminate and promote the audio and audiovisual collections of French-language poetry. Abigail Lang runs, with Dominique Pasqualini
, the Motion Method Memory
series at Les presses du réel.