"The Inventors and Other Poems" by René Char: A Review
One of the foremost poets of the French Resistance, René Char has been hailed as "the conscience of modern French poetry." Translated by Mark Hutchinson, The Inventors is a companion volume to Char's critically acclaimed Hypnos. It gathers more than forty poems that represent a cross-section of Char's mature work, spanning from 1936 to 1988. All three genres of Char's work are represented here: verse poems, prose poems, and the abrupt, lapidary propositions for which he is best known.
The Inventors includes a brief introduction to Char's life and work, as well as a series of notes on the backstories of the works, which explain allusions that may not be immediately familiar to the English-speaking reader.
Mark Hutchinson has done an incredible job here - these new translations stay true to the originals, while at the same time conveying much of the music and beauty of the French poems.
This is a fascinating collection which gives a great introduction to Char's work. The quality of the translation means that this is the perfect way for those who do not read French to familiarise themselves with one of the leading French poets of modern times.