‘So here I am with my pebble, which intrigues me, touches unknown springs in me. With my pebble that I respect. With my pebble for which I want to substitute an adequate logical (verbal) formula . . .’ (‘My Creative Method’)
Still radical, the poems of Francis Ponge (1899–1988) seek to give the things of the world, mute sharers of our existence, their due. Impatient with the usual baggage of literary description, Ponge attends to a pebble, a washpot, an eiderdown, a platter of fish, with lyrical precision; playing with sounds, rhythms and associations of words, he creates wholly new objects – ‘but which may be more touching, if possible, than natural objects, because human’.
Picasso, Sartre and Calvino were among Ponge’s admirers. Over half of the poems in Unfinished Ode to Mud have not been published before in English.