Monday, August 15, 2011

On the 151st Anniversary of His Birth

This August 16th is the 151st anniversary of the birth of Jules Laforgue. A perfect day to celebrate this wonderful poet by enjoying some of his poetry!

Visit for lots of great options right now or read some posts below here at the Jules Laforgue Appreciation Society site. Or, hell, just Google "Jules Laforgue" and explore!

In honor of the day, I want to share this one English translation which I recently came across (apologies for not also posting the French but you might be able to find it at

by Jules Laforgue

People have told me about life in the Far-West,
And my blood has groaned: "If only that were my country!...”
Without class in the old world, to live without faith or law,
Desperado! Over there, over there, I will be king!...
Oh! Over there to scalp myself of my European brain!
To swagger, to become once again a virgin antelope,
Without literature, a boy of prey, citizen
Of chance and spouting Californian slang!
A vague and pure settler, stockbreeder, architect,
Hunter, fisherman, gambler, up above the Pandectes!

Translation from Walt Whitman Among The French, Betsy Erkkila. New York: Princeton University Press, 1980.