A Certain Plume - Henri Michaux

NYRB Poets


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A Certain Plume by Henri Michaux, translated by Richard Sieburth / ISBN 9781681372266 / 220-page paperback from NYRB Poets

One of my favorite writers. (Also, Richard Sieburth was one of the first people to encourage my research into forgotten writers, way back in 2007 when I started A Journey Round My Skull.)


A bilingual edition of the most famous of Henri Michaux's poetry collections, now in a new translation from the French.

The figure of Plume preoccupied the great Belgian poet Henri Michaux throughout his career. Plume, meaning feather or pen, is a character who drifts from one thing to another, losing shape, taking new forms, at perpetual risk from reality. He is a personification of the imagination as subject to innumerable pratfalls and disgraces, and yet indestructible for all that. In this new bilingual edition, with translations by Richard Sieburth, the entire Plume cycle appears for the first time in English in the form in which Michaux originally published it.

Henri Michaux (1899–1984) was born in Namur, Belgium, the son of a lawyer. After contemplating careers in the church and in medicine, Michaux enlisted in the French merchant marine and traveled around the world. These travels inspired his first two books, Ecuador and A Barbarian in Asia. After settling in Paris, Michaux devoted himself to writing and painting and was soon known all around France—and eventually the world—for his work in both disciplines.

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