Just as they were posting the mobilization orders
We understood my comrade and I
That the little auto had driven us into a New Era
And although we were both already grown men
We had just been born
In late 1914 Apollinaire swapped the high life of avant-garde Paris for the mud and desolation of war in the trenches. But his poems of this period are wholly different from those that for English readers have come to define the genre of war poetry: exploding shells are compared to champagne bottles, and juxtaposed with the orgy of destruction are nostalgia for antiquity, impatience for the future, melancholy and exuberance.,p. Apollinaire died in 1918. The new translations in this bilingual edition comprise mostly poems written after 1914, but include Zone (in the first English version since Samuel Beckett s to match the original s use of rhyme) and some other pre-war poems. A century later, they remain as daring and alive as when they were written.
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