Twenty Prose Poem
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Twenty Prose Poem

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  341 ratings  ·  15 reviews

From the introduction by Michael Hamburger:

"Baudelaire's prose poems were written at long intervals during the last twelve or thirteen years of his life. The prose poem was a medium much suited to his habits and character. Being pre-eminently a moralist, he needed a medium that enabled him to illustrate a moral insight as briefly and vividly as possible. Being an artist

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Paperback, 0 pages
Published September 5th 1968 by Penguin Books (first published 1968)
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Anna
Apr 26, 2007 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: God, everyone
Shelves: poetry
I adore this book. Yes, adore.

Twenty Prose Poems (or, if you must, Petits Poemes en Prose) is a 70-some page book, and half of it is the French originals. When a friend passed it on to me more than a month ago, I thought I'd devour the thing in a day or two. But it turned out that my usually voracious appetite for reading only wanted one, maybe two prose poems a day. And not because they are particularly dense, or difficult, or dull--in fact, just the opposite. I enjoyed each one of these strang...more
Kris
A beautiful quick set of rich pieces of prose. Most of these I believe are in Paris Spleen, but since I read this first, it's what created my love for Baudelaire. Even with a limited knowledge of literature I feel one could appreciate the simple and engaging little slices of life he's fashioned. Definitely would love to have analyzed these in a lit class, and I'll for sure return to them again some day.
Black Elephants
Jocose. Grim. Lovely. Sample:

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing.

But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk.

And if, at some time on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you are waking up when drunkenness has already abated, ask the wi...more
Cheyenne Black
If you like vision and saucy philosophers, read this book.
N.T.
Presented in both French and English, it is a walk through observations, Paris and age and time and perverts/society included. (The Double Room was personally appreciated, thinking of my own writing room) It is playful, with language lifting, and I appreciated being offered both languages. The intro makes the case for the prose poem and the limits of French poetic form during Baudelaire's time--thus why these efforts allowed more, essentially, to be said.
Jerome K
I found this in a secondhand bookshop. And since I'd heard so much of Baudelaire but haven't read anything of his, I decided to pick it up and was pleasantly surprised by his "prose poems". It's a bit like Barthes' Mythologies, but less pointed. I imagine Baudelaire would've been great to share a bottle of wine with and just talk all day. It's a fun little collection.
Dean
One of the best books of poetry I've read. Baudelaire has a great, twisted sense of humor and is also able to conjure up wonderful images. I'm definitely planning to check out Les Fleurs Du Mal after this one.
Bill  Kerwin

There is some great stuff here of course, but it doesn't sing in this Michael Hamburger translation. It's been a long time since I read the Richard Howard or Varese translations, but I think they are better.
Nicolas Shump
My favorite poem so far is On Drunkenness, which I used to share with my students either at the beginning or the end of the semester. Good stuff!
Abbi Dion
So many wonderful observations, ironies, bits of lyrical wonder and despair. "assommons les pauvres" and "la soupe et les nuages" are classic.
Omri
I simply loved the prose poems of Baudelaire. It is one of the books I'm constantly returning to, and finding it relevant at every
Courtney
Baudelaire addresses the dark themes of urban 19th century Parisian life -- wine, opium, poverty and violence -- with lyrical, free prose.
June
Monsieur Baudelaire's conflicted longings to immerse himself in / separate himself from the world shall forever bind us.
Kristin
I especially liked "The Fool and the Venus," "The Eyes of the Poor" and "The Generous Gamester."
Henri Broeders

Un exemple de la littérature parfaite pour le mot juste et l'expression
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Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary and art critic whose reputation rests primarily on Les Fleurs du mal; (1857; The Flowers of Evil) which was perhaps the most important and influential poetry collection published in Europe in the 19th century. Similarly, his Petits poèmes en prose (1868; "Little Prose Poems") was the most successful and innovative early ex...more
More about Charles Baudelaire...
Les Fleurs du Mal Paris Spleen Baudelaire: Poems On Wine and Hashish Flowers of Evil and Other Works/Les Fleurs du Mal et Oeuvres Choisies : A Dual-Language Book (Dover Foreign Language Study Guides) (English and French Edition)

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Charles Baudelaire: Get Drunk
One should always be drunk. That's all that matters; that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows you down, you must get drunk without ceasing.

But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on the steps of a palace, in the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you are waking up when drunkenness has already abated, ask the wind, the wave, a star, the clock, all that which flees, all that which groans, all that which rolls, all that which sings, all that which speaks, ask them what time it is; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock will reply: 'It is time to get drunk! So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk, and never pause for rest! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose!'
-- Charles Baudelaire, tr. Michael Hamburger
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“The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries out in terror before being vanquished.” 9 likes
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