Francis Ponge was born in Montpellier, France in 1899. His work became known in French literary circles in the early 1920s, primarily through publication in the Nouvelle Revue Français, at a time when Ponge worked for Gallimard publishing house as a production manager. Ponge, who had joined the Socialist Party in 1919, had a brief association with the Surrealists in 1930s, which, in turn, led him to join the Communist Party.
During the same period, he worked for the book distributor Hachette until he was drafted into the army in 1938. In 1942, he published his great masterpiece Parti pris des choses. In the same year Ponge joined the Resistance.
After World War II, Ponge left the Communist Party, and the period from 1947-1951 was a lean time, interrupted by a trip to Algeria in 1947-1948 with Henri Calet and Michel Leiris. From 1952 to 1964 he taught for the Alliance Français in Paris. In 1956 the Novelle Français devoted a special issue to Ponge, in which Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre both praised his work. And throughout the 1960s, Ponge’s work was highly touted by the Tel Quel group, particularly by Philippe Sollers, Jean Thibaudeau and Marcelin Pleynet.
In 1965 Ponge traveled to the United States, lecturing in over sixty venues at various universities. The following year he spent a term as Visiting Professor at Barnard College and Columbia University. In 1972 he was awarded an international prize by The Ingram Merrill Foundation, and two years later Ponge was awarded the Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
BOOKS OF POETRY:
Douze petits écrits (Paris: Gallimard, 1926); Le parti pris des choses (Paris: Gallimard, 1942); La guêpe (Paris: Seghers, 1945); L’œillet, La guêpe, Le mimosa (Lausanne: Mermod, 1946); Le carnet du bois de pins (Lausanne: Mermod, 1947); Proêmes (Paris: Gallimard, 1948); LaSeine (Lausanne: La Guilde du Livre, 1950); Le grand recueil: I. Lyres; II. Méthodes; III. Pièces (Paris: Gallimard, 1961); Tone premier (Paris: Gallimard, 1965); Pour un Malherbe (Paris: Gallimard, 1965); Le savon (Paris: Gallimard, 1967); Nouveau Recueil (Paris: Gallimard, 1967); La fabrique du pré (Geneva: Skira, 1971).
ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRANSLATIONS:
Soap , trans. By Lane Dunlop (New York: Grossman, 1969/Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1998); Things, trans. By Cid Corman (New York: Grossman, 1971); The Voice of Things, trans. By Beth Archer (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972); The Sun Placed in the Abyss and Other Texts, trans.by Serge Gavronsky (New York: Sun, 1977); Vegetation, trans. By Lee Fahnestock (New York: Red Dust, 1987); Selected Poems (Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Wake Forest University Press, 1994).