Additional Book Information

Series: Ugly Duckling Presse
ISBN: 9781933254722
Pages: 80
Publication Date: June 1, 2010


by Guillevic, translated from the French by Richard Sieburth


Guillevic wrote Geometries (Euclidiennes in French) in the early sixties, encouraged by his friend, the poet André Frenaud, who recognized in his poetry an inclination toward mathematics, and more specifically geometry. Guillevic places a series of geometrical figures before our eyes, as they might appear in a schoolchild's primer, paired with poems that let us hear how these forms might speak. These talking circles, squares and angles—these articulations of space—are in turn meant to remind us of our own figures of speech. Guillevic's Geometries fits into the 1960s return to emblems, signs, and playful constraints both in art (Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and even Andy Warhol) and in writing (the Noigandres poets, Oulipo, Eugen Gomringer, the Robert Creeley of Pieces). But at the same time, the Euclidean world of forms here explored remains as timeless as the stones of Guillevic's own Carnac.


Such delight! Who knew a poet could wrestle such sexy moves from old Euclid's boxy shapes! That a French poet did so doesn't come as much of a surprise, Guillevic being a master of small, perfectly crafted camées. Now admirably Englished by Richard Sieburth these gems have kept all their Gallic lightness and grace—that's a true achievement
—Pierre Joris

Geometries manages to combine abstract emotions with abstract theoretical mathematics and into a slim book of universal insight, forcing one to reconsider the greater good that math and poetry can achieve. It does so with charm and poise, making this dance between lyric and figure seem effortless. Love and an x/y axis were never more compatible.

Sieburth stealthily draws the poems down that line into a wonderfully pleasing feeling that something true has been discovered in the oddest of ways.
—Jennifer Kronovet

Geometries revels in the simplicity of structure, but knows that each profile has its own language.
Make Magazine

A sparkling new translation of Guillevic’s masterpiece

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