Guillaume Apollinaire quotes

Guillaume Apollinaire photo
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Guillaume Apollinaire

Birthdate: 26. August 1880
Date of death: 9. November 1918

Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic of Polish descent.

Apollinaire is considered one of the foremost poets of the early 20th century, as well as one of the most impassioned defenders of Cubism and a forefather of Surrealism. He is credited with coining the term "cubism" in 1911 to describe the emerging art movement and the term "surrealism" in 1917 to describe the works of Erik Satie. The term Orphism is also his. Apollinaire wrote one of the earliest Surrealist literary works, the play The Breasts of Tiresias , which became the basis for the 1947 opera Les mamelles de Tirésias.

Two years after being wounded in World War I, Apollinaire died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918; he was 38.

Works

Alcools
Alcools
Guillaume Apollinaire
Calligrammes
Calligrammes
Guillaume Apollinaire

„Geometry is to the plastic arts what grammar is to the art of the writer.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire

La géométrie est aux arts plastiques ce que la grammaire est à l'art de l'écrivain.
Les peintres cubistes (1913), reprinted in Oeuvres en prose complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 1991) vol. 2, p. 11; translation from Lionel Abel (trans.) The Cubist Painters (New York: Wittenborn, 1949) p. 13.

„Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It's too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came
And he pushed
And they flew.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire

Christopher Logue's poem "Come to the Edge" from New Numbers (London: Cape, 1969) pp. 65-66. It was originally written for a poster advertising an Apollinaire exhibition at the ICA in 1961 or 1962, and was titled "Apollinaire Said"; hence it is often misattributed to Apollinaire (Source: Quote…Unquote Newsletter, July 1995, p. 2).
Misattributed

„We hurry since everything hurries
And I shall never not return
Memories are all archaic horns
Silenced by the wind.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

Passons passons puisque tout passe
Je me retournerai souvent
Les souvenirs sont cors de chasse
Dont meurt le bruit parmi le vent
"Cors de chasse" (Hunting Horns), line 9; translation from Donald Revell (trans.) Alcools (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1995) p. 159.
Alcools (1912)

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„One day
One day I waited for myself
I said to myself Guillaume it's time you came
So I could know just who I am
I who know others“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

Un jour
Un jour je m'attendais moi-même
Je me disais Guillaume il est temps que tu viennes
Pour que je sache enfin celui-là que je suis
Moi qui connais les autres
"Cortège", line 19; translation from Roger Shattuck (trans.) Selected Writings of Guillaume Apollinaire (New York: New Directions, 1971) p. 75.
Alcools (1912)

„I've made a song for the poorly loved
And songs for everything I grieved –
For unaccompanied slave and shark,
For queens who've gone into the dark.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

Moi qui sais des lais pour les reines
Les complaintes de mes années
Des hymnes d'esclave aux murènes
La romance du mal-aimé
Et des chansons pour les sirènes
"La Chanson du Mal-Aimé" (Song of the Poorly Loved), line 91; translation by William Meredith, from Francis Steegmuller Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 97.
Alcools (1912)

„And now comes the summer of violence
And my youth is as dead as the springtime
O Sun it is the time of fiery Reason“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Calligrammes

Voici que vient l'été la saison violente
Et ma jeunesse est morte ainsi que le printemps
Ô soleil c'est le temps de la raison ardente
"La jolie rousse" (The Pretty Redhead), line 31; p. 135.
Calligrammes (1918)

„O mouths humanity seeks a new language
Beyond the reach of grammarians“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Calligrammes

Ô bouches l'homme est a la recherche d'un nouveau langage
Auquel le grammairien d'aucune langue n'aura rien à dire
"Victoire" (Victory), line 21; p. 125.
Calligrammes (1918)

„O pretty ship, my memory
Isn't this far enough to sea,
And the sea not fit to drink?
Haven't we drifted far and lost
From fair dawn to dreary dusk?“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

Mon beau navire ô ma mémoire
Avons-nous assez navigué
Dans une onde mauvaise à boire
Avons-nous assez divagué
De la belle aube au triste soir
"La Chanson du Mal-Aimé" (Song of the Poorly Loved), line 51; translation by William Meredith, from Francis Steegmuller Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 95.
Alcools (1912)

„Nor days nor any time detain.
Time past or any love
Cannot come again.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
"Le Pont Mirabeau" (Mirabeau Bridge), line 19; translation by William Meredith, from Francis Steegmuller Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 193.
Alcools (1912)

„I picked this sprig of heather
Autumn has died you must remember
We shall not see each other ever
I'm waiting and you must remember
Time's perfume is a sprig of heather“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

J'ai cueilli ce brin de bruyère
L'automne est morte souviens-t'en
Nous ne nous verrons plus sur terre
Odeur du temps brin de bruyère
Et souviens-toi que je t'attends
"L'Adieu" (The Farewell), line 1; translation from Donald Revell (trans.) Alcools (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1995) p. 83.
Alcools (1912)

„From this new alliance – for until now costume and scenery on one hand, choreography on the other, have been linked only artificially – there has resulted in Parade a kind of sur-réalisme.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire

De cette alliance nouvelle, car jusqu'ici les décors et les costumes, d'une part, la choréographie, d'autre part, n'avaient entre eux qu'un lien factice, il est résulté, dans Parade, une sorte de sur-réalisme.
Excelsior, May 11, 1917; translation from Michael Benedikt & George E. Wellwarth (eds.) Modern French Theatre (New York: Dutton, 1964) p. xvii.
The first usage of the word surrealism in any language.

„And love runs down like this
Water, love runs down.
How slow life is,
How violent hope is.“

—  Guillaume Apollinaire, book Alcools

L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
L'amour s'en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'Espérance est violente
"Le Pont Mirabeau" (Mirabeau Bridge), line 13; translation by William Meredith, from Francis Steegmuller Apollinaire: Poet Among the Painters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973) p. 193.
Alcools (1912)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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