It was as a poet that Samuel Beckett launched himself in the little reviews of 1930s Paris, and as a poet that he ended his career. This new selection, from Whoroscope (1930) to 'what is the word' (1988), describes a lifetime's arc of writing. It was as a poet moreover that Beckett made his first breakthrough into writing in French, and the Selected Poems represents work in both languages, including the sequence of brief but highly crafted mirlitonnades, which did so much to usher in the style of his late prose, and come as close as anything he wrote to honouring the ambition to 'bore one hole after another in language, until what lurks behind it - be it something or nothing - begins to seep through.' Also included are several of Beckett's translations from contemporaries - Apollinaire, Eluard, Michaux, Montale - in versions which count among his own poetic achievements.
Edited by David Wheatley
Samuel Beckett was born in Dublin in 1906 and graduated from Trinity College. He settled in Paris in 1937, after travels in Germany and periods of residence in London and Dublin. He remained in France during the Second World War and was active in the French Resistance. From the spring of 1946 his plays, novels, short fiction, poetry and criticism were largely written in French. With the production of En attendant Godot in Paris in 1953, Beckett's work began to achieve widespread recognition. During his subsequent career as a playwright and novelist in both French and English he redefined the possibilities of prose fiction and writing for the theatre. Samuel Beckett won the Prix Formentor in 1961 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. He died in Paris in December 1989.