Part poetry, part notebook writings, this imaginative book is classic Ponge. Here he takes objects to the limits of description, often retracting or rebutting his own pursuits it getting at the essence of such natural wonders as birds, insects, and flowers. Never claiming to it in the act of writing poems, Ponge's technique, presented here from various times and sources, is quite useful to the student of that classic craft. Earnestly translated, this compact book is a true gem of 20th century French letters.—Recommended by Jackson, City Lights Books
In Mute Objects of Expression, Francis Ponge proclaims his goal: to accept the challenge that things—objects—offer to language. These objects and scenes are perceived with unique Pongean art and humor in this volume, centering on the unoccupied southern Loire countryside, where his family lived from 1940 to 1943. Because of wartime shortages, much of the book was drafted in a small notebook that made up his sole supply of paper. The poems recall the voices of Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams and evoke the violent perfume of the mimosa, the cries of carnations, and the flirtations of wasps. He is moved to explore a shadowy town square glimpsed from a bus window. But "to conquer this landscape of Provence? That would be too much!" claimed Ponge. Mute Objects of Expression is one of Ponge's most important and beloved volumes.