Yves Bonnefoy

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For the community in California, see Bonnefoy, California.
Yves Bonnefoy (born 24 June 1923) is a French poet and essayist. Bonnefoy was born in Tours, Indre-et-Loire, the son of a railroad worker and a teacher.

His works have been of great importance in post-war French literature, at the same time poetic and theoretical, examining the meaning of the spoken and written word. He has also published a number of translations, most notably Shakespeare and published several works on art and art history, including Miró and Giacometti.


He studied mathematics and philosophy at the Universities of Poitiers and the Sorbonne university in Paris. After the Second World War he travelled in Europe and the United States and studied art history. From 1945 to 1947 he was associated with the Surrealists in Paris (a short-lived influence that is at its strongest in his first published work, Traité du pianiste (1946)). But it is with the highly personal Du mouvement et de l'immobilité de Douve (1953) that Bonnefoy found his voice and that his name first came to public notice. Bonnefoy's style is remarkable for the deceptive simplicity of his vocabulary. Starkness of expression is combined with a deeply-ingrained sensuality and a longing for an (unattainable) 'other place', which comes to define human experience. In 1967 he joined with André du Bouchet, Gaëtan Picon, and Louis-René des Forêts to found L'éphemère, a journal of art and literature. Although it is his poetry...
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