In 1908, a small volume of poetry was published in Paris by an unknown author named A.O. Barnabooth - who in fact did not exist. Only after the book received favorable reviews by major French writers and critics did its real author, Valery Larbaud, step forward to claim Barnabooth as his alter ego. The revised and expanded 1913 edition of the book, with Larbaud credited as its author, has become a classic, eventually being included in the esteemed Pleiade series of books devoted to great French writers and has remained in print in France for almost 100 years now. In "The Poems of A.O. Barnabooth", Larbaud expresses an ambivalent yearning for exotic places where one might be exalted by both the sadness and the beauty of life. He is fascinated by otherness. But, as Rimbaud put it, I is another. Larbaud/Barnabooth says, I always write with a mask upon my face. but sometimes this mask dissolves. Larbaud's modulation between cynical despair and the simple pleasures of everyday life bare the mercurial heart of a young poet fascinated by the mystery of identity, making "The Poems of A.O. Barnabooth" the marvelous and modern book that it is.
This current bilingual edition, translated by the poets Ron Padgett and Bill Zavatsky, includes an introduction, additional poems by Larbaud, period post card illustrations, and detailed notes for all the poems.show more