gb fr

Apollinaire and French poetry of the First World War

Europe House - 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU

To mark the celebration of francophonie week, the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation in collaboration with the Institut Français (London) and the European Commission Representation in the UK is delighted to invite you to a fascinating evening of poetry focusing on the French experience of the First World War and the literature it produced.

Invaded by Germany in 1914, and the scene of much of the fighting on the Western Front, France experienced the First World War as a great national calamity. Just as the war was described in the UK by the war poets, in France the conflict resulted in a wide range of powerful literary responses – patriotic, angry, disillusioned, savage, and distraught. Many of these voices are little known, or are only now being heard again.

This fascinating event will explore French poetic responses to the war, both from the front line and on the home front. It will feature short illustrated presentations and selected readings of poems in both French and English translation.

With a special focus on the brilliant poet Guillaume Apollinaire, who served as both as an artilleryman and infantry officer, the event will also feature work by a range of other poets, male and female, who together shed light on the distinctive responses of French writers to the horrors of modern warfare.  

David Hunter is author of Apollinaire in the Great War 1914-1918, published in early 2015 by Peter Owen Publishers. He is also on the board of the Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation.

Stephen Romer is a poet, translator and academic, whose collection Yellow Studio was published by Carcanet in 2008. He has translated French Decadent Tales for OUP and is the editor of Twentieth-century French Poems (Faber) and Into the Deep Street: 7 Modern French Poets (Anvil ).

Dylan Read is a graduate of the Jacques Lecoq international theatre school in Paris. He performs in both French and English in the UK and abroad. He is currently working on a theatre piece based on Charles Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen.

This event is free of charge, but booking is essential. Please go to to reserve your place. Doors open at 6.30 pm and the event will start promptly at 7.00 pm. Europe House will kindly offer a glass of wine before and after the event.