Poetry

Home "Bois-Debout"

  • The Caribbean cycle
    • Praises : Written on the Door, To Celebrate a Childhood, Pictures for Crusoe, 1911-1925, 1948
    • The Glory of Kings : Recitation in Praise of a Queen, The Regent’s Story, 1911-1925
  • The Asian cycle
    • Anabasis, 1924 (the first poem signed under the pen-name Saint-John Perse)
    • The Glory of Kings (continuation) : Friendship of the Prince, Song of the Heir Presumptive, Lullaby, 1925-1948
  • The American cycle
    • Exile : Exile, Rains, Snows, Poem for a Foreign Lady, 1944
    • Winds, 1946
    • Seamarks, 1957
  • The Mediterranean cycle
    • Chronicle, 1960
    • Birds, 1962
    • Sung by One Who Was There, 1969
    • Song for an Equinox, 1971
    • Nocturne, 1973
    • Drought, 1974

Other poems

Désir de créole (Creole Desire)
First published by Oruno Lara in La Guadeloupe littéraire, March 1, 1908, then in Contribution of Guadeloupe to French thought, Paris, Crès, in 1936. Edmond Dupland reprinted the poem in Saint-John Perse, antillanity and universality, eds. Henriette Levillain and Mireille Sacotte, Paris, Caribbean editions, 1988.
Dernier aveu (Final Confession)
Published in 1908 in Fleurs tropicales, an anthology of Guadeloupian poets edited by Oruno Lara.
Des Villes sur trois modes (Cities In Three Modes)
Dated 1906, published in Pan, July-August 1908 and revised for the Pléiade edition.
L'Incertain (The Uncertain One)
Signed Just-Alexis Leger, dated May 1907, published in 2001 by Claude Thiébaut in Modernité de Saint-John Perse ?, ed. Catherine Mayaux, Besançon, Franche-Comté University Press.
L'Animale (The Animal)
Dated June 1907, published by Albert Henry in the Cahiers Saint-John Perse 4, Paris, Gallimard, 1981.
Cohorte (Cohort) or Pour fêter les oiseaux (To Celebrate Birds)
Dated 1907, withdrawn from the New French Review in 1911 and rewritten for the Pléiade edition.
Poème pour Valery Larbaud (Poem for Valery Larbaud)
Dated 1922, published in Intentions in 1925 then in the Pléiade edition.

Translations

Pindar’s Pythians (I, III, XII)
Dated 1906, partially rewritten for the Pléiade edition, reprinted in Les Cahiers Saint-John Perse 5, Paris, Gallimard, 1982, and in Françoise E. E. Henry, Saint-Leger Leger translator of Pindar, Paris, Gallimard, 1986.
Aumône aux hommes de peu de poids (Alms to men of little weight)
An adaptation of verses by T.S. Eliot, published in Commerce in 1924 and then in the Pléiade edition.
Sur une peinture d’un bonze zen de la période Tokugawa (A painting of a zen monk of the Tokugawa period)
Published in Honor of Saint-John Perse, Paris, Gallimard, 1965.

Saint-John Perse’s poetic works are available in three volumes in the Gallimard Poetry edition. Gallimard had previously published volume I in 1953 and volume II in 1960. The individual poems first appeared in separate volumes, usually published by Gallimard. Publication dates refer to the first edition of each text.

The collection entitled Praises has a complex structure that was elaborated over the course of successive editions. The same is true of The Glory of Kings, a work that combines texts from the Caribbean and Asian periods. Saint-John Perse’s last four poems were published in 1975 in a posthumous volume entitled Song for an Equinox.