Ten memorable works to understand poetry

Between the structure of modern lyricism and poetry from the antiquity, the energy of silence and word keep flowing, despite claims that after Auschwitz, lyricism was impossible. How can one choose ten poems among the almost infinite sequence of poems that create something from the fugitive, from the sacred or from the nothing? From Pindarus to Rilke, from Garcilaso to Baudelaire, any choice is a risk. Here are the ten poems of my big gamble.


Farai un vers de dreit nien
(I will make a poem about absolutely nothing)


(ca. 1100)

“Moderns imitating the ancient is not too difficult; ancient imitating the moderns is almost impossible, but when that happens, it is a prodigy”. This is the case in this poem by Guilhem de Peitieu, the gateway to chivalric lyricism, the origin of modern poetry, according to some, and he does so under the sign of negation: about nothing, not even himself, not about anybody, not about love, and concludes that “the poem is already done”, that is, a pure poem, without references, only phonemes, words, words.