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Avant-garde poet who wrote in French, but was of a pan-European background. Apollinaire was extremely prolific during his shortened life, especially considering his service in World War I, and this WU only tries to list his most important works. He was the archetypical bohemian.

Born August 26, 1880, outside of Rome. Died November 9, 1918, as a result of Spanish Grippe, which he got after having being weakened by a war wound he sustained in March, 1916. His head was wounded by a shell fragment while he was reading an issue of Mercure de France.

Apollinaire was tight-lipped about his origins, but his mother was probably Angelica de Kostowitzky. His father was most likely Fransesco Flugi d'Aspermont. Guillaume had a brother, also illegitimate, named Albert.

As a boy, he lived in Italy, Monaco, on the French Riviera, and in Paris, and he pretended to be a Russian prince.

He went to school Collège Saint-Charles in Monaco, and various other schools in Cannes and Nice.

He moved to Paris in 1902.

In 1903 he founded Le Festin d'Esope, a literary review. It lasted a bit more than a year.

L'Enchanteur Pourrissant in 1909 was his first collection of poems, which was illustrated by Derain.

He published a book of stories, L'Hérésiarque et Cie, in 1910.

He published a book of poems, Le Bestiare, in 1911, which featured woodcuts by Raoul Dury.

In September, 1911, Apollinaire was arrested and held in jail for 6 days because a friend of his had stolen a few small statues from the Louvre. This was during the time that the Mona Lisa had been stolen, and he was under suspicion for that crime.

Les Peintres Cubistes(The Cubist Painters) was published in 1913, the result of his talks with Picasso, Picabia, Marcoussis, and others.

In 1913 Alcools was published, a collection of poems which is perhaps his most famous work

He wrote the futurist manifesto L'Antitradition Futuriste in 1913, also.

In 1914, though an Italian citizen, he joined the French army as a volunteer. He served in the artillery for two years before becoming an infantry lieutenant.

In 1916, after being wounded and undergoing a series of operations, he started working for the French Bureau of Censorship.

He published his other great poetry collection, Calligrammes, in 1916, as well as the play Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The Breast of Tiresias) and Le Poète Assasiné (The Poet Assassinated).

He married Jacqueline Kolb, the last in a series of romances, in May 1918.

November 9, he died.

In his life, Apollinaire was associated with pornography, crime, war, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, Orphism, dada, theatre of the absurd and modernism. He was friends with Alfred Jarry, Pablo Picasso, Marie Laurencin (also his lover for a time), and André Derain.


My favorite poem of his- very heartwrenching:

L'Adieu

J'ai cueilli ce crin de bruyère
L'automne est morte souviens-t'en
Nouse ne nous verrons plus sur terre
Odeur du temps brin de bruyère
Et souviens toi que je t'attends

translation by Roger Shattuck

The Farewell

I picked this fragile sprig of heather
Autumn has died long since remember
Never again shall we see one another
Odor of time sprig of heather
Remember I await our time together

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