Orizet, Jean 1937–

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Orizet, Jean 1937–

PERSONAL: Born March 5, 1937, in Saint-Henry, France; married Isabelle Constantin (an administrator), June 22, 1968; children: Juliette, Anne. Education: Attended universities and colleges in United States; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; and Geneva, Switzerland.

ADDRESSES: Office—Le Cherche Midi, 23, rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Poet, publisher, and vintner. Poésie 1 (quarterly), Paris, France, founding editor, 1960s; Cherche Midi (publishing firm), Paris, founding director, 1960s; international representative for various arts groups, including Alliance Française. Pernod Ricard (wine and spirits firm), Paris, attaché, 1963. Worked in family vineyard and winery, 1960s; worked variously as a gas station attendant, warehouseman, and for wine merchants. Taught at French military academy, Paris. Military service: Served in French military; became second lieutenant;

MEMBER: Académie Mallarmé, French PEN, European Academy of Poetry (founding member, 1996), Association of the Friends of Alain Bosquet (founding member, 1998).

AWARDS, HONORS: Charles Vildrac prize, 1972, for Silencieuse entrave au temps; Max Jacob prize, 1975, for En soi le chaos: poésie 1960–1974;. Apollinaire prize, 1982, for Le voyageur absent; Grand Prix de poésie, Académie Français, 1990, for Poems; Gustave Gasser prize, 1995; named chevalier, French Legion of Honor, 1995.



Errance, Éditions de la Grisière, 1962, reprinted Melis editions (Nice, France), 2001

L'horloge de vie, Gard, G. Chambelland (La Bastided'Orniol, France), 1966.

Miroir oblique, Librairie Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France), 1969.

Silencieuse entrave au temps, illustrated by Max Papart, Librairie Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France), 1972.

Les grandes baleines bleues, Librairie Saint-Germaindes-Prés (Paris, France), 1973.

Adventuriers, RMQS (Méry/Oise, France), 1974.

En soi le chaos: poésie 1960–1974, Éditions Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France), 1975.

Solaire apocalypse; Homme année zéro, Éditions de la Grisière (Mâcon, France), 1975.

Niveaux de survie, P. Belfond (Paris, France), 1978.

Poèmes cueillis dans la prairie, Éditions Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France), 1978.

Le voyageur absent, B. Grasset (Paris, France), 1982.

Poèmes, 1974–1989, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1990.

L'homme et ses masques: Man and His Masks (bilingual collection), translations by Pat Boran, Dedalus (Dublin, Ireland), 1998.

La cendre et l'étoile, poèmes, 1978–2004, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 2005.


Cent poètes pour jeunes d'aujourd'hui (anthology; French poetry), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1980.

L'humour des poètes (anthology), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1981.

Les plus beaux poèmes pour les enfants (anthology; poetry for children), Éditions Saint-Germain-des-Prés, (Paris, France), 1982.

(With others) La nouvelle poésie française (anthology; poems from Poésie 1, number 107), Librairie A. Colin (Paris, France), 1983.

Tiers of Survival: Selected Poems (French and English), translations by Aletha Reed DeWees, Mundus Artium Press (Dallas, TX), 1984.

Gérard Schneider, Schneider: peintures (art collection), L'Autre Musée/La Différence (Paris, France), 1984.

(With Louis Orizet) Les cent plus beaux textes sur le vin, (essays), Cherche Midi (Paris, France) 1984.

(With others) La poésie comique, des origines à nos jours, (anthology), 1986.

(With others) La nouvelle poésie française, (anthology), Poésie 1 (Paris, France), 1987.

Les cent plus beaux poèmes de la langue française (anthology), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1987.

(With others) Anthologie de la poésie française: les poètes et les œuvres, les mouvements et les écoles, Larousse (Paris, France), 1988, revised edition, 1998.

Jules Renard, Les pensées (poetry), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1990.

Françoise Lison-Leroy, Pays géomètre, L'Age d'homme (Lausanne, Switzerland), 1991.

La bibliothèque de poésie France Loisirs, sixteen volumes, France Loisirs (Paris, France), 1992.

(With Marcel Jullian) L'amour de François Villon à Frédérick Tristan: l'information poétique, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1995.

Une anthologie de la poésie amoureuse en France: Xlle-XXe siècle, Bartillat (Etrepilly, France), 1997.

Les poètes et le rire (anthology), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1998.

Les plus beaux sonnets de la langue française, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1999.

Les aventures du regard (literary criticism; French poetry), J.P. Huguet (Loire, France), 1999.

Alphonse Allais, Pensées, textes et anecdotes, 2000.

Jean Joubert (literary criticism), Autres Temps (Marseille, France), 2000.

(With Marcel Jullian) Dossier: poésie et dandysme (anthology), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 2001.

Lettre à Claude Erignac: l'ami assassiné, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 2003.

L'entretemps, brèves histories de l'art, Table Ronde (Paris, France), 2005.


(With others) Blaise Cendrars (literary criticism), Poésie (Paris, France), 1981.

Dits d'un monde en miettes, Éditions Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, France), 1982.

Histoire de l'entretemps: la rame d'Ulysse, Table Ronde (Paris, France), 1985.

La peau du monde, P. Belfond (Paris, France), 1987.

L'épaule du cavalier: histoire de l'entretemps (novel), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1991.

Hommes continuels, Belfond (Paris, France), 1994.

Le miroir de Méduse (fiction), Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1994.

La poussière d'Adam: histoire de l'entretemps (fiction) Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1997.

La vie autrement: à l'ombre douce du temps, Cherche Midi (Paris, France), 1999.

Jean Orizet, Autres temps (Marseille, France), 1999.

L'homme fragile, Castor Astral (Bordeaux, France), 2002.

Jean-Marc Brunet, Fragments Editions (Paris, France), 2003.

SIDELIGHTS: Jean Orizet has been a prominent figure in French poetry since the 1960s, when he founded the publishing house Cherche Midi and cofounded the quarterly Poésie 1. In addition to his many volumes of poetry and prose, Orizet, through Cherche Midi, has also published the work of other poets.

Orizet was born in a small village near Marseille, where his mother was a mathematics professor and his father a vintner. Orizet enjoyed growing grapes and creating wines, and he worked in the family business during the 1960s. The young Orizet began writing at an early age, and he visited the United States through a grant at the age of fifteen. He continued his education in Spain and Switzerland, and he soon became an internationalist who represented France not in public office but as an ambassador of the arts with cultural groups. His friends included the great French poets of the period and, through his work abroad, the poets of many other countries as well. His travels took him throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the United States.

Nicholas Catanoy, in a review of Niveaux de survie for World Literature Today, commented that the poems in the collection honor the pretechnology era and the delicacy of nature. Catanoy noted the poems' "elegant line and clear sound" and added, "Some of the poems are, by turns, roughly realistic. Yet there is an Orizet touch, a world of self-disciplined candor that binds the words in a magnificent tempo."

Le voyageur absent is a collection of prose poems in which Orizet chronicles his travels and describes his various modes of transportation, from a Rolls Royce to a rickshaw. Adelaide M. Russo noted in French Review that "the scenes he transcribes, having all passed through the prism of Orizet's sensibility, share its equal measures of irony, ethical concern, and a sense of history perceived in terms of the political realities of our times and the cultural heritage of the past." Catanoy observed that the most distinctive characteristic of Orizet's work "is not so much its originality as its mixture of openness and cleverness, even the way it sometimes stumbles over its own reality."

L'homme et ses masques: Man and His Masks is a collection of translated poems from five collections that were published from 1978 through 1989. "His themes remain the same throughout," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor, listing them as "the confrontation with emptiness, the persistence of memory, the triumph of irrationality." Mechthild Cranston wrote in World Literature Today that "though often cataclysmic, Orizet's world is not without hope. However, he puts his faith not in the technocrats who crack computer codes, but in the poets who attempt to decipher in the nucleus from which we have scattered like atoms of clay the name and the message of plausible new geneses."

Orizet told CA: "After reading hundreds of books as a young boy, I began to feel the urge of writing poetry when I was twelve. I felt it as necessary as breathing and eating. It has not stopped ever since. Nerval, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarme, Michaux, Borges, Burzetti, Hemingway were some of my first heroes in writing. To describe a writing process is practically impossible, in my view!

"As a writer, and above all, as a poet, I have discovered how the words put together in a certain way could produce a magic emotion and some sort of a mysterious power on human mind and human sensibility. Among the books I wrote, I am particularly attached to Lettre à Claude Erignac: l'ami assassiné. He was like a brother to me, and I will never recover from his assassination by Corsican nationalists in Ajac'cio. I wrote this letter book to keep on being with him beyond death and sorrow.

"If only one or two of my poems could survive me and bring a small spark of joy, hope or pleasure to a few readers, my existence as a poet would be justified. I like very much these lines of Jorge Luis Borges: 'Why do you write? I write for myself, for a few friends, and to soften the course of time.' This is the way I feel myself."



French Review, October, 1983, Adelaide M. Russo, review of Le voyageur absent, pp. 139-140.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1999, review of L'homme et ses masques: Man and His Masks, p. 1775.

World Literature Today, autumn, 1979, Nicholas Catanoy, review of Niveaux de survie p. 646; spring, 1983, Nicholas Catanoy, review of Le voyageur absent, pp. 250-251; spring, 2000, Mechthild Cranston, review of L'homme et ses masques, p. 393.


Cherche Midi Web site, http://cherche-midi.com/ (September 23, 2005), profile of Jean Orizet.

Cordite Poetry Review Online, http://www.cordite.org.au/ (September 23, 2005), "James Stuart Interviews Jean Orizet."