Seghers, Pierre 1906-1987

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Seghers, Pierre 1906-1987
(Pierre Paul Charles Seghers)


Born January 5, 1906, in Paris, France; died, 1987, in Créteil, France; son of Charles and Marthe Seghers; married Colette Peugniez, 1968; children: two (from previous marriage). Education: Collège de Carpentras, Vaucluse, France; University of Paris.


Writer, poet, editor, critic, publisher, and producer. Poetes Casques, founder and editor, published as Poesie, 1940, 1941-48; producer and distributor of clandestine publications, 1940-44; Committee National des Ecrivains, founding member; Autour du monde (anthology of foreign poets), founder, 1951; producer of two films and numerous radio and television productions; producer of shows at la Comedie des Champs-Elysees, Theatre de la Ville, and others. Military service: Collaborator with French Liberation during World War II.


Honorary degrees include LL. D., University of Paris, and D. Honoris causa, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.


(With Loys Masson, André de Richaud, and Pierre Emmanuel) Pour les quatre seasons (title means "For the Four Seasons"), Seghers (Villeneuve-lés- Avignon, France), 1942.

(With Claude Bellanger) Poètes prisonniers, two volumes, M. Audin (Lyon, France), 1943–44.

(With Roger Lannes and Henri Parisot) Jacques Cocteau, Seghers (Paris, France), 1945.

Le domaine public, Segher (Paris, France), 1945, L. Parizeau (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1946.

(Editor and author of intoduction) Poésie, 39-45 (anthology), Editions Poetry (London, England), 1947.

Le mur du son, L'Imprimerie Union (Paris, France), 1953.

(Editor, with Alain Bosquet) Les Poèmes de l'année, Seghers (Paris, France), 1954–71.

(With Jacques Charpier) L'art poétique, Seghers (Paris, France), 1956.

(Translator, with Ladislas Gara) Gyula Illyés, Poèmes, Seghers (Paris, France), 1956.

(Compiler, with Alain Bosquet) Les poèmes de l'année 1957, Seghers (Paris, France), 1957. L'art de la peinture, Seghers (Paris, France), 1957, reprinted, 1970.

(Editor, with Alain Bosquet) Les poèmes de l'année 1958, Seghers (Paris, France), 1958.

Piranesi, Ides et Calendes (Neuchatel, France), 1960.

Le livre d'or de la poésie française contemporaine de 1940 à 1960, Gérard (Verviers, France), 1960.

Le livre d'or de la poésie française, des origines à 1940, Gérard (Verviers, France), 1961.

(Editor, with Jacques Charpier) The Art of Painting, Hawthorn Books (New York, NY), 1964.

(Editor, with Jacques Charpier) The Art of Painting from the Baroque through Postimpressionism, Hawthorn Books (New York, NY), 1964.

(Editor, with Jacques Charpier) The Art of Painting from Prehistory throughout the Renaissance, Hawthorn Books (New York, NY), 1964.

(Editor, with Jacques Charpier and Sally T. Abeles) The Art of Painting in the Twentieth Century, Hawthorn Books (New York, NY), 1965.

La France à livre ouvert: choix de texts et de photographies, L'Imiprimerie Moderne del'Est (Besançon, France), 1965.

(Compiler, with Alain Bosquet) Les poèmes de l'année 1966, Seghers (Paris, France), 1967.

Pierre Seghers. Poètes d'aujourd'hui, Editions Seghers (Paris, France), 1967.

Pierre Seghers … choix de textes … bibliographie … , Seghers (Paris, France), 1967.

(Compiler, with Alain Bosquet) Les poèmes de l'année [1968], Seghers (Paris, France), 1968.

Le livre d'or de la poésie française: seconde partie (tome deux): de 1940 à 1960, Marabout (Verviers, France), 1969.

Les Mots couverts, Editeurs Français Réunis (Paris, France), 1970.

(Compiler, with Alain Bosquet) Les poèmes de l'année 1971, Seghers (Paris, France), 1971.

(Editor, with Pierre de Ronsard) Les amours, Rombaldi (Paris, France), 1971.

(With Antoni Clavé) Clavé, Tudor (New York, NY), 1972, reprinted in English, Ediciones Poligrafa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Dis-moi, ma vie, A. De Rache (Brussels, Belgium), 1972.

(Editor) Le livre d'or de la poésie française contemporaine de H à Z, Marabout (Verviers, France), 1972.

Le livre d'or de la poésie française, Marabout (Verviers, France), 1972.

Pierre Sechers … choix de poèmes … bibliographie … , Seghers (Paris, France), 1973.

(With Gilberte Aigrisse and Roger Bodart) Psychogenèse d'un poème: la route du sel, A. De Rache (Brussels, Belgium), 1973.

Le livre d'or de la poésie française contemporaine, Gérard (Verviers, France), 1973–79.

La Résistance et ses poètes: France, 1940-1945, 2nd edition, Seghers (Paris, France), 1974.

Joe Downing, Bellint (Paris, France), 1977.

Le temps des merveilles: [oeuvre poétique] 1938-1978, Seghers (Paris, France), 1978.

Livre d'or du "Divân" de Hâfiz: la vie et l'ouvre du plus célèbre poète persan, Seghers (Paris, France), 1978.

Louis Jou: architected u livre et des baux, Fondation Louis Jou (les Baux-de-Provence), 1980.

(Editor, with Jacques Charpier) Monsu Desiderio, ou, Le théâtre de la fin du monde, R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1981.

(With Pinging Hu and M.-T. Lambert) Sagesse et poésies chinoises, R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1981.

Occupation allemande et résistance intellectuelle, edited by M. Zimmermann, Cornelsen-Velhagen & Klasing (Berlin, Germany), 1982.

Fortune infortune fort une, L'Auteur (Paris, France), 1984.

(Editor, with Claude Gertier) Le livre d'or du haïkaï, R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1984.

(Editor, with Dominique Halbout du Tanney) Yunus Emre, Le livre de l'amour sublime, Seghers (Paris, France), 1987.

(With Omar Khayyam), Omar Khayyam: sa vie et ses quatrains Rubâ'iyât, Seghers (Paris, France), 1987.

(Adapter and author of preface) Hâfiz, Le Livre d'or du Divân, Seghers (Paris, France), 1991.

Le chien de ique, Ides et calends; La Bibliothèque des arts (Paris, France), 1994.

(With Hélène Issoire and Marthe Issoire) Quand Pierre Seghers écrivait à deux Nîmoises (letters and poems), C. Lacour (Nîmes, France), 1995.

Author of introductions to numerous books; works have been published in English and Spanish. Established the publication series "Poètes d'aujourd'hui."


Pierre Seghers was a French poet, writer, and publisher whose dedication to poetry and literature even persevered during France's occupation by the Germans during World War II. During that time, he continued to publish his journal Poesie, an effort that, according to Nicholas Hewitt writing in the Journal of European Studies, "provides an example how Resistance literature could still flourish." Hewitt went on to note: "Its goal of maintaining an ‘Ecole Francaise’ asserted the ideal of Frenchness which stood opposed to the alien German culture. The fact that Poesie survived into the post-war period indicates the strength of its editorial integrity which was highly problematic during the Vichy years."

Seghers is also known for establishing the publication series "Poètes d'aujourd'hui," wherein each issue was devoted to a particular poet, with the sixty-seventh issue published in 1967 devoted to Seghers and his work as a poet and publisher. Titled Pierre Seghers. Poètes d'aujourd'hui, the volume represents a "description of the journey of Seghers' poetic soul from its earliest exposures to literature to his most recent venture," wrote Virginia A. La Charité in the Modern Language Review. The reviewer went on to call the volume "a well-written and informative view of the century as seen by one of its major figures."

Seghers also published, with Alain Bosquet, an anthology series of poetry known as "Les Poèmes de l'année," which means "Poems of the Year." Louis E. Auld, writing in the Modern Language Journal, noted that the series "fulfills a function different from that of the usual anthology; it offers a tasting, as it were, of the new crus." Auld also wrote: "Few men are as well prepared as Messrs. Seghers and Bosquet to select from among upwards of a thousand annual poetic publications."

Among the author's own poetry collections is Piranesi. Inspired by the Carceri engravings of prison-like environments by the artist Piranesi, the long poem is broken into twenty-seven short sections. First published in 1960, the poem deals with how humans are imprisoned in various ways. It was also inspired by the author's own experiences during the Nazi occupation of France. Writing in Booklist, Pat Monaghan noted that the book contains a similar "hallucinatory power" as that produced by Piranesi in his engravings. Modern Language Review contributor Martin Sorrell noted: "This poetry has a somber simplicity and nearregularity," adding that "it is an uncomplicated, powerful testimony to that tragic moment in French history." A wide range of the author's poetry was also published in Le temps des merveilles: [oeuvre poétique] 1938- 1978. Writing in World Literature Today, Nicholas Catanoy called it a "powerful book packed with tension and spirit, representing a clear delineation of his oeuvre poétique."



Booklist, November 15, 1993, Pat Monaghan, review of Piranesi.

Europe: Revue Litteraire Mensuelle, July-August, 1974, Jacques Gaucheron, "Pierre Seghers et le romancer des années nories," pp. 271-279.

French Review, February, 1987, Gérard R. Montbertrand, review of Fortune infortune fort une, pp. 436-437.

Journal of European Studies, March-June, 1993, Nicholas Hewitt, "Independent Publishing in Vichy France: The Case of Pierre Segher's Poesie, p. 193.

Modern Language Journal, February, 1969, Virginia A. La Charité, review of Pierre Seghers. Poètes d'aujourd'hui, pp. 121-122; October, 1970, Louis E. Auld, review of Les poèmes de l'année [1968], pp. 470-471; April, 1995, Martin Sorrell, review of Piranesi, pp. 463-464.

World Literature Today, autumn, 1978, Nicholas Catanoy, review of Le temps des merveilles: oeuvre poétique, 1938-1978, pp. 593-594.