|Birth Day:||July 26, 1935|
|Death Date:||Apr 10, 2006 (age 70)|
As per our current Database, Claude Esteban died on Apr 10, 2006 (age 70).
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In 1968, he published his first book of poems, La Saison dévastée (The Season of Devastation), quickly followed by other books made with artists such as Arpad Szenes, Jean Bazaine and Raoul Ubac. These books were gathered in his first large collection of poems, published by Flammarion in 1979, Terres, travaux du cœur (Earthes, works of heart). At the same time, he published Un lieu hors de tout lieu (A Place out of any Place), an essay on poetry which, starting from the initial evocation of Virgil's Georgics, builds a reflection on poetry and a manifesto for new poetics, marked by the nostalgia of "a place out of any place" and by "a duty to seek" a new "conjuncture" between words and things.
He was a contributor to the Mercure de France from 1964, then to the Nouvelle Revue Française, in which he wrote many articles on poets and painters. In 1973, he founded the literary magazine Argile, at Maeght, with the moral support of René Char: its twenty-four issues testified to the complicity between poetry and painting, while granting a new space to translated foreign poetry. He also dedicated a monograph to Chillida, and to Palazuelo, and wrote prefaces for many exhibitions catalogs of painters such as Raoul Ubac, Vieira da Silva, Arpad Szenes, Castro, Fermín Aguayo, Giorgio Morandi, Josef Sima, Bacon, Giacometti, Braque, Le Brocquy, Chagall, etc. (Most of these texts were published again in volumes, see infra).
He experienced very early on a deep admiration for the work of the great Spanish poet Jorge Guillén; they became friends, and he translated in 1977 most of Guillén's major book, Cántico for Éditions Gallimard — Guillén himself translated into Spanish some of Esteban's poems, which he inserted in his last book, Final (1982). Esteban also translated many Octavio Paz's works, such as El Mono gramático (The Monkey Grammarian). In 1980, under the title of Poèmes parallèles, he published an anthology of his translations, of which the preface, "Traduire", sets down the principles of an original reflection on poetics and on the translation of poetry. In 1987, he collected his essays on poetry and poetics in Critique de la raison poétique (Critique of Poetic Reason).
In 1984, he received the Mallarmé prize for the prose poems of Conjoncture du corps et du jardin (Conjuncture of Body and Garden). The same year, he founded the Poésie collection at the Editions Flammarion, in which he published a new generation of poets.
In 1989, three years after the death of his wife —the painter Denise Esteban—, he wrote Elégie de la mort violente (Elegy of the Violent Death), poems about mourning and memory. In 1993, he wrote Sept jours d'hier (Seven Days of yesterday), a remarkable suite of dense short poems that follow the "routes of mourning" and opens up the way of an appeasement. Deeply marked by the figure of King Lear, he published in 1996 Sur la dernière lande (On the last Heath), poems of wandering that evoke the figures of Shakespeare's tragedy. The year after, the Société des gens de lettres (SGDL) awarded him the Grand Prix of poetry for his whole work.
Painting remained for him a major interest. In 1991, he received the France Culture Prize for Soleil dans une pièce vide (Sun in an empty Room), poetic narrations inspired by Edward Hopper's paintings. He continued to write essays on art and published some luminous approaches of Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Claude Lorrain, Rembrandt, Murillo..., until his last essay dedicated to Caravaggio, L'Ordre donnée à la nuit (The Order given to the Night), in which he draws the outlines of his art approach.
It is still painting, that of the Faiyum portraits, which caused the writing of a splendid suite of poems, Fayoum, published in 2001 by Gallimard in Morceaux de ciel, presque rien (Pieces of sky, hardly anything), that earned him the Prix Goncourt of poetry. In 2004, he published his ultimate reflections on poetry in Ce qui retourne au silence (What returns to silence), which also includes an essay on Robert Bresson and another on Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Tales.
Shortly before his death, an anthology of his poems came out — Le Jour à peine écrit (1967-1992) (The Day scarcely written) — while the manuscript of his last book and poetic legacy was completed under the title of La Mort à distance (Death at a distance); it was published by Gallimard in May 2007.
Currently, Claude Esteban is 87 years, 4 months and 9 days old. Claude Esteban will celebrate 88th birthday on a Wednesday 26th of July 2023.
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