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Jacques Prevert

(4 February 1900 – 11 April 1977 / Neuilly-sur-Seine)

Jacques Prevert
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Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. His poems became and remain very popular in the French-speaking world, particularly in schools. Some of the movies he wrote are extremely well regarded, with Les Enfants du Paradis considered one of the greatest films of all time.

Life and Education

Prévert was born at Neuilly-sur-Seine and grew up in Paris. After receiving his Certificat d'études upon completing his primary education, he quit school and went to work in Le Bon Marché, a major department store in Paris. Called up for military service in 1918, after the war, he was sent to the Near East to defend French interests there.

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  • ''An orange on the table,
    Your dress on the rug,
    And you in my bed,
    Sweet present of the present,
    Cool of night,
    Warmth of my life.''
    Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. "Alicante," Paroles (1946), trans. by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1958).
  • ''Man
    You beheld the saddest and dreariest of all the flowers of the earth
    And as with other flowers you gave it a name
    You called it Thought.''
    Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. Flowers and Wreaths, Paroles (1946), trans. by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1958). Opening lines of poem.
  • ''Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.''
    Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. "Intermede," Spectacle (1951).
  • ''When truth is no longer free, freedom is no longer real: the truths of the police are the truths of today.''
    Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. "Intermède," Spectacle (1951).
  • ''Our Father which art in heaven
    Stay there
    And we will stay on earth
    Which is sometimes so pretty.''
    Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. Pater Noster, Paroles (1946; rev.1949), trans. by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1958). Opening lines.
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