Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) wrote three secret collections of verse, of which Femmes' and Hombres' remained almost unobtainable even in France until the 1970s. These strangely unrespectable poems celebrate the pleasures of sex, with women and men respectively, in loving detail - reversing the old view of Verlaine as a limp impressionist. Alistair Elliot's metrical translations brilliantly echo the vigour, good humour and skill of the originals, which accompany them in this bilingual edition.
Alistair Elliot is a freelance poet and verse translator, born in Liverpool in 1932. My Country', his collected poems, came out in 1989. His Italian Landscape Poems' and his translation of Euripides' Medea', made for the Almeida Theatre and Diana Rigg, appeared in 1993. He has also published as parallel texts a version of Heine's Lazarus Poems', a selection of French Love Poems', Valéry's La Jeune Parque', and an annotated edition of Virgil's and Dryden's Georgics'. His selection of Roman Food Poems', translations from the great Roman poets about the basis of society, what we eat and how we eat it, came out in 2003. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.