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Released 30th June, 2023 // 82 pages // 978-1-915760-16-6 // RRP £8.99


French Leave follows RE:VERB in which Cliff Forshaw recreated Rimbaud’s terrestrial adventures from the Hooligan Poet and Seer in bohemian Paris, through the years as a tough merchant and gun-runner in Africa, to his death aged thirty-seven in a Marseilles hospital. This new collection plays variations on the themes and forms of French verse from mid-nineteenth century Gautier and Gérard de Nerval, through Baudelaire and Rimbaud, to Valéry and Apollinaire on the eve of the First World War. Among the well-known figures, Forshaw invents further fin-de-siècle personae that might have existed, and possibly even did.


PRAISE for French Leave:

From Pound and Eliot to Derek Mahon, Marilyn Hacker and Rachael Boast, Anglophone poets have looked to France to take their art to school. In French Leave Cliff Forshaw does the same, with a dazzling bouquet of translations and ‘variations’ taking off from French originals. With Gallic esprit and polish, and a strong admixture of zest and sass, Forshaw’s versions range beyond canonical favourites into strange and enchanting territory. French Leave is no vin de table, but a vintage performance.

— David Wheatley


The high energy of Cliff Forshaw’s poems makes me think particularly of John Donne and the other Metaphysicals: argument, wit, erudition, and force of feeling all working to convey an authentic vision of the world we live in.

— Christopher Reid


ABOUT Cliff Forshaw:

Cliff Forshaw has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at York and Hull Universities, twice a Hawthornden Writing Fellow, and held residencies at Djerrassi, California, and in France, Kyrgizstan, Romania, and Tasmania. He is also a painter.

Cliff Forshaw - French Leave


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