Jean Follain

Jean Follain (1903–1971) was born in Normandy and lived through two World Wars. In the second, almost 90% of the town he grew up in, Saint-Lô, was destroyed by bombing. He wrote eight main collections of poetry and a number of prose works, including a glossary of ecclesiastical slang and a celebration of the potato. In 1927 he was called to the bar in Paris and later served as a magistrate.

In his poetry we have no sense of any rules being either made or broken, nor of any obvious artistic affiliation. We do sense a kind of innocence, an attitude of infinite receptiveness and openness, which is reflected by the absence of any persona. Interestingly, unlike many of his friends and contemporaries (such as Guillevic, Frénaud or Aragon), Follain never took the path of political engagement.

-from Olivia McCannon’s introduction in MPT Series 3/5 Transgressions