Valéry Larbaud, born in 1881, was heir to a Vichy mineral water fortune which allowed him to lead the high life around Europe’s capitals and spas. His peripatetic, dandyish persona is embodied in the fictitious Barnabooth who narrates much of the poetry. Translator of Whitman and overseer of Joyce translations, Larbaud was fluent in six languages. His poetry is cosmopolitan, making use of masks, voices, nostalgia and eroticism in a way that recalls the great moderns: Pessoa, Eliot and Joyce. He died in 1957.