St-John Perse, the pen-name of Alexis-Leger, the 73-year-old French poet won the 1960 Nobel Prize for Literature, Oct 26.
St-John Perse, the pen-name of Alexis-Leger, the 73-year-old French poet won the 1960 Nobel Prize for Literature, Oct 26. The poet was until 1940 a distinguished member of the French Diplomatic Service. Since then he has spent most of his time in America where he is a Fellow of the United States Library of Congress. When he heard the news St-John Perse was at his home in Presqu'ile De Giens, near Toulon, where he now spends five months of the year.
Although his poems are little known to the general public his reputation is high in literacy circles. He is mainly known for his long poem "Anabese" which he wrote in 1924 when he was attached to the French Embassy in Peking. This work, about translated into English by T.S. Eliot. The Swedish translation was done by Dag Hammarskjoeld, Secretary General of the United Nations. St. John Perse has been an explorer and crossed the Gobi Desert when he was a student.
One of the first people to congratulate the poet at this home in the South of France was M. Vincent-Auriol, ex-President of France, who lives near him. St. John Perse was awarded the Grand Prix National des Lettres last year by the French Minister for Culture, Andre Malraux.