Snippets, scraps and squibs now became Beckett’s preferred poetic forms. Some were written in French, others in English, and they might be translated by the poet himself, with his infallible sense of idiomatic licence, either this way or that. The 1970s were a particularly fertile time – if that’s not too un Beckettian a way of putting it – as it was then that he produced a series of poems that he referred to as his “mirlitonnades”, which typically combine an off-the-cuff, doodling air with epigrammatic incisiveness. They are slight and it would be absurd to make extravagant claims for them, but, though often dour or drear in the sentiments they express, they are paradoxically sparky.
Christopher Reid on The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett from Faber & Faber. [via The New Statesman]